Once more, Lebanon is represented through the Youth and Culture Center of the city of Zouk Mikael, in the finals of the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation in China, organized in collaboration with UN affiliated organization United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the World Association of Major Metropolises (Metropolis) between November 14 and 17, 2012 in the capital of Guangdong, one of the most developed Chinese provinces economically and technologically, Guangzhou in Southern china.
The only two Arab cities to make it to the finals are the cities of Zouk Mikael, Lebanon and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, while the competition received over 255 initiatives from 153 cities from 56 countries and provinces. Zouk Mikael’s deserving initiative entitled “Youth and Culture Center, building better communities” aims at creating youth policies that build bridges between the local government and the city’s youth and includes building youth capacities and opening opportunities in the fields of culture, employment, networking and the creative industry. Recognized as the beating heart of the Kesserwan, Zouk Mikael’s Youth and Culture Center is a platform for the dialogue of cultures as it hosted over 600 artists from around the world, producing cultural events of different disciplines in collaboration with 50 embassies and international organizations. The initiative is equally valuable for its leading role in initiating public private partnerships and engaging the local population and the civil society in a sustainable development movement that keeps growing.
The Guangzhou Award aims to reward innovations to improve the socio-economic environments in cities and regions, promote sustainability, and hence advance the livelihood of their citizens. Presented biennially, the award will encourage and recognize outstanding innovative projects and practices in the public sector.
Reaching the finals is an achievement by itself for Zouk Mikael is once more on the road to glory along with the world’s richest and most advanced cities like Vienna, Seoul, Cape Town, Vancouver, Mexico and Dusseldorf.