GPA Celebrates World Heritage Week

Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) celebrated Philadelphia’s fifth anniversary as a World Heritage City by hosting a week of heritage events and festivities on social media from May 26-30, 2020.

Traditionally hosted on the fourth Thursday in May, Mayor Jim Kenney instituted World Heritage Day in 2016 after Philadelphia received its World Heritage City designation in November 2015. Leading up to Philadelphia’s fifth World Heritage Day celebration, GPA hosted virtual events on the following platforms: 

In addition to the festivities, GPA hosted a #GiveBack campaign throughout the week to raise money for its charity partner, Nationalities Service Center, in support of immigrants and refugees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kicking off on May 26, GPA kickstarted World Heritage Week by celebrating the current participants in the Spread Our Seal campaign and inviting local businesses to join the program on social media. The Spread Our Seal campaign invites local businesses and organizations to place a static cling of Philadelphia’s World Heritage City seal on their front window, thereby showcasing their city pride. Once a business/organization displays the window cling, they are added to GPA’s World Heritage City Seal Map, which documents the locations of all the campaign participants. As of now, over 60 businesses and organizations across all 10 of Philadelphia’s city council districts are participating in the program.

On May 27, GPA celebrated Philadelphia’s heritage preservation initiatives by giving away free copies of the Philadelphia Heritage Map. Showcasing the city’s 67 National Historic Landmarks (NHLs), the Philadelphia Heritage Map is composed of an illustrated printed version and an online database containing information about each site. The illustrated version was designed by local artist Greg Lytle and printed by the local company Fireball Printing. For World Heritage Week, GPA invited people to post a picture of their favorite NHL on social media with the hashtag #NHLinPHL. The first 100 users who posted to the tag were eligible to receive a free copy of the Philadelphia Heritage Map.

On May 28, GPA spotlighted Philadelphia’s gender equality initiatives by hosting a performance by local jazz legend, music educator and womens’ rights advocate Sherry Wilson Butler. During her performance, Butler drew attention to GPA’s work in completing a public art project centered around the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #5, which revolves around the need for people of all genders to have equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in political and economic decision-making. In addition to Butler’s performance, GPA shared pieces of advice from 12 of Philadelphia’s top women leaders.

On May 29, GPA honored Philadelphia’s international communities by streaming readings of the Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book in English, Spanish and Japanese. Hosted on Facebook, three Philadelphia leaders read each version of the coloring book: the English version was read by Marilyn Russell, a broadcaster at Entercom Radio 98.1 WOGL; the Spanish version was read by Jennifer Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and the Japanese version was read by Yuka Yokoyama, the JapanPhilly2020 Program Manager for the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book teaches children ages five and up to connect their pride in their community to their pride in themselves by giving them the opportunity to creatively explore Philadelphia’s cultural and historical sites, including Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Johnson House. In addition to the three readings, GPA also hosted a giveaway for people across the city to win their own copies of the Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book (in their preferred language) by sharing their favorite memory from visiting a new country.

On May 30, World Heritage Week culminated with GPA reflecting on the best moments from the week and closing the giveaways for the World Heritage City Seal, Philadelphia Heritage Map and Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book.

For more information about World Heritage Week, visit GPA’s website here.

Article written by Amelia Winger on behalf of the Global Philadelphia Association