UNESCO Names 49 Additions to Its Creative Cities Network as Azoulay Wins Reelection

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As France’s Audrey Azoulay is returned to the director-general’s role at UNESCO, the agency adds a new round of almost 50 municipalities to its ‘Creative Cities’ network.

On the JPO Sudirman, a pedestrian overpass in Jakarta, newly named to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Andre Flamboyan

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Azoulay: ‘A Sign of Regained Unity’
As many Publishing Perspectives readers know, UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network is not the same program as the World Book Capital regime, a designation currently held by Tbilisi (which is also on the list of newly named Creative Cities).

The Creative Cities Network was established in 2004 to encourage cooperative relations between cities that have selected creative initiatives and each selection is tied to one of seven creative fields:

  • Crafts and Folk Art
  • Design
  • Film
  • Gastronomy
  • Literature
  • Media arts
  • Music

A total 246 cities make up the network at this writing, the overarching mission being to recognize cities that “place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

We’ll list the 49 newly named cities below.

Audrey Azoulay Returned to Her Role

The news arrives today (November 9), just as the agency’s director-general, Audrey Azoulay, has been reelected to lead the organization, in a vote of 155 out of 169. In her comments about her success, Azoulay is emphasizing progress at UNESCO in overcoming a trend toward political divisiveness that had dogged the division.

Audrey Azoulay

I see this result as a sign of regained unity within our organization,” Azoulay says. 

“Over the last four years, we’ve been able to restore confidence in UNESCO, and in some respects this has also been about restoring UNESCO’s confidence in itself.

“We regained serenity by reducing the political tensions that stood in our way and by looking for common positions on subjects that were divisive in the past. We were then able to develop a shared ambition, notably by reconnecting with the tradition of leading major operations in the field.”

As many will recall, the Donald Trump administration pulled the United States out of UNESCO in 2017, citing an “anti-Israel bias.” But by October of this year, Reuters Washington and Paris carried Patricia Zengerle and John Irish’s report

And today in Paris, UNESCO’s home base, Le Monde with Agence France-Presse reports that a return by the States to the organization could “counterbalance the growing involvement of China, which has become the main contributor to UNESCO’s regular budget.”

The agency reports that funding for 2020-21 totaled US$1.4 billion. Voluntary contributions increased by 50 percent over the 2017-2021 period, compared to the previous four years.

Newly Named Creative Cities Network Members

The Creative Cities Network is a partner of UNESCO, not only as a platform for reflection on the role of creativity as a lever for sustainable development but also as a breeding ground of action and innovation, notably for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It’s of special note to those who follow the International Publishers Association (IPA) that Jakarta has been added to the list, as the city is slated to host the 33rd world congress of the organization there in 2022 and this month holds its JakTent program in association with Frankfurter Buchmesse from Wednesday to Sunday (November 10 to 14).

  • Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) – Music
  • Batumi (Georgia) – Music
  • Belfast (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Music
  • Bida (Nigeria) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Bohicon (Benin) – Gastronomy
  • Buraidah (Saudi Arabia) – Gastronomy
  • Bursa (Turkey) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Campina Grande (Brazil) – Media Arts
  • Cannes (France) – Film
  • Cluj-Napoca (Romania) – Film
  • Como (Italy) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Covilhã (Portugal) – Design
  • Doha (Qatar) – Design
  • Gdynia (Poland) – Film
  • Gimhae (Republic of Korea) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Gothenburg (Sweden) – Literature
  • Hamar (Norway) – Media Arts
  • Huai’an (China) – Gastronomy
  • Huancayo (Peru) – Music
  • Ibagué (Colombia) – Music
  • Jakarta (Indonesia) – Literature
  • Kermanshah (Iran, Islamic Republic of) – Gastronomy
  • Kharkiv (Ukraine) – Music
  • Kuching (Malaysia) – Gastronomy
  • Lankaran (Azerbaijan) – Gastronomy
  • Launceston (Australia) – Gastronomy
  • London (Canada) – Music
  • Manises (Spain) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Modena (Italy) – Media Arts
  • Nakuru (Kenya) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Namur (Belgium) – Media Arts
  • Pasto (Colombia) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Perth (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Phetchaburi (Thailand) – Gastronomy
  • Port Louis (Mauritius) – Music
  • Recife (Brazil) – Music
  • Rouen (France) – Gastronomy
  • Saint Petersburg (Russian Federation) – Gastronomy
  • Santa Maria da Feira (Portugal) – Gastronomy
  • Santiago de Cuba (Cuba) – Music
  • Srinagar (India) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Tallinn (Estonia) – Music
  • Tbilisi (Georgia) – Media Arts
  • Thessaloniki (Greece) – Gastronomy
  • Usuki (Japan) – Gastronomy
  • Vilnius (Lithuania) – Literature
  • Weifang (China) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Whanganui (New Zealand) – Design
  • Xalapa (Mexico) – Music

More from Publishing Perspectives on UNESCO and its programs is here, more on the International Publishers Association is here, more on Jakarta’s JakTent program is here, and more on the World Book Capital program is here

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the International Publishers Association.

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As as an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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