Creativity is relative, or so we thought before we ran into UNESCO's "Creative Cities Network." This fall, 66 new cities joined the likes of global creative cities, an UNESCO initiative created in 2004 to encourage interaction with and among cities that have been creative in their sustainable urban development. The new list saw the addition of six Arab cities hailing from Morocco all the way to Iraq. 

"All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy," said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, in a statement. "This favors political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations."

The "creative cities" network now has a total of 246 cities from different continents around the globe. Under the initiative, the cities work together towards a common purpose of "placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." 

Which Arab cities have been added?

There are various creative fields under which the cities fall. The Arab cities that have been added span various fields including literature and music. Here are the newly added Arab cities with creativity that has finally been acknowledged: 

  1. Beirut (Lebanon) – Literature
  2. Essaouira (Morocco) – Music
  3. Muharraq (Bahrain) – Design
  4. Ramallah (Palestine) – Music
  5. Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) – Crafts and Folk Art
  6. Slemani (Iraq) – Literature

These aren't the first Arab cities to get the UNESCO title and join the network of creativity around the world. 

Other cities include Zahle (Lebanon) for its creativity in the field of gastronomy, Baghdad (Iraq) for its work in the field of literature, and Dubai (UAE) for its craft in the realm of design. 

In addition to those three, these six Arab cities also have a place on the list for their creativity: 

  • Tunis (Tunisia) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Al-Ahsa (Saudi Arabia) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Tetouan (Morocco) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Madaba (Jordan) –  Crafts and Folk Art 
  • Aswan & Cairo (Egypt) – Crafts and Folk Art