26 September 2018
On Thursday, September 13, 2018, Global Philadelphia Association celebrated its third annual World Heritage City Celebration at the Crystal Tea Room.
This annual event supports and honors the work being done to carry out Philadelphia’s World Heritage Strategic Plan. The World Heritage City designation advances Philadelphia’s status among international cities. As Philadelphia evolves as a global city, it magnifies the reasons to visit, live, and essentially, do business.
The event’s Co-Chairs brought up an interesting point in their opening dialog. “We’re not just talking to global partners, but also having a conversation about this mission at the neighborhood level. Things like neighborhood tourism, business investment and much more.” says President and CEO of DLS International, Dianne Semingson. “We can certainly be proud,” John Fry, President of Drexel University, agreed, “But I don’t think we can be satisfied.”
Michael Smerconish, SiriusXM and CNN host, was this year’s special keynote speaker. Additional speakers include honorary co-chairs the Honorable Robert P. Casey, U.S. Senator-Pennsylvania, and the Honorable Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia. Celebration co-chairs John Fry, President of Drexel University, and Dianne Semmingson, President and CEO of DLS International, also spoke at this engagement. Secretary General of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, as well as political and international relations specialist, Denis Ricard, was recognized as the special international guest. Sheila Hess, Office of the City Representative, honored Global guests and their World Heritage connection. Also in attendance were several honored guests from other World Heritage cities.
A highlight of the night was the mesmerizing performances by several international entertainers. Among those entertainers were Raices Boriuas a Caribbean and Latin Music Band, Tango dancers from the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, Bucket Drummers, Philadelphia Sun Lion Dancers, Didgeridoo instrumentalists, and the Lifeline Music Coalition African Drum and Dance Ensemble, all of which showcased authentic traditions from all over the world.
The City of Brotherly Love became the first U.S. city to receive the designation of a World Heritage City (WHC) in 2015, connecting over 280 World Heritage cities across the globe. This year, the tradition continued as Philadelphia celebrates its unique heritages and common bonds by celebrating World Heritage Cities Solidarity Day on September 13. It’s clear there is a reason Philadelphia is the first city to become a World Heritage City, to quote Michael Smerconish from his recently published Philadelphia Inquirer piece, “We are a region of diverse and unique neighbors who reside in a collection of urban neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs. No one can be rougher on us than ourselves, but deep down we know we have a good thing going here.”