New chairperson appointed for Derry and Strabane Learning City Network

LEARNING and development leader with Allstate NI, Garreth Harvey, has been appointed as the new chair of the Derry City and Strabane Region Learning City Network.

Mr Harvey replaces outgoing chair and tech entrepreneur, Padraig Canavan, who served as chairperson since 2018.

Mr Canavan took the opportunity to wish his successor well in his new role, saying: “This is a very exciting time to promote learning in the city and region and I am honoured to pass the torch to an individual as gifted as Garreth who is also passionate about promoting lifelong learning.”

As the new chairperson, Mr Harvey said he was eager to build on the work that has already been done and was looking forward to 2022 as an opportunity to continue to promote learning opportunities for all.

He commented: “This year we will hold our Lifelong Learning Festival in April which will be instrumental in terms of providing people with fresh opportunities to engage with learning.

"Ultimately, we are trying to make learning more accessible for everyone in the region and crucially, make it more enjoyable.”

Echoing those thoughts, Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke said: “Making sure learning is accessible for all is key and I am looking forward to the Lifelong Learning Festival in April. Learning is certainly a lifelong journey rather than a destination, and I hope many people of all ages and abilities grasp at the chance to learn something new, (or even something old), during the festival and come away with a renewed joy for learning.”

The Derry City and Strabane Learning City Network are proud members of UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities, which comprises over 200 cities around the world. UNESCO defines a learning city as a city that promotes learning both formal and informal across all ages and sectors in our communities.

The Learning City Network is made up of representatives from schools/colleges, community groups, businesses, libraries, and further and higher education.

Derry and Strabane joined the UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities in 2020.

Derry and Strabane Learning City was the first region in the network to host a Virtual Learning Festival in 2020 under the previous chairperson.

Hoping to build on the success of the Virtual Festival, the Derry and Strabane Learning City Network are eager to encourage groups and organisations to sign up to the Lifelong Learning Festival, which is due to take place from 25-29 April 2022. Applications are now open for those interested in hosting an event as part of the festival line-up.

Details for the Lifelong Learning Festival and how to apply can be found here:



To find out more about Derry City and Strabane Region Learning City, contact

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