New York, NY – As cities find themselves on the frontlines of addressing increasingly global challenges, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative today announced the seventh class of 40 mayors and 80 senior municipal leaders from their cities who will participate in the yearlong professional management training program. Established by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School as a first-of-its-kind program to help close the gap in executive development for the public sector, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative equips mayors and senior city leaders with the tools and expertise to expand their problem-solving capacity, strengthen their city halls, and improve outcomes for residents. With today’s announcement, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative has 275 participating mayors and over 470 participating senior city leaders since its launch in 2017.
“This year’s class features a diverse, international group of mayors who are changing their cities and the world, and we’re glad to bring them all together in New York,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City. “Mayors face no shortage of urgent challenges right now – from poverty to climate change to public safety. This program is designed to help build their capacity to lead and empower them to act boldly. We look forward to working closely with this new class throughout the year and to seeing the results they’ll deliver for the millions of residents they serve.”
The flagship program of the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative brings together Harvard faculty, staff, and students, alongside experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network, to work with the mayors and their senior officials over the course of one year. Through a combination of intensive classroom, virtual, and field-based learnings and offerings, the Initiative helps these leaders bolster their teams’ use of data and evidence, drive collaboration and innovation across sectors, and deliver impact for communities. In addition to the core coursework and convenings with peers, each city is also able to access additional offerings, including executive education programs for their economic development, civic engagement, human resources, and procurement leads; opportunities to host a Bloomberg Harvard City Hall Fellow for up to two years; and instructional research and materials that help city leaders improve key organization practices.
“The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative creates opportunities for deep connection and sustained engagement with leaders on the front lines in cities around the world, putting knowledge and research to work for millions of individuals,” said Harvard University President Claudine Gay. “Along with the broader efforts of the Bloomberg Center for Cities, it exemplifies the convening power of the University and underscores our commitment to openness and collaboration now and in the future. I am thrilled to join Bloomberg Philanthropies in welcoming our seventh cohort of mayors and senior leaders to the program.”
To kick off their participation, the 40 mayors, who are from nine countries and six continents, joined Harvard faculty and renowned management leaders in New York City for a four-day immersive classroom experience. Two senior leaders from each of the cities will begin their participation in the program in August.
The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative now includes seven classes of mayors, 275 mayors in total who hail from 35 countries across six continents. Highlights of the Initiative’s new seventh class of mayors include:
The mayors come from six continents including Africa (2), Asia (1), Europe (4), Oceania (1), North America (31), and South America (1)
The mayors hail from nine countries including Brazil (1), Canada (4), South Africa (2), the U.S. (27) and the first-ever mayors from Italy (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (1), Saudi Arabia (1), and Switzerland (1)
Two thirds (27) are from the U.S. and one third (13) are from international cities
40 percent of the mayors (16) are from cities with populations between 200,000 and 1 million people, 45 percent (18) are from cities with less than 200,000, and 15 percent of the mayors (6) are from cities with populations over 1 million people
Members of the seventh class of mayors in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative are:
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis – Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa
Mayor Christopher Pappas – uMngeni Local Municipality, South Africa
Mayor Fahad Albuliheshi – Madinah, Saudi Arabia
Mayor Femke Halsema – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mayor Alec von Graffenried – Bern, Switzerland
Mayor Stefano Lo Russo – Turin, Italy
Mayor Damiano Tommasi – Verona, Italy
Mayor Tory Whanau – Wellington, New Zealand
Mayor Jyoti Gondek – Calgary, Canada
Mayor Andrea Horwath – Hamilton, Canada
Mayor Joshua Morgan – London, Canada
Mayor Mark Sutcliffe – Ottawa, Canada
Mayor Ashleigh Aitken – Anaheim, California
Mayor Jim Ross – Arlington, Texas
Mayor William Reynolds – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Mayor Kevin Hartke – Chandler, Arizona
Mayor Barbara Buffaloe – Columbia, Missouri
Mayor Dean Trantalis – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Mayor Harvey Ward, Jr. – Gainesville, Florida
Mayor Mark Salinas – Hayward, California
Mayor Bruce Teague – Iowa City, Iowa
Mayor Farrah Khan – Irvine, California
Mayor Rex Richardson – Long Beach, California
Mayor Karen Bass – Los Angeles, California
Mayor Craig Greenberg – Louisville, Kentucky
Mayor Jared Nicholson – Lynn, Massachusetts
Mayor Ulises Cabrera – Moreno Valley, California
Mayor Phillip Jones – Newport News, Virginia
Mayor Sheng Thao – Oakland, California
