Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald, Lord Mayor of Cork, Ireland

Councillor Tony Fitzgerald was elected as Lord Mayor of Cork City in June 2017. Prior to this, he acted as Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork (2011–2012). In addition, he is Chairman of the Joint Policing Committee and a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Cork Healthy Cities Network. In 2016, Councillor Fitzgerald was appointed by the WHO European Political Vision Group. He was first elected to Cork City Council in 2004, and subsequently re-elected in 2009 and 2014. He is also the former Chairman of the Housing & Community and Environment & Recreation Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs), and was employed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Community Work Department based at the Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill Youth Project.


Mr Stanley Mutumba Simataa, President of the General Conference, UNESCO

Mr Stanley Mutumba Simataa, Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology of the Republic of Namibia, was unanimously elected President of the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 2015. As Deputy Minister, he is the originator of several progressive initiatives moving the nation closer to promoting knowledge for development and meeting the tenets of access of information for all. Mr Simataa served as Executive Director of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) from 2007 to 2010, and was previously Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Director in the Speaker’s Office of the National Assembly. In addition, Mr Simataa worked for numerous commissions. Notably, he was Chairman for both the Namibia National Forum on Education for All and the Namibia Sports Commission, as well as a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Research Centre of the University of Namibia and Deputy Chairman of the Namibia Library and Information Council. Mr Simataa carried out his undergraduate degrees in Australia and South Africa, and completed two master’s degrees at universities in the Republic of Tanzania and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He is fluent in English, Afrikaans and Silozi. Mr Simataa has over 30 years of professional, managerial and governance experience. His academic background and professional experience are in line with UNESCO’s field of competences.


Mr Kabir Shaikh Director a.i., UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

Since 1 September 2017, Mr Kabir Shaikh has been Director ad interim of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), Hamburg, Germany. Kabir Shaikh was, until 2009, Director of Education for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. He was appointed first Director of Education for Bournemouth Local Education Authority, in England, in 1997, a post he held until 2002. More recently, he was the interim Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, setting up UNESCO’s first Category 1 Institute for the Asia and Pacific Region, in New Delhi, India. For over 45 years, Kabir Shaikh worked in education in England, holding various posts, including the Chief Inspector for Education in London. He was the Chair of  the Association for Science Education’s National Working Party on Science for a Multicultural Society. He also served on several national committees and was the Chair of the partnership Board for Leicester City Education. He was a Member of the Advisory Forum to the Royal Naval School of Educational Training and Technology and chaired the steering group of local education authorities for the provision of science services.

Kabir Shaikh has extensive international experience and was Vice-President of the Commonwealth Association of Science, Technology and Mathematics Educators. His work has involved the Commonwealth Secretariat, UNESCO, Development Education and the British Council. He has contributed to a number of international events on education.

In 2003, he was awarded a CBE for services to education. In 2010, he received an honorary doctorate from the Open University, UK.


Mr Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, United States of America

As 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, Edwin M. Lee assumed leadership of the City in 2011. Under policies laid out by Mayor Lee, San Francisco has experienced its most successful economic expansion in the City’s history, and has added more homes to the housing market than at any other time. The Mayor has made historic investment commitments to infrastructure, parks and schools, funding them at record levels while successfully championing bond measures to improve San Francisco’s seismic standards. He has been a steadfast supporter of universal human rights, and has championed responsible environmental policies, including a commitment to honor pledges adopted in the Paris Accord. Prior to becoming a civil servant, Mayor Lee worked as housing activist and civil rights attorney. He is married to Anita, and is the father of two daughters, Brianna and Tania.

Plenary Session I: How lifelong learning supports the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals at local level

Moderator: Mr Walter Hirche, President of the German Commission to UNESCO’s Expert Committee for Education

Born in 1941 in Leipzig, Germany, Walter Hirche studied in Heidelberg, Germany, and Grenoble, France, before qualifying as a teacher of history, French and political science. He has many years of professional experience in both adult education and politics. Mr Hirche has served for several periods as a member of the Bundestag and the Lower Saxony State Parliament, where his positions have included Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature and Reactor Safety; State Minister for Economics, Labour and Transport; and President of the Commission for Culture, Science and Education. He was President of the German Commission for UNESCO from 2002 to 2014 and Chairman of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning until the end of 2016. Mr Hirche is currently President of the German Commission to UNESCO’s Expert Committee for Education and International Adviser to the National Platform on Education for Sustainable Development of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

Ms Aisa Kirabo Kacyira,

Deputy Executive Director, UN-Habitat

Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira of the Republic of Rwanda is Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General of UN-HABITAT, providing critical leadership to promote sustainable cities and human settlements globally. Previously, Dr Kacyira held various government positions, serving as Governor of the Eastern Province of Rwanda, Mayor of Kigali and as an elected Member of Parliament. Dr Kacyira has also worked as President of the Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities, President of the Eastern African Association of Local Government Authorities, and Vice-President of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa.


