LONDON: Jubail Industrial City has been recognized by the UN’s top cultural body for its commitment to lifelong learning for its residents, and for introducing policies that promote inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable development.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday announced Jubail Industrial City’s entrance into its Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC).
Learning cities, according to UNESCO, “foster a culture of learning throughout life, enhance quality and excellence in learning, and effectively mobilize resources in every sector to promote inclusive learning, from basic to higher education.”
David Atchoarena, director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, told Arab News that only cities that show a dedication to providing lifelong learning opportunities for all residents are admitted into the network.
Jubail Industrial City is a major educational and employment hub. Hosting over 11,000 university students, its colleges offer courses ranging from chemical engineering to industrial welding.
They also run business incubators for local entrepreneurs, and work with major global conglomerates such as Bechtel and Yokogawa, to provide professional training and lifelong opportunities to the city’s residents.
Atchoarena highlighted this focus on professional development in the industrial and manufacturing sphere as a driving force behind the city’s designation as a UNESCO Learning City.
Its entry into the GNLC shows a “clear indication of the alignment between Jubail Industrial City as a learning city, and the Saudi Vision 2030 — a national goal for sustainable development that’s in harmony with the UN’s own Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Dr. Ali Assiri, general manager for education at the Royal Commission for Jubail, told Arab News that he welcomes the news of the city’s UNESCO designation.
“Acceptance into the GNLC will offer a new framework for economic and social development, and support all forms of learning — whether formal or informal — for people of all ages, and in all sectors and fields.”
Assiri said this focus on lifelong learning is particularly relevant to achieving Vision 2030, and he expressed hope that it will assist in “building a model of the first learning city in the Kingdom.”