City of Philadelphia Delegates and the Global Philadelphia Association to Attend 12th Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities

PHILADELPHIA - Representatives from the City of Philadelphia and the Global Philadelphia Association will travel to the 12th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) to discuss the challenges and management of World Heritage Cities.

OWHC works to protect historic cities that have made notable impacts on the world. Headquartered in Québec City, Canada, the OWHC is made up of more than 200 cities throughout the world that house sites included on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

The 12th Congress will be held in Oaxaca, Mexico from November 18th through November 22nd. The theme for the 12th Congress is “Heritage Cities, Sustainable Cities.” It will focus on the importance of implementing sustainable development strategies for OWCH cities.

“Our Administration has set the goal of being the greenest city in America by 2015 – a goal we are well on our way to achieving. The 12th Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities is an excellent way to promote our sustainable efforts internationally,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Being a OWHC member is not only an opportunity to dialogue about shared interests with the international community but also a chance to highlight Philadelphia as an forward-thinking global city.”

Fernando Treviño, Deputy Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs, and Kevin Dow, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Commerce Director, City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department will represent the City at the World Congress. In addition, John F. Smith, III, Board Chair and President, Global Philadelphia Association and a senior partner at Reed Smith, LLP, will attend.

“We at the Global Philadelphia Association believe strongly that Philadelphia’s heritage is worthy of international recognition. We are pleased to be working with City officials to secure that recognition. Our visit to Oaxaca, Mexico, to attend the 12th World Congress of World Heritage Cities as an Observer Member is a start and we look forward to pursuing full accreditation as a World Heritage City from UNESCO over the next several years.” Smith said.

The City of Philadelphia joined the OWHC as an Observer Member. Its status was announced in September 2013 at the opening ceremony for GlobalPhilly 2013, an international exposition presented by the Global Philadelphia Association. Philadelphia is the first U.S. city granted this status. Global Philadelphia Association Executive Director, Zabeth Teelucksingh, first introduced the idea of Philadelphia joining the Organization of World Heritage Cities in 2011, shortly after she moved to Philadelphia from Boston. Efforts to achieve membership with the OWHC have been implemented since that time.

"After two years in Philadelphia, most of which have been spent branding “PHL” as a Global city, it seemed natural that this city should be given the World Heritage appellation. Eighteen months later, the City under the direction of Mayor Nutter has accepted the Global Philadelphia Association's suggestion,” Teelucksingh added.

"Word Heritage denomination is a perfect branding opportunity for Philadelphia. This has been a global city since the time when Von Steuben, Lafayette and Pulaski walked its streets."

For more information, log on to or You can follow the Congress on Twitter @OaxacaCongress and #PHLinOaxaca. Follow @GlobalPhila for updates from the Global Philadelphia Association and @PhillyMOIMA for news from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs.

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