Federico GutierrezMayor, Medellín Mayor´s Office

Medellín, Colombia

Federico Gutiérrez graduated as a civil engineer from the University of Medellin. His graduate studies at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana were in management and political science. He is the first Mayor of Medellin ever to have been elected by a civil movement and not by a traditional political party. In his late twenties, he was elected Councillor of Medellin for 2004–2007, where he held the position of President of the First Commission. At the age of 32, he was re-elected for 2008–2011 and was chosen as President of the City Council. He received approximately 14,000 votes; at the time, the highest number of votes obtained by a councillor in the history of Medellin. After 7 and a half years as a councillor, he ran for Mayor of Medellín in 2011, with the support of a traditional political party. He won more than 120,000 votes. From 2011 to 2014, he worked as a consultant in Urban Integral Security for the cities of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Celaya (Mexico). In 2015, he ran for Mayor again, after securing around 120,000 signatures from citizens to establish the independent civil movement “Creemos”. This word has two meanings in Spanish: “We believe” and “Let’s build”. Both form the pillars of his mandate. He is very passionate about Medellín, and during his entire life – independently from his political career – he has walked the city’s streets, talking to the people, working with and for them. His aim for Medellín is to make it “secure, equitable and sustainable” and he believes that the way to achieve this is through a governance model based on civic trust.


Mr Raúl Valdés-Cotera

Programme Coordinator, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

Raúl Valdés-Cotera is a Programme Coordinator at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and Programme Manager of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. Raúl holds an MBA and a PhD in Education. For over ten years, he has been working in international organizations in the field of lifelong learning and adult education. He has led various research and advocacy projects such as the Glossary for Adult Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (2013), the Conceptual Evolution and Policy Developments in Lifelong Learning (editor, with J. Yang, 2011), and the Public Policy Analysis in Basic Education for Youth and Adults: A Comparative Case between Mexico and Brazil (2013).


Plenary Session II: Promoting integrated governance and multi-stakeholder partnership for city’s sustainable future

Ms Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council

Appointed to the role of Chief Executive of Cork City Council in 2014, Ann is responsible for strategic direction and delivery of services for the local authority area of Ireland’s second city.

An advocate of empowerment and inclusivity, Ann leads a team of over 1,200 people and is responsible for a multi-million euro budget at Cork City Council.

An experienced business leader with over two decades in senior management roles in Ireland and the UK, Ann has been responsible for the implementation of transformative programmes to deliver change and operational success in large public sector organizations, including the Health Service Executive (Ireland) and the National Health Service (UK).

Ann started her career as a nurse. Quickly moving into clinical leadership roles, she progressed into senior management/leadership positions in the 1990s. Ann has studied at both South Bank University in London and Glasgow University. One of Ann’s proudest days was the day she graduated with her MBA.

Acknowledged as one of Ireland’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ in 2014 by her peers, Ann was appointed to the High Level Group for Business Regulation, Ireland, in 2014.

As well as her professional commitments, Ann is Director of the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork and sits on the boards of the Marymount University Hospital and Hospice, Visit Cork and Cork University Hospital Charity.


Mr Ted Owens, Chief Executive, Cork Education and Training Board

Ted Owens is Chief Executive of Cork Education and Training Board (ETB).  He has held this position since July 2013.

Prior to the establishment of the ETB in 2013, he was the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Cork Vocational Education Committee (VEC) from June 2005 to June 2013.

Ted started his teaching career with County Cork VEC in Mallow Vocational School in September 1976. He moved from Mallow to St. Aidan’s Community College in 1983. In 1990, he became Principal of Beara Community School, Castletownbere. Ted was appointed the first Principal of Glanmire Community College in 1997. Between December 2000 and June 2005 he served as Education Officer with County Cork VEC.

Cork ETB is one of the largest ETBs in the country with 37,942 learners and 3,500 employees. It provides lifelong learning opportunities for young people and adults in primary school, second-level schools, further education colleges and training centres and in a variety of community settings.


Mr Barry O’Connor, President, Cork Institute of Technology

Dr Barry O’Connor is currently President of Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), having served as Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland since 2008. He joined CIT in 2006 as Head of the School of Mechanical and Process Engineering. Prior to taking up his current role, he gained extensive experience as lecturer and researcher, including 25 years in University College Cork (Ireland) and sabbatical periods in ENSIA (France), Michigan State University (USA), ESB Porto (Portugal) and Alfa Laval (Sweden). His research focus was in the domain now known as convergent technologies.

Mr O’Connor has participated in many EU research reviews and in academic quality reviews, in both public- and private-sector higher education. He is a member of the French Commission de Titres d’Ingénieur panel of experts, and an accredited reviewer for the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). Having graduated as an electrical engineer he initially worked as an engineer in the food and pharmaceutical sector in the UK and Ireland. He holds engineering and law degrees from University College Cork, a PhD from Michigan State University and is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Ireland.

A committed educator, Mr O’Connor is currently Chairman of a primary school Board, Cork’s North Monastery Christian Brothers School (CBS), and a member of the Board of Cork College of Commerce, Ireland’s largest FE college. He is also Chairman of the Institutes of Technology Apprenticeship Committee (ITAC).


Mr Pat O’Shea, President, University College Cork

Professor Patrick O’Shea became the 15th President of University College Cork (UCC) on 1 February 2017.

