Medellín (Colombia) and Ségou (Mali), winners of the 4th edition of the International Award UCLG – Mexico City – Culture 21

For the 2019-2020 edition of the International Award UCLG – Mexico City – Culture 21, the Jury decided to recognize ex-aequo two cities and two individuals for their key contribution to culture and sustainable development, and to award special mentions to seven other cities from across the world.

The call for the 4th edition of the International Award ’UCLG – Mexico City – Culture 21’, jointly organized since 2014 on a biennial basis by the City of Mexico, UCLG, and its Committee on Culture, was open between November 2019 and March 2020 and received 81 bids from cities and local and regional governments from all continents.

The objective of the Award is to recognise leading cities and individuals that have distinguished themselves through their contribution to culture as a key dimension in sustainable cities, to cultural rights and to place of culture in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN 2030 Agenda and other relevant global agendas. The Award has two categories: “Cities, Local and Regional Governments” and “Individuals”.

This year, the International Jury was made up of five members, all of whom are prestigious international experts with impeccable trajectories in the cultural field: José Alfonso Suárez del Real, Secretary on Culture of Mexico City, Co-President of the UCLG Committee on Culture and President of the; Lourdes Arizpe, former Secretary General and member of the United Nations Commission on Culture and Development; Catherine Cullen, Special Advisor on Culture in Sustainable Cities and former Chair of the Culture Committee of UCLG; Lupwishi Mbuyamba, Executive Director of the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa and President of the African Music Council and Ayşegül Sabuktay, Director of the Izmir Mediterranean Academy. A document of presentation of the Jury of the 4th edition of the Award is available on the web dedicated to the Award.

After having carefully examined each one of these 81 bids, the Jury held its final meeting on 19-20 May 2020, and decided to give the Award to two cities for the category Cities / Local and Regional Governments’: Medellín (Colombia), for the initiative “Network of Arts and Cultural Practices”, a community-oriented initiative that aims at guaranteeing cultural rights for children, adolescents and youth, and Ségou (Mali), for the project “A Creative City”, that provides the city with a sound cultural policy focused on sustainable development, providing access for everyone to culture and enhancing the value of local cultural identities.

Additionally, the members of the Jury decided to give special mentions to six other cities from across the world – Chiang Mai (Thailand), Concepción (Chile), Manchester (England, United Kingdom), Ramallah (Palestine), Ulaanbaatar (Nepal) and Yopougon (Ivory Coast) – and to award a “Leona Vicario of Mexico Special Mention” to San José (Costa Rica). The abstracts of the all 81 candidacies are available online.

As for the category ‘Individuals’, the Jury decided that the Award would also be shared ex-aequo between two individuals: Eusebio Leal, who has devoted his entire life to the preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of Cuba and of humanity, promoting the embodiment of the public space as a cultural space, preserving heritage as a common good; and Vandana Shiva, pioneering figure of ecofeminism who has developed an approach that emphasizes scientific knowledge and dissemination as tools to guarantee people’s cultural rights, including the most at-risk groups.

The winners were formally announced by José Alfonso Suárez del Real y Aguilera, Secretary on Culture of Mexico City, Co-President of the UCLG Committee on Culture and President of the International Jury of the 4th edition of the Award, during the Executive Bureau of UCLG on last 29 May 2020. The communiqué of the Jury is also available online.

The Awarding Ceremony will be held in Mexico City on 13 May 2021, in commemoration of the 700th anniversary of the "lunar foundation of Mexhico" in 1321, an event that recalls the role of women in shaping the community and cultural identity of the future Tenochtitlan as indicated by the traditional Mexica sources.