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Designation As World Heritage City Will Develop International Consciousness and Enhance Global Profile

For more information, contact Madelaine Miller-Strauss newsPRos, 646-331-2691; [email protected]

March 24, 2014, Philadelphia, PA – Denis Ricard, Secretary-General of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC), arrives in Philadelphia today for a two-day visit that marks another significant milestone for the community’s initiative to become the first “World Heritage City” in the U.S.

The project is led by the Global Philadelphia Association (GPA), which represents a broad cross-section of Greater Philadelphia’s international stakeholders.

“The GPA is honored to welcome Secretary-General Ricard to Philadelphia on behalf of a growing and enthusiastic public-private partnership,” said John F. Smith, III, Chair of the GPA Board and a partner at Reed Smith in Philadelphia. “We have arranged two full days of activities and events to introduce him to our region and highlight its rich history and cultural heritage. I am confident this visit will demonstrate that Philadelphia has everything required to be our nation’s inaugural World Heritage City, a designation that will continue developing this region’s international consciousness and further enhance its global profile.”

Ricard will tour Independence Hall and other historic sites throughout Philadelphia and meet with elected officials at Philadelphia City Hall to discuss advancing the city’s World Heritage City designation. Independence Hall is a World Heritage Site because both the Declaration of Independence and first Constitution of the United States were signed there.

A reception in Ricard’s honor is scheduled this afternoon in the new offices of Reed Smith LLP in Three Logan Square.
Founded in 1993 in Fez, Morocco, and permanently headquartered in Québec City, Canada, the OWHC comprises 250 cities in which sites included on the UNESCO World Heritage List are located. The organization’s objectives are to promote implementation of the World Heritage Convention, encourage co-operation and the exchange of information and expertise on matters of conservation and management, as well as develop a sense of solidarity among member cities.
Philadelphia is uniquely qualified to join the ranks of World Heritage Cities. Over the last three centuries, it has been a beacon of growth and innovation for the human race. It is the birthplace of modern principles for religious tolerance and liberty. The foundations of democracy and political freedom were forged in Philadelphia. Great thinkers in the realms of urban planning and medicine put forth their ideas in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is synonymous with the ideals we continue to strive toward today.

In 2012, the Global Philadelphia Association took the initial steps to advance Philadelphia’s World Heritage City status. In mid-September, 2013, the City was accepted as an Observer Member of OWHC; in November, a delegation of GPA and City officials met with Ricard and other OWHC officials in Oaxaca, Mexico, to further the designation process.
“We anticipate the activities of the next two days will play a very large role in defining our next steps as a community toward our desired status as a World Heritage City,” said Zabeth Teelucksingh, Executive Director of GPA. “Philadelphia has already made great strides toward World Heritage City recognition, bolstered by the dedicated efforts of our World Heritage City Working Group. This community is uniquely qualified and extremely well-positioned to succeed in this important initiative as a result of their work.”

Philadelphia’s World Heritage City Working Group is led by Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia, and Chair of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, and Barry Eiswerth, Senior Principal at H2L2 Architects/Planners.

In addition to Smith and Teelucksingh, other members of the WHC Working Group include David Brownlee, Ph.D., Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor, Chair of the Graduate Group in the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania; Luke Butler, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, City of Philadelphia; Shinjoo Cho, Director of International Business Investment, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia; and, Fernando Trevino, Deputy Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant & Cultural Affairs, City of Philadelphia.

About The Global Philadelphia Association
The Global Philadelphia Association was founded in 2010 by nine of the leading international organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Region. It is a member-governed Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation whose purposes are:
• To assist - and to encourage greater interaction among - the many organizations and people who are engaged in one form or another of international activity within the Greater Philadelphia Region;
• To promote the development of an international consciousness within the Region;
• To enhance the Region’s global profile.
Today, more than 135 organizations, businesses, and internationally-minded individuals have become joint venturers in the Global Philadelphia initiative. For more information, visit