A UCC Physics graduate and former Vice President and Chief Research Officer at the University of Maryland in the United States, Professor O’Shea was at the helm of a $500 million (€470m) per annum research and innovation enterprise. His academic, political and business acumen helped the University of Maryland to become one of the leading research universities in the world.

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher.

Professor O’Shea served as Chair of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Director of the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, at the University of Maryland. He played a leading role in the founding of the Maryland NanoCentre and the Maryland Cyber Security Centre. He also served as a project leader at the University of California Los Alamos National Laboratory, and as a faculty member at Duke University.

Professor O’Shea attended secondary school at Coláiste Chríost Rí in Cork, and holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Maryland.


Martin Gill: Mayor, Municipality

Villa María, Córdoba Province, Argentina

Villa María’s current mayor, Martín Rodrigo Gill, is a lawyer and university lecturer who was named Rector of the National University of Villa María in 2007 and re-elected to the post in 2011. During this time, he held the office of President of the National Interuniversity Council of Argentina twice. He was the country’s designated Secretary of University Policy between 2011 and 2012, when he was appointed a national Member of Parliament, in which capacity he presided over the Parliamentary Commission for Science and Technology.


Yeom Tae-Young: Mayor, Suwon city

Suwon, Republic of Korea

Yeom Tae-Young is the Mayor of Suwon, the city of History and Culture. Comprising around 1.23 million citizens, Suwon is the most populous local government in the Republic of Korea. As a world executive staff member of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability, founded in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives), Mr Yeom has dedicated himself to responding to global climate change, aiming for cities to become low-carbon, sustainable, resource-efficient, productive, biodiverse, smart and ecomobile on behalf of East Asia and local governments around the world. To build a citizen-led learning city under the slogan of “(Welcoming) Human City SUWON”, Mr Yeom pursued many innovative policies, including “Create a Learning Space no more than a five-minute distance away”; “Create a Learning Village” and an EcoMobile pilot project for every citizen to learn, share and enjoy. He also has contributed to creating learner-friendly environments and equal learning rights for everyone, wherever they are.


Mr Robert Didham, Associate Professor / Deputy Director, Center for Collaborative Learning for Sustainable Development Faculty of Education and Natural Sciences, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Dr. Robert J. Didham is the deputy director of the Center for Collaborative Learning for Sustainable Development and an associate professor at Inland Norway University. With a background in community-based sustainable development, public participation and social learning, Dr. Didham has extensive experience in interdisciplinary research and capacity-building projects. He has coordinated multi-country research on Education for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Consumption, and Adaptation Planning, and he has led policy support projects for several national governments. Previously, Dr. Didham was the senior coordinator for capacity development and education at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), based in Japan, where he worked extensively throughout the Asia-Pacific region. At the Center for Collaborative Learning, Dr. Didham is overseeing action research projects on participatory planning and local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and on integrating transformative learning approaches in both formal and non-formal education.


Moderator: Mr Sampo Suihko, Director, Omnia, The Joint Authority of Education in Espoo Region

Sampo Suihko is an experienced civil servant who has worked in education and culture at international, national and local (city) levels. An enthusiast of the learning cities approach since the first International Conference on Learning Cities (ICLC) in Beijing in 2013, he is Deputy Mayor of Espoo City, in Finland, which won a Learning City Award at the second ICLC in Mexico City in 2015.

In addition, Mr Suihko has been involved in international education projects, for example twinning projects for vocational education and training in Egypt and new curriculum projects in Kosovo, as well as serving as chairman of the EuProVET development association and lecturer on many stages.

He has held a variety of position within city and public organizations, including:Director of Youth Affairs, Electoral Office Manager, Researcher, Director of Culture Services, Development Director and General Secretary. He has also worked as a singer and as a handyman.

He is at present Vice-President of the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC), General Director of Omnia for Lifelong Learning and Omnia Education Ltd, and Chairman of Omnia Education Partnership Ltd.

Mr Suihko aims to support and enable all kinds of learners of all ages in achieving their dreams and becoming the developers, survivors and professionals of the future.


Plenary Session III: Successful ways of implementing and measuring the impact of local actions for sustainable development

Mr Carsten Lund,

Deputy City Manager, Municipality of Sønderborg

Carsten Lund is Deputy City Manager of the Municipality of Sønderborg, a Danish municipality of 75,000 people, and a member of the Sønderborg working group for UNESCO Learning Cities. Due to its close proximity to Germany, which is just two hours’ drive away, Sønderborg has an international outlook, with many local businesses working closely with their Germanic neighbours. The municipality is also highly education-oriented and home to one of the main campus sites of the University of Southern Denmark. In 2007, Sønderborg launched the ProjectZERO plan, which aims to achieve achieve zero carbon emissions by 2029 and targets all citizens, companies and institutions of the municipality.
Lund holds a Master of Science degree (Cand.Scient.Soc.) and a Master in Public Governance (MPG). He is responsible for managing the city’s departments for children, day care, education and cross-sector management. These departments are served by the Children and Education Committee and the Cultural and Regional Development Committee, the latter of which is responsible for sustainability and citizenship policies


Mr Hans Lehmann,

Vice Principal and ProjectZERO Board Member, EUC Syd

Hans Lehmann is Vice Principal at EUC Syd, a regional college offering upper secondary technical education, an international baccalaureate programme, and vocational education and adult training. Lehmann’s responsibilities include vocational educational programmes, adult training, and internationalization, and he is chief information officer for IT-Center Syd. He holds a master’s degree in English and an MBA from the University of Leicester.
One of Lehmann’s main focuses is on the application of digital learning and its consequences for teaching and learning, as well as the importance of training a ‘global workforce’; he therefore has experience working on international projects, EU programmes, and with the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, for which he is part of the Sønderborg working group.  Lehmann has cooperated with, among others, Chinese and French companies and colleges, is the TA3 European Secretariat, and is a member of Denmark’s European Forum of Vocational Education and Training (EfVET) board.


