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GNLC Awardee: Al Wakra


In 2021, the city of Al Wakra received the UNESCO Learning City Award for outstanding progress in providing lifelong learning opportunities for its almost 90,000 inhabitants. 
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Al Wakra has evolved into one of the largest cities in Qatar.

The long-term objective of its learning city plan is to develop Al Wakra into a sustainable city. Its broader goals have been laid down in a dedicated sustainability action plan.
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Al Wakra’s education sector is considered pioneering, both within Qatar and in the Gulf and Arab region as a whole. Education is viewed as an investment in upcoming generations. Educational policy centres on providing equal educational opportunities for all, and seeks to eliminate discrimination towards all levels of society.
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Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is key to Al Wakra. In collaboration with schools and both public and private institutions, learning programmes are implemented throughout the year.

The city’s key aim is to enable learning outside of the formal education system. It coordinates learning programmes, for example with the municipal youth centre, the internationally recognized waste recycling centre, the sports club and the hospital, in order to involve all residents and stakeholders in the city’s transition to sustainability.

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Al Wakra seeks to raise awareness of environmental issues among all members of the community through various initiatives, culminating in the celebration of a local ‘Environment Day’ on 26 February.
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The learning city of Al Wakra is working towards providing learning opportunities for all groups, in particular workers and those with special needs.

The city makes learning provision available to workers outside of working hours, and distributes free computers to workers who need them.

The learning city also oversees a variety of initiatives that provide education free of charge to people with special needs.
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Guaranteeing lifelong learning for all means placing a particular focus on society’s most vulnerable groups. Hence, learning opportunities for women and older people are top of Al Wakra's agenda.
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Providing lifelong learning to all of Al Wakra's citizens is an ongoing process. The city will continue to strengthen its policies and programmes in order to give enable everyone the chance to learn.

Al Wakra’s inclusion in the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in 2019 has allowed it to share its achievements with other cities around the globe, while also learning from their respective experiences. This international exchange will be key to shaping the path that the UNESCO learning city of Al Wakra will take in future.

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The UNESCO Learning City Award was established to further promote lifelong learning for all and showcase good practices in building learning cities. It is conferred on cities that have achieved outstanding progress in this regard. All awardee cities have demonstrated best practices that lay the foundation for sustainable development.
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The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) supports and improves the practice of lifelong learning in member cities by promoting policy dialogue and peer learning, documenting effective strategies and good practice, fostering partnerships, providing capacity development, and developing tools and instruments to design, implement and monitor learning cities strategies.

UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities

Credits: © City of Al Wakra; Getty Images / typhoonski; Getty Images / Michael Gerard Ceralde; 51countriesandcounting; Zurijeta
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