Explore Philadelphia

Philly's Cultural Significance According to Zabeth Teelucksingh

The executive director of the Global Philadelphia Association discusses what makes Philly so internationally and culturally unique.

Zabeth Teelucksingh has made it her goal to advocate for Philadelphia's recognition as a World Heritage City since assuming her post in 2011, by using her breadth of experience as a cultural advocate and strategic marketing guru. By helping to host GlobalPhilly 2015, she's hoping that her aspirations may finally be realized. globalphiladelphia.org

(©Global Philadelphia Association)

Tell us a little bit about the mission of the Global Philadelphia Association.

We are a 5 year old non-profit designed to put Philadelphia on the map as a World Heritage City, through the work of over 200 members. Our members’ collective collaboration provides a platform for putting “global” in the Philadelphia brand.

Why is this important to you?

Having lived on three continents by the age of 10, and being a new immigrant to this country, I am uniquely placed to understand the value of why an enhanced global consciousness is important to Philadelphia and indeed beyond. Philadelphia has a unique opportunity to be recognized as a welcoming city to people from across the world, with the pride of being able to offer opportunities to all.

Why do think Philadelphia might deserve to be a World Heritage City?

The city is historically significant—a colonial city founded on new principles, rich in firsts of many kinds, an exemplar of resilience and sustainability and of course a birthplace of modern democracy. The network of 250-plus existing World Heritage cities is a valuable resource for our citizenry and our institutions.

How does the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia differ from that of other cities where you’ve lived?

You find a wonderful trifecta in Philadelphia—on the one hand art that is super accessible here both in proximity and price. A cultural scene that is sometimes more gritty and with that comes deeper invention and food for thought. All of this melded with a tradition of high standards and world-class artistry.

Let's say you’ve just bought a private jet—where would you visit first?

Carthage in Tunisia, St. Lucia, or Easter Island. Carthage is where life started for me; St. Lucia is pure relaxation and paradise; Easter Island is that dream place you looked at with wonder in an encyclopedia as a small child. (All three are World Heritage Sites.)

Wissahickon Valley Park in fall (©R. Kennedy/Visit Philadelphia)

What are some of your favorite things to do in Philly?

A walk in the Wissahickon Valley with lunch at the Valley Green Inn, or shopping and a stroll down Chestnut and Walnut Streets with lunch at Le Chéri.


My Perfect Day

1. Walk through History

Fairmount Park Historic Houses (©R. Kennedy/Visit Philadelphia)
A tour of the historic homes of the Charms of Fairmount Park is something every visitor and Philadelphian should experience. parkcharms.com

2. A Dose of Literature

Visit the Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site, where the famed novelist spent six years writing some of his most renowned works. 532 N. 7th St., 215.597.8780, nps.gov/edal

3. Lively Lunch

The Reading Terminal Market is a great place for lunch, with dozens of merchants representing a variety of cultures and cuisines. 51 N. 12th St., 215.922.2317, readingterminalmarket.org

4. Riverside Stroll

Take the Patriot Harbor Line down the Schuylkill to Bartram’s Garden, and wander through the 45-acre natural landscape. bartramsgarden.org

Entrecôte from Tinto (©The Garces Group)

5. Delectable Dining

Rich and delightful Spanish tapas of the Basque region and an exceptional wine list shine at Tinto, a standout in the Chef José Garces empire. 114 S. 20th St., 215.665.9150, tintorestaurant.com

6. Sweet Treats

The old-world sweet shop, The Franklin Fountain, is a veritable Wonka's workshop of everything from ice cream and sundaes, to assorted candies and confections. 116 Market St., 215.627.1899, franklinfountain.com