2019 Philadelphia World Heritage City Celebration

The fourth annual World Heritage City Celebration

Click here to view photos from the event.


Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) hosted it’s fourth annual World Heritage City Celebration on September 5 at the Wanamaker Building’s Crystal Tea Room. With more than 400 guests representing GPA’s over 200 members, the event recognized individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions in enhancing Philadelphia’s status on the global stage.

As guests entered our reception, they were transported to Latin America and the Caribbean, as they listened to Magdaliz and Her Latin Ensemble Crisol’s vast repertoire of folk and traditional music. And they eagerly rose to their feet to take in performances by two international dance groups: Kalpulli Kamaxtle Xiuhcóatl, a traditional Azteca Mexican dance group, and Modero and Company, a traditional Indonesian dance group.

GPA Executive Director Zabeth Teelucksingh kicked off the night with a warm welcome in multiple languages. Following this, Robert J. McNeil, GPA Board Chair and Greater Philadelphia Managing Partner at Deloitte, discussed Philadelphia’s vision as a world heritage city, “We need to continue using this independent recognition to capitalize our asset, educate our citizen about their own heritage and globally drive economic grows.”

The event’s co-chairs, President and CEO of Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Jenifer Rodriguez and President and CEO of Visit Philadelphia Jeff Guaracino, then took to the stage to call for unity within Philadelphia’s diverse identity, “Celebrating history, celebrating our heritage in Philadelphia is not only for academic and historian only. It should be done by everyday Philadelphians.”

Our co-hosts also had the distinct honor of recognizing Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney who has been recently elected as the first U.S. mayor to sit on the Board of the Organization of World Heritage Cities. This opportunity is an honor for our city to be recognized on a global stage and will help strengthen our relationships around the world. As a member of the OWHC, our city is connected to an extensive international community of over 300 cities, providing valuable insight and access to a collective global intelligence. Watch the following video, produced by Visit Philadelphia, announcing the Mayor's new appointment:


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf was unable to join the event but shared the following special message with our guests as well:



This year, GPA had the pleasure of recognizing Vernon Odom, the former WPVI-TV/6abc jouranlist who earned a Distinguished Journalism Award for his extensive career as a broadcast reporter, as our guest-of-honor at the dinner. With his trademark booming voice, Odom spent his 42-year career travelling across the country and the world to cover the most monumental events of the past few decades, including Martin Luther King’s assassination in Atlanta, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in South Africa, and the fall of the Soviet Union. Our attendees were given an opportunity to travel back to the scene with Odom when he reminisced about his days as a reporter during an on-stage conversation with Jim Gardner, his long-time 6abc colleague.

GPA would like to thank our generous sponsors for their help in making this evening one to remember. Through your support of this event, as well as investing in our World Heritage City Project throughout the year, we are able to enhance the region's global presence. Watch this highlight video of our most recent programs, produced by Temple University, Klein School:



Save the date for the fifth World Heritage City Celebration on September 10, 2020.

Article written by Rico Le on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association

World Heritage Celebration Committee: 

Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO at Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Jeff Guaracino, President & CEO at Visit Philadelphia

Patricia Wilson Aden, African American Museum
Brooke Davis Anderson, PA Academy of Fine Arts
Hilda Bacon, Build the Future Collaborative
Reese and Attiyah Blair, Deloitte LLP
David Boardman, Temple University
Ann and David Brownlee, University of Pennsylvania
Chris Bruner, Ernst & Young LLP
Jeffrey Cooper, University of Pennsylvania
Karin Copeland, Create X Change
Hai-Lung Dai, Temple University
Father Peter Donohue, Villanova University
Barry and Anne Eiswerth, Global Philadelphia Association
Pier Forlano, Italian Consulate
Ken and Tammie Fulmer, Urban Engineers
Alan and Greta Greenberger, Drexel University
Hernán Guaracao, Al Día News Media
Niki Hawkins, 6abc
Stephen Highsmith, Cabrini University
Randall Jefferson, Tone and Tenor
Kenny Johnson, Philadelphia Phillies

Jabari Jones, West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative
Sam and Connie Katz, History Making Productions
Jazmin and David Kron, Wells Fargo Advisors
Margaret Kuo, Margaret Kuo Restaurants
Kelly Lee, City of Philadelphia
David Lipson, Philadelphia Magazine
Chris Matthews, MSNBC
Karen and Robert J. McNeill, Jr., Deloitte LLP
Pat Murdock, American Bible Society
Anne Papageorge, University of Pennsylvania
Bernie Prazenica, 6abc
Edward G. Rendell
Marilyn Russell, WOGL
Dianne Semingson, DLS International
John and Susan Smith, Global Philadelphia Association
Ali Velshi, MSNBC
Jeremiah White, White Sport Ventures
Carol Wong, Chinatown Learning Center
Harold and Linda Yaffe, The Dental Spa

(As of July 22, 2019)


Media partners:


Celebration Sponsors: 

International Sponsor:


World Heritage Sponsors:


Heritage Sponsors:

Community Sponsors:

Patron Sponsors:


(As of September 5, 2019)