Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter declared Tuesday, September 8, 2015 as “Solidarity Day of the World Heritage Cities” in Philadelphia through a proclamation issued at a joint press conference with the Global Philadelphia Association.

The City of Philadelphia is the only city in the United States that is an observer member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC). The Global Philadelphia Association and Mayor Nutter’s administration have been working collaboratively since 2012 on an initiative to make Philadelphia a full member of the Organization and thereby achieve status as the first World Heritage City in the U.S.

“As the proud home of Independence Hall – the birthplace of democracy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 – Philadelphia stands in solidarity today with all World Heritage Cities as our city aspires to become the first World Heritage City in the U.S.,” said Mayor Nutter.

A decision on Philadelphia’s proposal to become a full member is expected when the OWHC’s 13th World Congress convenes in the city of Arequipa, Peru November 3-6, 2015. A delegation of representatives from the City of Philadelphia and the Global Philadelphia Association will attend the Congress.

“Today’s proclamation is an affirmation of Mayor Nutter’s support of the mission of the Organization of World Heritage Cities and his belief that our great city, with its rich history and a heritage of diversity, has shared interests and common bonds with the international community,” said Alan Greenberger, the City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce.

John F. Smith III, Chair of the Global Philadelphia Association’s Board of Directors, said, “We believe that designation as a World Heritage City would promote understanding of the region’s remarkable history – a history built on respect for many cultures, freedom, and democracy – and at the same time enhance Philadelphia’s global stature as a destination for international commerce, culture and tourism.”

Last September 8, the City of Philadelphia marked Solidarity Day of the World Heritage Cities by renaming Walnut Street between 5th and 6th streets “World Heritage Way,” in a ceremony at Independence Hall.

Driving home the World Heritage message, the Global Philadelphia Association will stage GlobalPhilly™ 2015, a 60-day exposition to showcase the city’s many international assets, starting Thursday, September 10.   The expo will offer a lineup of 150 events and programs centered on international themes and issues.  Member organizations will present events in eight categories: Advocacy, Arts, Commerce, Cuisine, Education, Heritage, Science & Technology and Sports.  The opening ceremony for the Expo will be Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the studios of WHYY, Independence Mall West, 150 N. 6th Street, in Philadelphia. To learn more about GlobalPhilly™ 2015 and the scheduled events, visit  GlobalPhilly™ 2015 runs through mid-November.


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. 


            WHEREAS, the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) was founded in Fez, Morocco on September 8, 1993, in order to promote the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, encourage cooperation and the exchange of information and expertise on matters of conservation and management, and develop a sense of solidarity among its member cities; and

            WHEREAS, the OWHC has grown over the years and now has over 250 member cities across the globe; and

            WHEREAS, the City of Philadelphia became an observer member of the OWHC in 2013 and, as such, has participated in the Organization’s activities since that time; and

            WHEREAS, given Philadelphia’s historical and cultural contributions to the world, their embodiment in the City’s fundamental design, its physical spaces, and structures – including Independence Hall, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 – and the City’s innovative efforts to preserve, re-use, and re-invent those spaces and structures in a manner that honors their history, Philadelphia feels a special kinship with the member cities of the Organization; and

            WHEREAS, the City has joined with the Global Philadelphia Association in an initiative called Project World Heritage for the purposes of promoting an understanding on the part of our citizens and the larger world community of the value of the City’s heritage and the importance of its preservation, achieving full membership in the OWHC, developing relationships with other member cities for our mutual benefit, and learning from them and sharing our learning with them concerning the growth, health, and preservation of cities; and

            WHEREAS, one year ago, on September 8, 2014, the City of Philadelphia officially recognized Solidarity Day by naming Walnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, which is the site of Independence Hall, as “World Heritage Way”;

            NOW THEREFORE: 

            I, Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, do hereby proclaim September 8, 2015 to be celebrated as

Solidarity Day of the World Heritage Cities

in Philadelphia, and urge all citizens to take advantage of this day both to share and promote our own heritage and to recognize the work of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in promoting heritage world-wide.


Michael A. Nutter


Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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