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World Heritage City Celebration

Why do we celebrate Philadelphia's role as a World Heritage City? Yes, being America’s first World Heritage City is a boost for Philadelphia’s business, culture, and tourism. But there’s more to it than that.  The World Heritage City designation recognizes Philadelphia’s seminal role in modern democracy and significant cultural assets. But the title isn’t an end in itself. Instead, it’s the center of an ever-expanding circle. 

Each year, Philadelphia works with other World Heritage Cities to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The goal is to be positive, sustainable change models for all cities.

It’s not just about government, though. It’s about bringing people together. Every year, our Global Events Calendar is filled withlocal heritage and cultural events presented by organizations large and small, including GPA.

We celebrate all of that: the energy that creates the events, and the energy that comes back out, doubled. Together, we expand the circle across Greater Philadelphia.

Of course, the influence of the WHC designation travels, and we celebrate that too. Enter cultural exchanges, visiting professors, new business opportunities, and cities sharing valuable knowledge. So the circle expands further, across borders, across oceans.  

So when we come together for the annual World Heritage City Celebration, it’s not just about the past. We recognize all those who strive to extend our heritage, creating a brighter future for Philadelphia and our global partners.

Mayor Michael Nutter at the WHCC

Our 2023 Honoree, Former Mayor Michael A. Nutter

A pillar of the Philadelphia community as former two-term Mayor and member of City Council, for the 2023 Celebration, Michael A. Nutter was our 2023 honoree. He received the Globy Award for Distinguished Global Leadership.  

Michael A. Nutter is a former two-term mayor of Philadelphia who previously spent nearly 15 years in the Philadelphia City Council. Since leaving public office in 2016, he has remained active in public policy, government, and civic life. 

He is the inaugural David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and holds fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.

Philadelphia's Tribute to Michael A. Nutter

Listen to Philadelphia residents, workers, leaders, and colleagues pay tribute to "a citizen of the world" and our 2023 awardee. 

The Pillars of Our World Heritage City

GPA’s annual World Heritage City Celebration is a night to join together, revel in the year’s accomplishments, and honor an outstanding individual who has enriched our community. 

You can expect a five-star evening, build your network, and get inspired by exceptional leaders. You’ll also fuel GPA’s efforts to grow the World Heritage City project by:


Preserving & Celebrating

Preserving and Celebrating Historical and Cultural Assets

Educating Kids with Global Roots

Educating Global Kids with Roots

Building World Heritage City Awareness and Ownership

Building World Heritage City Awareness and Ownership

Extending Philadelphia’s Global Reach

Extending Philadelphia’s Global Reach

Mayor Nutter & Jim Gardner at WHCC

“The event honoring Mayor Michael Nutter was a wonderful night of networking and entertainment! Great work team GPA who works tirelessly to ensure this is a World Class event!”

- Layla El Tannir, Director of Business Development, Reading Terminal Market


Celebrating Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities

This year's Celebration will marked the 30th anniversary of Organization of World Heritage Cities celebrating Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities

Created in 1993, the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) is headquartered in Quebec City, Canada. As an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization, the OWHC is a political platform for cooperation between the mayors of cities whose territory includes a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Network as a Young Professional

As a networking organization, GPA is constantly building relationships with younger leaders in Philadelphia who work towards improving the City and promoting GPA’s mission. GPA establishes connections with Philadelphia’s leaders and organizations to promote the City’s World Heritage status and bring awareness to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

This network serves as a collaborative team of GPA affiliated community leaders who have taken their talents to new heights in their careers.

This year's Young Professional Co-Chairs were Christina Arlt, AICP, McCormick Taylor and Senzwa M. Ntshepe, President, The Connect. 

2023 WHCC co-chairs

Celebration Co-Chairs

Aileen Alexander

Chief Executive Officer, Diversified Search Group

Omar Woodard

Chief Philanthropy Officer, HRS Management


2023 Celebration Sponsors



World Heritage Sponsors

world heritage sponsors




Heritage Sponsors


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Community Sponsors


community sponsor logos



Patron Sponsors


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Media Partners


media sponsors

Celebration Committee Members

  • Ann and David Brownlee, University of Pennsylvania
  • Bridgett M. Battles, Jefferson
  • Chris Chaplon, PIDC
  • Surma and Kosh Daphtary
  • Kevin Dow, Regional Foundation
  • Anne and Barry Eiswerth
  • Rob Fleming, Penn Weitzman School of Design 
  • Tammie and Ken Fulmer, Urban Engineers
  • Scheryl Glanton, Investor Real Estate Advisor
  • Derek Green, Bellevue Strategies
  • Greta and Alan Greenberger
  • Marine Havel, Honorary Consul of France in Philadelphia
  • Jabari Jones, West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative
  • Val Kogan, Mid-Atlantic - Eurasia Business Council
  • Jazmin and David Kron, Wells Fargo Financial Advisors
  • Richard Lee and Jeffrey Plourde, Media Copy/Goody Guru
  • Karen and Rob McNeill, Deloitte
  • Emily Qing Hui Wang, Century 21
  • John and Susan Smith
  • Layla El Tannir, Reading Terminal Market
  • Evan Urbania, Chatterblast
  • Harold and Linda Yaffe

solidarity day of WHC 30th anniv

The 2023 celebration was held on the 30th anniversary of OWHC celebrating Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities.


sponsor photo at WHCC

Thank you to our generous sponsors and everyone who was able to attend the 2023 World Heritage City Celebration. 

If you would like to support Global Philadelphia’s year long programming, please make a donation below.