Mayor Curt Skoog – Overland Park, Kansas
Mayor Rita Ali – Peoria, Illinois
Mayor Shannon Martin – Port St. Lucie, Florida
Mayor Brett Smiley – Providence, Rhode Island
Mayor Eduardo Martinez – Richmond, California
Mayor Chris Hoy – Salem, Oregon
Mayor Kimbley Craig – Salinas, California
Mayor John Dailey – Tallahassee, Florida
Mayor Nancy Young – Tracy, California
Mayor John Carli – Vacaville, California
Mayor José Sarto Nogueira Moreira – Fortaleza, Brazil
Notable alumni of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative include Mayor Eric Adams of New York City; Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird of Lincoln, Nebraska; Stephen Benjamin, Senior Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and former President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, African American Mayors Association, and Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina; Mayor Justin Bibb of Cleveland, Ohio; Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia; Mayor Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana; Mayor Tracy Brabin of West Yorkshire, England; Mayor G. T. Bynum of Tulsa, OK; Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans, Louisiana; Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa, Florida; Mayor Kate Gallego of Phoenix, Arizona; Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Arizona; Mayor Todd Gloria of San Diego, CA; Mayor Abdullah Hammoud of Dearborn, Michigan; Mayor Claudia López of Bogotá, Colombia; Mayor Marvin Reeves of Bristol, UK; Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis of Riga, Latvia; Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami, Florida; Mayor Paul TenHaken of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Mayor Michelle Wu of Boston, Massachusetts, to name just a few.
“Through the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, our team was able to address major challenges, such as disinvestment in our neighborhoods, expediting our progress, developing a comprehensive plan, and achieving results within just six months through this invaluable opportunity,” said Mayor Justin Bibb of Cleveland, Ohio. “Collaboration with like-minded individuals helped me make significant progress on my personal growth as a leader, while bringing Cleveland back into the national conversation.”
“There is no doubt I am a much better leader because of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s generosity and support for civic leaders,” said Mayor Tracy Brabin of West Yorkshire, England. “As we evolve my mayoral pledges on transport, the data work gives us great confidence in our ability to deliver for West Yorkshire’s residents.”
“I’ve called the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative ‘Mayor School’ because that’s what it’s been for me,” said Mayor Todd Gloria of San Diego, California. “The curriculum helps you to learn. The instructors challenge you to grow. The other mayors become your friends. I’m better at my job because of it, and my city is the beneficiary.”
“Through our involvement in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, we have been able to address critical labor market gaps by constructing workforce pathways in nursing, IT, and cybersecurity, as well as enhancing our public spaces through the addition of green spaces and art, which has significantly uplifted the quality of life for our community,” said Mayor Abdullah Hammoud of Dearborn, Michigan. “The program has equipped me with the tools to lead more intentionally and effectively, delivering results for our residents.”
In April 2023, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University announced an expansion of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative with the launch of three new executive education programs to reach even more leaders—including those who direct human resources, civic engagement, and economic development efforts—from cities whose mayors participate in the flagship program. Since 2022 and following news of the expansion, these programs have reached 249 senior leaders from 75 cities around the world.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed US$ 1.7 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
About The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative:
The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative–the flagship program of the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University–is a collaboration between Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to equip mayors and senior city officials to tackle complex challenges in their cities and improve the quality of life of their residents. The Initiative has also advanced research and developed new curriculum and teaching tools to help city leaders solve real-world problems. For more information, please visit the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative or visit us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
About The Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University:
Founded in 2021 with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University is a fast-growing global community committed to improving public management, leadership, and governance. The Bloomberg Center for Cities is an unprecedented cross-Harvard collaboration that unites expertise focused on cities across disciplines and schools to produce research, train leaders, and develop resources for global use. The Center is designed to have widespread impact on the future of cities, where more than half of the world’s people now live, by informing and inspiring local government leaders, scholars, students, and others who work to improve the lives of residents around the world. For more information, please visit cities.harvard.edu or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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