PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The City of Philadelphia could soon become the first World Heritage City in the United States if the City's two-year initiative clears the last hurdle during a crucial upcoming meeting in Peru.
"There are 266 World Heritage Cities in the world, and not one in the United States," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "It is clear that Philadelphia is a perfect candidate to become the first delegate from the U.S. to join the roster of preeminent heritage cities, the most obvious of which is that we are the city where American democracy was established. By becoming a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, Philadelphia will be recognized throughout the world and we will add yet another impressive 'first in the U.S.' to our long list."
A delegation of Philadelphia officials led by Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Commerce Director, and John F. Smith III, Chair of the Global Philadelphia Association, arrived in Arequipa, Peru today for the 13th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC), which begins Tuesday, November 3rd and ends Friday, November 6th.
"Mayor Nutter's vision is that Philadelphia, with its rich history and a heritage of diversity, has shared interests and strong common bonds with the international community," Greenberger concluded. "This is Philadelphia's time to celebrate its past while embracing its future in a rapidly changing world as we continue to reinvent and transform our great city."
In 2013, Philadelphia was approved as an Observer Member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Earlier this year, the World Heritage Philadelphia Executive Committee submitted an application to become a Full Member. This application will be acted upon on Friday during the General Assembly of the OWHC's World Congress. If the city secures full membership, Philadelphia will become the first World Heritage City in the United States.
"We are looking forward, with a mixture of excitement and confidence, to a positive outcome in the City's remarkable case to become a World Heritage City," said John F. Smith III, Board Chair of the Global Philadelphia Association. "We're in the home stretch after two years of planning to position Philadelphia for this exciting opportunity."
In addition to Greenberger and Smith, the Philadelphia delegation in Peru includes: Sylvie Gallier Howard, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Mayor and Director of Commerce; Fernando Trevino, Deputy Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs; and Zabeth Teelucksingh, Executive Director of the Global Philadelphia Association.
Philadelphia's case to become the first World Heritage City in the U.S. begins with the fact that the city is the proud home of Independence Hall – the birthplace of American democracy – which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
But Deputy Mayor Greenberger and Smith say there are many other reasons the City of Philadelphia deserves to be recognized on the global stage as the next World Heritage City.
"Philadelphia is a leader in preserving its past historical and cultural contributions, but it is also a dynamic international city with new and diverse generations of great minds and leaders who are forging a modern renaissance in areas ranging from the arts and science to education and innovation," Smith said.
For information about the Organization of World Heritage Cities, visit www.ovpm.org.
About the Global Philadelphia Association
The Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) was founded in 2010 by leading international organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region. Its mission is to assist – and encourage greater interaction among – the many organizations and people who are engaged in international activity within the Greater Philadelphia region; promote the development of an international consciousness within the region; and enhance the region's global profile. GPA is a nonprofit organization with more than 190 members, including businesses, organizations and internationally-minded individuals. For more information, visit www.globalphiladelphia.org.
SOURCE City of Philadelphia