UNESCO has included Lahore in its list of Creative Cities. The list features 66 countries from different continents that are working for cultural and political innovation. Lahore has been declared the ‘Creative City’ less than a year after the head of UNESCO City of Literature highlighted Lahore’s suitability for the program at the Lahore Literary Festival.
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While Lahore is the hub of cultural and entertainment activities in the country Lahore’s designation as the City of Literature is beneficial for the boost of tourism in Pakistan. The current government of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf has made great strides in ramping up tourism in Pakistan. The inclusion in UNESCO’s list will internationalize the city, boost its cultural importance around the world and will attract internationally-acclaimed global literary figures to Pakistan, encouraging the soft image of the country.
“Seven consecutive years of the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) in Lahore has fostered a community of book-lovers to come in closer range of writers and poets for intellectual stimulation and a humane understanding of the world especially in an age where authoritative journalism is under threat and information becomes increasingly difficult to sift from the phenomenon of fake news,” founder and CEO Razi Ahmed said while hailing the move by UNESCO.
“The LLF has brought alive the city’s past and present traditions of literary and social thought and advanced the humanistic power of the written word to the promising youth of the city,” he added.
Earlier this year, Dr. Andrea Adel, the head of UNESCO City of Literature Heidelberg recognized the cultural significance of Lahore. Adding that, “Lahore should apply to be a UNESCO City of Literature because it is already part of the Network.”
She said various beneficiaries of the program had already attended the Lahore Literary Festival and suggested the city had become known for its cultural impact among certain circles.
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In a statement from UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay announced the 66 cities had been placed un UNESCO Creative Cities list in categories as wide as music, literature, design, gastronomy and crafts and folk art.
“All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy,” UNESCO’s Azoulay said. “This favours political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations.”
The prime goal of UNESCO’s Creative City is to ensure the network of cities work together towards the common goal: placing creativity, and the creative economy at the base of urban development. The mission aims to make cities around the world resilient, safe, and in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030.