Press release

Liège, UNESCO's new "learning city"


On 14 February, UNESCO unveiled the list of 64 new cities joining the worldwide network of "learning cities", a list that includes the city of Liège. Supported by the University of Liège, the city's application was submitted to UNESCO by Mayor Willy Demeyer at the end of June 2023.

For UNESCO, a learning city is one that:

  • effectively mobilises its resources in all sectors to promote inclusive learning, from basic to higher education;
  • rekindles learning in families and communities;
  • facilitates learning for work and employment;
  • extends the use of modern learning techniques;
  • improves the quality and excellence of learning and
  • promotes a culture of lifelong learning.

"In so doing, the learning city promotes individual empowerment and social inclusion, economic development and cultural prosperity, as well as sustainable development," adds UNESCO.

With almost 100,000 pupils and students within its borders, 9 higher education establishments including the University of Liège (over 25,000 students), Liège is a major city of education and culture. Following the symposium "Lifelong Learning: Perspectives, Issues, Challenges" organised by ULiège, under the patronage of UNESCO, on 15 and 16 June 2023, the opportunity that the University could play as a lever for the development of lifelong learning in its city was confirmed. And the City of Liège's application to join the global network of "learning cities" has emerged as a showcase for encouraging partnerships and exchanges of practices and tools that promote inclusion, sustainability and democracy in learning.

Liège "learning city" wishes to commit itself to three priority areas: 

  1. Combating the digital divide
  2. Adopting a more inclusive approach to the circulation of knowledge (particularly with regard to young girls, socio-economically disadvantaged groups and people with disabilities).
  3. Encourage the development of a critical mind, in particular by learning the scientific approach with a view to citizenship. "These are essential if we are to respond to the growing mistrust of science today, with the spread (...) of fake news", stresses the application.

As a reminder, a UNESCO chair devoted to the role of the humanities in the production and transmission of knowledge has been created at ULiège since 2021.

UNESCO's global network of 'learning cities' includes (prior to the announcements on 14 February) 292 cities in 76 countries, covering more than 310 million people worldwide.

UNESCO press release

Liège, UNESCO's learning city

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Photo : ULiège ©Barbara Brixhe

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