Ms Claire Hiscott, Councillor for Education and Skills, Bristol, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 

Councillor Claire Hiscott is part of the mayoral cabinet in the city of Bristol and has responsibility for education and skills. Her focus is to reduce current inequalities in educational attainment and employment opportunities in the city’s areas of deprivation. The city has received national recognition for its work in widening access to further education for disadvantaged young people, and is currently working on a pilot project with the UK government to improve adult learning and employability skills.

With a professional background in healthcare, Claire also sits on the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board. She has spoken at the European Parliament in Brussels on the links between educational attainment and health outcomes and how Bristol is committed to combating urban poverty through improving lifelong learning opportunities for all its citizens, irrespective of wealth or cultural and ethnic background.


Mr Zhinan Gong,

Director, Hangzhou Office of Cultural and Creative Industry

Mr Zhinan Gong was born in 1966, in Jiande, Zhejiang Province. In 1984, he began working as head of research at the Hangzhou Municipal Political Consultative Conference before moving to the Hangzhou Municipal Planning Bureau. Mr Gong is currently the Director of the Hangzhou Office of Cultural and Creative Industry.



Parallel Thematic Forum 1: Promoting Learning towards green and healthy cities

Ms Martina Eick, Project manager and research coordinator, Federal Environmental Agency, Germany

Ms Eick’s research interests include the areas of politics, Islamic sciences, new history, journalistic writing and environmental management.

Since 2002, she has been managing research projects dealing with sustainable development and strategies on the local, regional level at the German Federal Environmental Agency.

In addition, she has conducted research projects concerning education for sustainable development, participation, cooperation with initiatives between churches, other religions and municipalities, with the aim of implementing sustainable strategies on the local, national and global levels.

Ms Eick enjoys working as an intermediary between the spheres of pracademics, transformation agents and academic experts.

Ms Kirsty Robinson,

Professional Officer, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

Kirsty Robinson has an MPhil in climate change and sustainable development from the University of Cape Town. She joined ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability – Africa Secretariat (ICLEI Africa) in 2015 and works within the ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Centre.
Ms Robinson is part of a highly experienced project team responsible for implementing urban biodiversity-related projects within sub-Saharan Africa. This includes ICLEI Africa’s award-winning biodiversity project, Local Action for Biodiversity: Wetlands South Africa (LAB: Wetlands SA). Kirsty’s work entails building technical capacity at local government level, developing local biodiversity strategy and action plans, and fostering city networks and stakeholder communication. Through the projects she works on, Kirsty also focuses on mainstreaming biodiversity and ecological infrastructure into land-use planning.

Jose Siri: Research Fellow, United Nations University International Institute for Global Health

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

José Siri is an epidemiologist focusing on systems-analytic research and global urban health with the United Nations University (USU)’s International Institute for Global Health. Previously located at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), he now works closely with the International Council for Science (ICSU)’s global interdisciplinary programme on Systems Thinking for Urban Health and Wellbeing, the Latin American Urban Health Network (LAC-Urban Health), the Lancet Commission for Healthy Cities in China, and the Future Earth Urban Knowledge Action Network. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Ecology and Systematics from Cornell University, a Master of Public Health (MPH) in International Health and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan.

Parallel Thematic Forum 2: Promoting Learning towards equitable and inclusive cities


Ms Un-Shil Choi,

Member of UIL Governing Board

Ms Un-Shil is currently Governing Board member of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), Editorial Board member of the International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning (IRE; edited by UIL) and Professor of Ajou University. She is also a representative of Lifelong Learning Times (an internet newspaper company), a representative of the Korea Foundation for Lifelong Education and is among the inductees of the International Adult and Continuing Education (IACE) Hall of Fame (2010).

She has served as the following:

President of the National Institute for Lifelong Education (NILE), Korea
Dean of the Graduate school of Education at Ajou Univ.
(Director of University Lifelong Education Center)
Commissioner, Presidential Commission for Educational Innovation Policy
Commissioner, Prime Minister Commission for Government Policy
Chairperson, Policy Evaluation Commission for Ministry of Education
Commissioner, Presidential Commission for National Manpower & Employment
Commissioner, Presidential Commission for Gender Equality & Empowerment
President, Korea Academic Society for Lifelong Education
Chairperson of the Board, Korea Federation Lifelong Education (KFLE).


