October 25, 2016, Paris

Pécs has successfully applied for the UNESCO Learning City Award, thus the town – the first Hungarian in the history of the prize – will become full member of the Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) in 2017. With this award the international organization recognizes and showcases good practice in promoting quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all at local level. The certificate has been granted to dr. Zsolt Páva, mayor of Pécs, on behalf of Arne Carlson, director of UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL).

Photo: University of Pécs

The UNESCO GNLC program considers cities the main moving force of economic growth, and learning is an indispensable element of that growth. In recognition of this, many urban communities are developing innovative strategies that allow their citizens – young and old – to learn new skills and competencies throughout life, thereby contributing to the productivity of their settlements. Up to six cities per the five UNESCO electoral regions may receive an Award in each Award cycle, which occurs every two years.

Photo: University of Pécs

As it was highlighted in connection with the application by dr. Zsolt Páva, “the history, culture and international interactions of Pécs all indicate that it is a true learning city. In addition, the University of Pécs is celebrating its 650th anniversary in 2017.”

This is not the first time Pécs has been recognized by UNESCO. Sopianae, predecessor of Pécs in the Roman times had its late Roman Paleochristian cemetery included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000. Furthermore, among the Hungarian world heritage sites this is the only one, which has won itself a place on the UNESCO world heritage list in the category of culture-historical architecture.

András Hlács