This blog post was written by Giulianna Sutkiewicz, OIA Social Work Intern 

We believe that our diversity is one of our biggest strengths in Philadelphia. As the nation’s first World Heritage City, the City of Philadelphia launched the Philadelphia Honors Diversity Flag Raising Program in 2018 to celebrate the culture and heritage of the many immigrant communities that call our city home with speeches, dance, food, and songs. 

The Philadelphia Honors Diversity Flag Raising Program is administered through a collaboration between the Office of the City Representative (OCR) and the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA). The program has flown 40 flags since its inception in 2018 with consistent return applicants each year, honoring residents with international heritage and making Philadelphia a more welcoming city for immigrants. Flag raisings are intended to occur on a date of cultural significance for the community being honored. 

OIA, OCR, and other key City partners have revised the 2018 eligibility guidelines and updated them to promote the program’s goals. These new guidelines are effective from March 1, 2022, and are available to view in the 2022 application package.  

The main goal of the updated guidelines is to reduce barriers for entry into the program and to ensure equal opportunity for our diverse immigrant communities in Philadelphia. Based on capacity, not all applicants will be offered a flag-raising ceremony. Considering this, the program is committed to providing alternative events and resources that best fit the community’s needs. Below are more details on the updated 2022 Philadelphia Honors Diversity Flag Raising Program guidelines and the application process.  


In order to be approved for a flag-raising ceremony in a given calendar year as part of the Philadelphia Honors Diversity Flag Raising Program, an applicant must be related in its mission or its membership to the country of the flag it seeks to raise; and  

  • An applicant’s mission and programs should clearly promote the well-being or inclusion of Philadelphia’s immigrant communities; and 
  • An applicant must have an organizational address in Philadelphia, PA; and 
  • The foreign country of the flag to be raised must meet at least one of the following criteria: 
    • A nation with an official Consulate or Embassy in the United States, OR  
    • A nation that is recognized by the United States Department of State, OR 
    • A nation that has significant historical, ethnic, or commercial ties to Philadelphia. 

Program Details 

The Philadelphia Honors Diversity Flag Raising Program includes a special one-hour ceremony at the flagpoles at the North Apron of City Hall that includes a formal flag-raising. The ceremony often includes performances showcasing the community’s culture, including music and dance performances and speakers from the community. All performers and speakers are coordinated by the applicant. More details can be found on the application below. 

The City of Philadelphia will only raise flags recognized by the United States Department of State for the Philadelphia Honors Diversity Flag Raising Program.  

The Philadelphia Honors Diversity Flag Raising Program is separate from the City’s Flags on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Program and other parts of the city. Separate flag raisings may occur at the discretion of the Mayor’s Office to advance the administration’s goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion (i.e., LGBT, Juneteenth, Indigenous People’s Day.) 

Alternative Events 

Please note not all applications will be accepted due to capacity and alignment with the program goals. If applicable, the City will offer the applicant an opportunity to meet to explore alternative options to acknowledge the value of its immigrant community to Philadelphia.  

Alternatives to a flag-raising ceremony might include the following: 

  • City officials attending and speaking at a community-led event; 
  • Linkages to City services and programs that address a community need or desire (i.e., Mural Arts, Commerce Department, Office of Children and Families); or 
  • Invitation to participate in a different City initiative or program. 

Learn More and Apply Today 

Interested in learning additional program details or applying for a Philadelphia Honors Diversity Flag Raising ceremony? View the full program application package, including the application timeline.