Ms Joanne O’Riordan, Active Citizenship Scholar and Leading Disability and Social Rights Activist, Ireland

Joanne is a 2014 Quercus Active Citizenship Scholar. A former pupil of Millstreet Community School, Joanne studies Criminology in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences at University College Cork. Joanne is a motivational speaker; going around to schools, functions and events, she speaks vehemently on various topics, but most specifically on how not to let anything, including disability, get in the way of rights and dreams. Joanne has used technology to enhance both her education and to aid in her wider social environment. Joanne has spoken at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, where she made an inspirational call to women to become more involved in technology as a career. Joanne impressed global leaders, EU commissioners, ambassadors and secretary-generals alike, so much so that there were queues of dignitaries requesting to speak with her afterwards. In 2012 she won Young Person of the Year, and in 2015 she was named as Junior Chamber International (JCI) Outstanding Young Person of the Year. In 2016 Joanne marshalled the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. Joanne leads the way for those who feel they have no voice, and shows everybody, no matter what their obstacles, that their dreams are not beyond reach.


Mr Anupkamal Bishwakarma,

Executive Director, Dalit Welfare Association (DWA)

Anupkamal Bishwakarma has contributed significantly to the Dalit NGO movement over the past 17 years, championing positive change for marginalized communities in rural Nepal. Focusing on issues such as untouchability, poverty eradication, education, health, accountability and gender equality, he has worked to empower Dalits to improve their livelihoods and build their own institutions. Bishwakarma also raises awareness of climate change and the need to reform traditional occupations of the untouchable caste of Nepal, and works to develop new ways to empower disadvantaged groups through the management of local natural resources and cultural sustainability.

Ms Liliosa Azara, Professor, Roma Tre University

Liliosa Azara is Professor of Contemporary History and Women’s History in the Department of Education at Roma Tre University. Her research and study interests entail the topic of marginalisation of women in the 20th century, gender equality, Vatican diplomacy with a special reference to the interwar period, and cultural diversity as a value recognised and codified in the international agenda


Mr Paolo Di Rienzo, Associate Professor, Roma Tre University

Paolo Di Rienzo is a Professor of Adult Education and Lifelong Learning in the Department of Education at Roma Tre University. His research interests include adult and continuing education, lifelong learning, recognition of prior experiential learning, theory of constructivism and biographical methodologies in pedagogy. Paolo Di Rienzo is the director of the Centre of Qualitative Methods in Adult Education. He is a delegate at the Department of Education for lifelong learning and a third university.


Moderator: Mr Paul O’Toole, CEO, Irish Federal Education and Training Authority (SOLAS)

Paul O’Toole is the Chief Executive Officer of SOLAS. SOLAS is the Further Education and Training Authority for Ireland, responsible for funding, strategic planning and co-ordinating further education and training programmes. Paul previously held the position of Director General of the former Training and Employment Authority, FÁS.

Paul served as the first Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland from July 2001. Prior to this, he worked in the National Tourism Development Authority of Irelandn Bord Fáilte, from 1990 to 2001 in tourism development, marketing and corporate affairs.

An accountant by background, Paul holds a Master of Business Studies degree from the University College Dublin (UCD) Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business.


Ms Judith James,

Head of Strategic Regional Collaboration, Swansea University

Judith James is Head of Strategic Regional Collaboration at Swansea University, Wales, UK. She has extensive experience in developing student entrepreneurship and employability, adult education and widening participation into Higher Education. She was a member of the UNESCO International Expert Group on Developing Learning Cities in 2012 and has been influential in developing the UNESCO Learning City initiative in Swansea. Judith is a Board Member of the South West and Mid Wales Regional Learning and Skills Partnership (RLSP), the RLSP H.E. representative to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and a British Council Steering Group Member for “Going Global 2017”. She is co-editor of a forthcoming publication entitled Entrepreneurial Learning City Regions.


Ms Sophia Bekele, Founder, DotConnectAfrica

Sophia Bekele Eshete is a widely acknowledged business leader, international entrepreneur, corporate governance expert, global policy advisor, public engagement specialist, activist and philanthropist, whose wide-ranging experience spans both the public and private sectors.

In 2017, CIO East Africa magazine recognized her as an ‘Industry Trailblazer’ and ‘Internet Governance Pioneer’. She was named one of the ‘Top 20 Inspirational African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe’ by African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) in 2014, the ‘top leading women in Africa’s ICT sector’ and an ‘African Women to Watch’ by Bloomberg Media, as well as one of the ‘50 African Trailblazers – A Future Made in Africa’ by the UK’s New African magazine in 2013. She is a frequently published writer and commentator on various themes in technology, internet governance, business, cyber-security and women. See

Ms Bekele is deeply involved in projects to boost the involvement and economic empowerment of youth and women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programmes and the use and governance of the Internet of Things (loTs), as well as funding their entrepreneurial initiatives. See http://www.dotconnectafrica/


Mr Christian Mwijage,

Founder and Team Leader, EcoAct Tanzania

Christian Mwijage is a social entrepreneur with a background in project design and management. Passionate about the environment and green living, Mwijage founded EcoAct Tanzania, a for-profit social enterprise that uses an innovative plastic-extrusion technology to recycle and transform post-consumer waste plastics into a durable and affordable alternative to timber. Mwijage came up with the idea in 2015 with the aim of creating a sustainable solution to the problems of increasing urban plastic waste and deforestation. In 2017, EcoAct Tanzania launched the ‘Garbage Medical Health Insurance’ project, a social health insurance programme that enables impoverished people from urban communities to exchange waste plastic for medical coverage.  In 2016, EcoAct Tanzania won the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Startup Boot Camp and African Rethink awards; this year, it won the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship Award 2017.


