World Heritage Week Recap

Philadelphia celebrated six years as a World Heritage City with a week of free, virtual festivities for the whole family last month. Presented by the Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) and the City of Philadelphia, World Heritage Week highlighted many diverse heritages and shared cultural traditions. 

The goal of World Heritage Week is to not only celebrate Philadelphia and all that it has to offer but to celebrate it as a World Heritage City. World Heritage Cities have UNESCO designated sites of “outstanding universal value” that have special importance for everyone and represent a unique, best, or most significant example of the world's cultural and natural heritage. Philadelphia’s UNESCO World Heritage site is Independence Hall. 

Philadelphia was the United States’ first World Heritage City. There are only two World Heritage Cities in the United States and the other one is San Antonio, TX. 

"World Heritage status is such a defining nomenclature for our city and one that can be manifested in numerous ways - food, culture, architecture, stories, music,” GPA’s Executive Director Zabeth Teelucksingh said. “There is something for every person and for every generation during World Heritage Week. Ultimately the goal is to promote a better universal understanding. What could be more fitting for Philadelphia."

The week’s activities included Virtual World Heritage Week Quizzo hosted by KYW Newsradio’s Denise Nakano. Participants were quizzed on their knowledge of Philadelphia’s history and global heritages and the winning team received prizes.

World Heritage Week also featured a video of Amanda Gorman – the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history – performing the poem she composed for the 2020 Philadelphia World Heritage City Celebration; a video on the fascinating history of Pepperpot Soup by Emmy Award-winning TV host and culinary historian Chef Walter Staib; a special episode of Heritage Storytime exploring global culinary traditions with a kid-friendly cooking demo; a message from City Representative Sheila Hess; and much more.

The highlight for me was being able to attend the virtual quizzo. Attendees were split up randomly into three teams so that participants could make new connections amongst each other. Questions were presented to each person before each round began, then team members were sent into their breakout rooms to work out the answers together. 

Of all the virtual events I have attended, this was the most fun. Participants commented about how nice it felt to interact with new people, as well as learn new and interesting facts about Philadelphia. 

Next year, World Heritage Week will be in-person with more events that highlight and celebrate Philadelphia. Stay tuned for details.

Article written by Leeannah McNew on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association