9 October 2020
By Tom Collins
Cork City, with four other cities in the Irish Network of Learning Cities went live last week in a five city joint initiative to promote learning across the cities, the city regions and the island of Ireland. In 2019, the Lord Mayors of Cork, Dublin and Belfast and the Mayors of Limerick and Derry & Strabane formally committed each city to work together with mutual support to deliver on the vision of a Learning City for all.
‘A shared dedication to strengthening friendly relations and enhancing cooperation between the peoples of the cities, and to carry out Learning City exchanges focused on the principles of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.’
Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor Joe Kavanagh said ‘At the heart of a Learning City is the commitment to using learning to improve the lives of all citizens, regardless of age, background, interests or abilities. Improved access to Learning creates a more equitable, inclusive, sustainable and healthy society. Lifelong Learning creates more opportunities for decent work and entrepreneurship. Through partnership and collaboration Cork has an ongoing commitment to providing genuine learning opportunities for individuals and communities.‘
Learning Neighbourhoods from Cork and Limerick shared examples of good practice on a webinar earlier in the day discussing what has been learned in local communities during the pandemic.
A highlight of the day was the presentation to young people from the Cork Migrant Centre, who were welcomed to the Lord Mayors chambers as the first recipients of a Cork Learning City Award, in recognition of their leadership in advancing inclusion and equity through learning.
Mr Denis Barrett, Learning City Co-ordinator said ‚‘These young people demonstrated leadership at a time of crisis through their inspirational efforts to design, host and present an online webinar to raise awareness of racism and we felt that such a contribution should be marked with an award. Nominations will open soon for a series of Cork Learning City awards across a variety of activities and age groups. Cork Learning City will recognise individuals and organisations who have demonstrated good practice in using learning to advance inclusion and equity in Cork.’
Dr. Naomi Masheti, the co-ordinator of the Cork Migrant Centre said ‘we are deeply honoured to be recognised in this way. Since their webinar in June highlighting their own experiences of racism, the young people have been working really hard, making future plans and continuing to raise awareness and build new networks of support’.
Two young people also were presented with Lord Mayors Medals and Awards as part of the Lord Mayors Youth Challenge ’We are Cork’ for completing a series of 20 different challenges over the Summer.
The ‘We are Cork’ Youth Challenge was developed by the Cork Education and Training Board Youth Services with City Council and other partners including Music Generation and Cork Sports Partnership, as part of the City Community Response to Covid-19. The challenge created opportunities for young people to engage in new activities including kayaking on the River Lee, creating a piece of music, and participating in a citizenship initiative to improve their communities. and on completion of 20 new learning goals to gain recognition from the Lord Mayor.
News of what is happening in Cork and across the Irish network of Learning Cities is available on Cork Learning City’s social media channels.
As part of Corks 3rd Learning City Day the Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh encouraged Corkonians to learn something new this Autumn. Signing up for a new course or a group that shares your interests will open up new connections and new opportunities. ‘Learning is fun! and Cork city encourages and supports all its citizens to start or continue their lifelong learning journeys. ‘