Parallel Thematic Forum 4: Learning Cities promote governance and partnership

Moderator: Ms Margarete Sachs-Israel, Chief Programme Coordinator, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

Margarete Sachs-Israel is an educationist and has long-standing knowledge and international experience in basic education and youth and adult literacy as well as in educational planning. She holds two postgraduate degrees in psychology from University Paris VII and University Paris V as well as a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, majoring in education from New York State University.

Margarete has been working for UNESCO since January 1989 in the areas of family, health and nutrition education; educational architecture; literacy and non-formal education; non-formal education policy, planning and management; foresight and research; and Education For All. Her work has included various management positions at UNESCO, including Head of the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) Coordination Unit from 2006 to 2009 and Team Leader of the Education Research and Foresight Programme at UNESCO Bangkok from 2011 to 2013. She was the focal point for the development of the Education 2030 Agenda and the Education 2030 Framework for Action in the Education for All (EFA) Global Partnerships Team at UNESCO Paris from 2013 to 2015 and was responsible for the Section’s work on global SDG4-Education 2030 coordination, review and reporting from 2016 to 2017.

Margarete joined the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in July 2017 as Chief Programme Coordinator, a position in which she will manage and provide intellectual leadership and guidance to the Institute’s teams in policy development, research and training, capacity building and networking in the field of lifelong learning, with a focus on adult and continuing education, literacy and non-formal basic education.




Mr Tat Suan Koh,

Director, Skills Future Singapore, Lifelong Learning Institute

After retiring from the Singapore Armed Forces following 22 years of service, Koh Tat Suan pursued careers in research and development, project management, engineering support and maintenance, defence inventory acquisition, and management of a technical training institute. He worked in Singapore’s Ministry of Education for three years in human resources management and development before joining the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (SWDA) in 2005, then part of the Ministry of Manpower, and, later, SkillsFuture Singapore, where he has worked for the past 12 years. Mr Tat Suan’s expertise is in workforce development, encompassing skills frameworks development, training, and learning innovations and systems. He currently oversees the Lifelong Learning Institute and supports Singapore’s Lifelong Learning Council to promote the lifelong learning initiative.


Mr Kilemi Mwiria,

Development Consultant, The Kimkam Foundation

Kilemi Mwiria holds a doctorate in international education from Stanford University; a master’s degree in comparative education from the University of Chicago; and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Nairobi. Between 1985 and 1994, he was an academic in Kenya (Kenyatta University) and South Africa (University of the Witwatersrand). From 1994 to 2002, he was an education consultant throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa. Dr Mwiria was an elected member of the Parliament of Kenya from 2003 to 2013, during which time he also served as Kenya’s Assistant Minister for Education. He has researched and published widely in the area of education and politics, especially on issues revolving around equitable access to quality education, governance and training. Between July 2014 and March 2017, Dr Mwiria served as the senior advisor for education in the Executive Office of the President, Republic of Kenya.


In Action I: Learning Cities become Green and Healthy


Mr Bernard Combes,

Information Officer, Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Section, UNESCO

Mr. Combes supports UNESCO’s activities on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). He is in charge of advocacy and communication, including publications and internet activities, public relations and the development of learning materials. He also coordinates the implementation of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD’s priority action area “Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level” through partnership building and exchange of experiences. He is the Education Sector’s contact person for biodiversity and UNESCO’s contact person for the “Earth Charter”, and among other things, works to reinforce cooperation with other agencies and stakeholders, with regard to Communication, Education and Public Awareness in the areas of biodiversity, water, oceans and sustainable lifestyles. Prior to working with UNESCO’s early childhood programmes, he was involved in research, publications and databases on development and humanitarian NGOs and networks both in UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences sector and at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Development Centre.


Mr Pé Mamadi Bamy,

Mayor of N’Zérékoré, Guinea

Mr Pé Mamadi Bamy was born in 1945 in Baala, a sub-prefecture of Diécké in the prefecture of Yomou. Between 1954 and 1959, he attended Diécké primary school and achieved his Certificate of Primary Elementary Studies (CEPE). From 1960 to 1962, he attended the Labé classical and modern secondary school. He studied at the National Administration school from 1962 to 1963, following which he commenced studies at the Elementary Teachers Training School (École normale primaire) Dabadou (Kankan). Mr Bamy’s administrative positions include Principal and teacher in Moromi primary school, Koubia (1964-1965); teacher in the various primary schools Camp El Hadj Oumar (Labé), N’Zébéla Tokpa, Mohomou (N’Zérékoré) (1969-1979). From 1975 to 1979, he worked as the Principal of Goïkoya primary school (N’Zérékoré). In 1979, he took up the position of District Educational Director (Directeur pédagogique d’arrondissement, DPA), now called an Elementary Education School Delegate (Délégué scolaire de l’enseignement élémentaire, DSEE) in N’Zérékoré and Yalenzou (Nzérékoré). From 1983 to 1988, Mr Bamy worked as an Elementary School Advisor in the N’Zérékoré local education office (DPE) and Regional Education Inspectorate (IRE). He was an Elementary School Educational advisor at N’Zérékoré Regional Education Inspectorate from 1988 to 2005, when he retired. Since then, Mr Bamy has held the political offices of First Deputy Mayor of the Commune of N’Zérékoré (2006-2009) and Mayor of the Commune of N’Zérékoré (2009-Present).

