"Here we celebrate today the unavoidable and determining role of Education", said Sofia Athayde about the UNESCO Chair awarded to ISEC Lisboa

After honourably greeting the guests attending this solemn session where the UNESCO Chair - The City That Educates and Transforms was launched, the Councilor of Lisbon City Council, Sofia Athayde, welcomed the participants with a complimentary, honest and even emotional speech, where she strongly highlighted the idea that Education is a point of honour for herself and for the city of Lisbon. “For me, in particular, it is an unmissable opportunity to fulfil this privileged mission of serving Lisbon and serving Lisbon’s residents”.

Below, the full speech by the Councilor of the Lisbon City Council, Sofia Athayde, where she holds responsibilities and exercises Executive Skills in Education, Youth, Citizenship, among others.

“I would begin by congratulating the consortium and the 12 higher education institutions members from Portugal, Brazil and Guinea-Bissau for the award, by UNESCO, of this Chair. Allow me to congratulate each and every one of these institutions and each and every one of the collaborators who devoted their work to this objective. And, to Professor Cristina Maria Ventura, leader of the consortium of the City that Educates and Transforms International Network, on behalf of our city, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for choosing Lisbon for this very important event for all of us. For Lisbon City Hall, it is an honour, a privilege and a great joy to welcome you in this room that is so special, so representative of our home. As a founding member of the International Association of Educating Cities and of the Executive Committee, and as the coordinating city of the Portuguese territorial network, Lisbon welcomes and contributes.

We believe that it will be another strong step towards fulfilling our firm purpose of making Lisbon an increasingly educational and, therefore, truly transformative city. As an educating city, we celebrate here today the unavoidable and determining role of education, which, in its transversality, generates transformation in the behaviour of local governments, reinforcing their purpose of building and strengthening their territories. We know that the principles of these new cities help everyone to feel the city, the surrounding environment and the planet as their own. Therefore, Lisbon persists, ever stronger, in the firm wish to collaborate with all the city's authors and build responses that promote growth opportunities and well-being for the citizens. As for education, I will quote Paulo Freire, a Brazilian pedagogue: “Education does not transform the world, education transforms people and it is people who transform the world”. Education is, undoubtedly, the most determining factor in the future of our city. We believe that Lisbon will be a smarter city the more it advances on the path to truly being an educating city. We believe that this Chair is another step forward on that path. We believe in a Lisbon that may be a space of opportunity for learning, transformation, development and growth for each citizen and that, at the same time, learns, transforms, develops and grows using and integrating the contribution of each and every one of you. Therefore, rest assured that for Lisbon City Council, education is nowadays a subject of honour. For me, in particular, it is an imperative opportunity to fulfil this privileged mission of serving Lisbon and serving Lisbon’s residents. To everyone, once again, congratulations for the work and for this Chair. To each and every one of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”