Zsolt Páva: Mayor, Municipality of the City of Pécs


Zsolt Páva was born in 1955, in Pécs, Hungary. In 1981, he graduated from the Faculty of Law at Pécs University. In 1987, he obtained a degree in Strategy Planning and Management at the Faculty of Economics at the Pécs Janus Pannonius University. In 2001, he completed a course in advanced European Studies at the Faculty of Humanities of Pécs University. Currently he is serving his fourth term as Mayor of the Municipality of Pécs. His additional professional experience includes Head of Department and general manager in a meat processing factory; legal advisor in a coal mining company, as well as a private lawyer. He is married with three children. He is fluent in English and speaks conversational German. His hobbies are history, travel and an active way of life.


Mr Juzhong Ge, Deputy Director, Beijing Municipal Commission of Education, China

Mr Juzhong Ge is Deputy Director of Beijing Municipal Commission of Education. He holds a Master’s degree from Beihang University (BUAA) and has worked in the education section of the municipal government for many years. He was Director-General of the general office of the commission and is now responsible for higher education institutions, which play a very important role in the learning city initiative in Beijing.


Kwak Sang Wook: Mayor, Osan city

Osan city, Republic of Korea

Mr Kwak Sang Wook graduated in Science of Public Administration from Dankook University Graduate School. He also held the position of adjunct professor at Dankook University. Mr Kwak has been the recipient of several awards, including the grand prizes at the Korean Global CEO Awards in both the Education Management and Civil-centric Management sectors. Mr Kwak was also an award winner in the Leadership Management sector at the ‘2016 Korea CEO Award Presentation for a Bright Future’. Kwak Sang Wook has published two books, ‘A school out-of-school: A story of Osan – City of Education’ (2013) and ‘The power of Citizens’ (2014).


Mr Shojiro Sasaki,

Deputy Mayor, Okayama City

After graduating from Tokyo University, Japan, Mr Shojiro Sasaki started working in the Urban Policy Division, City Bureau of the former Ministry of Construction. He also worked as Manager of the Policy Planning Division, Office for General Policy, General Affairs Department of Yamagata Prefecture. Then he successively held various posts in the current Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Division, such as Director for Public Relations in the Public Relations Division, the Ministry’s Secretariat, as Director for General Affairs in the Minister’s Secretariat, and as General Manager of Coordination Office of Private Project Support, in the General Affairs Division of the Housing Bureau. From April 2014, he served as Deputy-Director of the Policy Bureau and then as Director of the Finance Bureau of Okayama City. He was appointed to his current position in April 2017.


In Action II: Learning Cities for Equity and Inclusion


Mr Chris Shepherd,

Vice Chair PASCAL and Senior Research Fellow, PASCAL International Observatory, University of Glasgow 

Chris Shepherd is a graduate chartered engineer and planner with over 30 years’ experience in city government; the last 13 years were spent as a chief executive. He has helped to develop several public- and private-sector partnerships, including one that resulted in one of the largest regeneration projects in the UK with the creation of over 8,000 jobs. Shepherd has been a government advisor on regeneration and renewal projects comprising lifelong learning development; he was also an adviser to the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on learning cities projects in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. He has worked with state governments and universities in South Africa and the USA, and is currently based at the University of Glasgow as Vice Chair of the PASCAL International Observatory, where he is engaged in bringing higher education to areas in need, working closely with local government, employers and the voluntary sector.


Pedro Coelho: Mayor, City Hall

Câmara de Lobos, Portugal

Pedro Emanuel Abreu Coelho, born in Câmara de Lobos, is 41 years old. He graduated in Economics from the Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (ISEG- UTL). He is a professional chartered accountant and has provided financial consulting to several companies in Madeira Island. From 1998 to 2005, he worked in vocational education as an accountancy. He has also worked as a columnist for two newspapers, “Jornal da Madeira” and “Diário de Notícias da Madeira”. He is the Chief Executive Editor of the municipal magazine “VIVER” Câmara de Lobos. He has been invited several times as a speaker to conferences in the area of economy/management on Madeira Island. As a politician he was a member of the Câmara de Lobos Municipal Assembly from 2001 to 2013 and a member of the Legislative Assembly of Madeira for two terms between 2007 and 2015. In 2013, he interrupted the second term (2011–2015) to assume the presidency of Câmara de Lobos City Hall. In his present term of office as Mayor (2013–2017), education has been a priority for him. This is reflected in his commitment to promoting a new social and civic cycle, integrating and providing an environment conducive to reflection and discussion on the state of the learning process and boosting the development of the community.


Apostolos Kalogiannis: Mayor, Municipality of Larissa

Larissa, Greece

In Action Forum II

Apostolos Kalogiannis was born in 1952 in Larissa. In 1970, he was admitted to the School of Dentistry of the University of Athens. After completing his military service, he returned to Larissa, where he practiced as a dentist for 34 years. During his student years, he participated in the student movement’s mobilisations against the dictatorship. In 1982 he was elected Municipal Councillor for the first time and was Chairman of the City Council until 1988. In 2006 he was again elected Municipal Councillor and remained in this post until May 2014, when he was elected Mayor of Larissa City. He is married and has two children.


Dimitrios Deligiannis: Deputy Mayor of Social Policy, Municipality of Larissa

Larissa, Greece

Dimitrios Deligiannis has been the Municipality of Larissa’s Deputy Mayor of Social Policy, responsible for Lifelong Learning programmes since September 2014. He holds a PhD in Adult Education, and his postgraduate studies included Social Planning Organisation and Education Management. For ten years, he has been teaching at secondary level, and is an adult educator on many training programmes with an emphasis on training for vulnerable social groups. In 1998, he was appointed Head of Education of the Therapy Centre for Dependent Individuals (Kethea) and in 2000, he and his colleagues set up the Alternative Adult School, the first educational structure for former adult drug users in Greece. He was the Coordinator of the first Vocational Training programmes for the Therapeutic Community for former drug users in the country, and was responsible for organising a pilot training structure for juvenile detainees at the Kassavetia Detention Centre.

Ms Manal Aboughatas,

Deputy Mayor of Giza, Egypt

After earning her degree in veterinary medicine, Prof. Dr Manal Awad Aboughatas became Deputy Governor of Giza and Head of Community and Environmental Affairs in 2015. She is one of the first women to hold the position of vice-governor in Egypt. Dr Awad works closely with the community, and in particular with marginalized groups, young people and women to ensure their civil rights are protected and they have equal access to health and education services.


Emmanuel Fecwa: Head of Technical Services, planning and urban development, Commune of Mayo-Baléo

Mayo-Baléo, Cameroon

Born on 20 December 1991 in Logbikoy, in the Sanaga-Maritime department of Cameroon’s Littoral Region, Emmanuel Fecwa studied law and political science at the University of Ngaoundéré, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree (licence professionnelle) in local community administration, and a Master’s (maîtrise) in political science. He also worked as a presenter for the University of Ngaoundéré’s campus radio station, and was a member of the communications club at the same university. Since August 2015, he has been employed as a community development manager for Mayo-Baléo. Having completed various additional training courses related to local development, he currently holds the post of Head of Technical Services (planning and urban development) for the Commune of Mayo-Baléo.

In Action III: Learning Cities towards Employment and Entrepreneurship


Mr Mansoor Al Boenain,

Director of Al Wakra Municipality, Ministry of Municipality and Environment

Mansoor Al Boenain was born in Qatar and holds a diploma in accounting from the Technology College of Qatar University. He has been Director of Al Wakra municipality since February 2014.



Tri Rismaharini: Mayor of Surabaya, Surabaya City Government

Surabaya, Indonesia

Tri Rismaharini, born in 1961, has served in Surabaya City Goverment for more than 20 years. In 2010, she was elected as the first female mayor in the history of  Surabaya City. She is acclaimed for her successful efforts in transforming Surabaya from a dirty and dry place to a green and clean city. She began this hard work by converting wasteland and petrol stations into beautiful city parks when she was the Head of Surabaya Public Cleanliness and Parks Department in 2005. As a result, Surabaya won the highest national environmental awards as well as a number of international awards. She completed both her Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture (1987) and her Master’s Degree in Urban Development Management at the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology, Surabaya (2002) as well as a course on Urban Development Management at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam (1996).


Javier Caballero Gaona: Mayor of Santiago, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Municipality of Santiago

Santiago, Mexico

Javier Caballero, born in 1970, is currently serving as Mayor of the municipality of Santiago in in the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. He was elected in 2015 by by the Institutional Revolutionary Party. He studied Engineering in Electronics and Communications, and also holds a Postgraduate Degree in Applied Public Management. He has held important positions both in the political sphere and in the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which is the federal government entity in charge of planning the Mexican electricity system. Among his professional achievements are several prizes awarded for his altruistic work and excellence, including the Award for Best Municipal Management of Government in the State of Nuevo Leon, which he received last November.


Ms Josephine Cotter-Coughlan,

Director of Service of Customer Services and Culture, Limerick, Ireland

Josephine Cotter-Coughlan is Director of Service of Customer Services and Culture in Limerick City & County Council. She has 36 years’ experience in the Local Government system at town, city and county levels. She has been a Director of Service for more than ten years and has held a number of senior management positions in her career to date. She has contributed to many national projects and conferences. She has an Honours BA in Public Management. Ms Cotter-Coughlan is the Chairperson of the Learning Limerick steering group in Limerick. She most recently assumed leadership of the Culture programme in Limerick. Ms Cotter-Coughlan has chaired, participated in and worked on many national workgroups. Over the past 36 years, she has gained a profound understanding and awareness of public sector organisations.