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Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Announces Second Class of Mayors Go Back to School

The yearlong program provides 40 mayors with world-class executive training for leadership development and innovation skills building to help deliver results for residents

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative today announced the second class of forty mayors from around the world who will participate in the yearlong education and professional development program designed exclusively for mayors. The forty mayors joined Harvard faculty and renowned management experts in New York City this week for a 3-day, immersive classroom experience and convening to kick-off the program.

The diverse class of mayors includes:

  • More than one-quarter of the class are women (11) and half of those are their city’s first female mayor
  • Of the U.S. mayors, 33 percent (10) are African-American, with three serving as their city’s first African-American mayor
  • Six mayors are millennials, and close to half (18) are in their first year in office
  • The mayors represent cities with populations ranging from 100,000 to 12 million

The Initiative is a collaboration between Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School that aims to provide a world-class learning experience for mayors and their senior leaders that will equip them with the tools and expertise to effectively govern complex cities. Harvard faculty, staff and students, alongside experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network, work with mayors and senior officials over the course of one year in the classroom, online, and in the field to foster professional growth and advance the necessary capabilities to drive innovation and deliver results for residents.

“As Washington has grown more dysfunctional and dishonest, American cities have grown more dynamic and effective, and more critical to our nation’s success,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City. “Around the world, cities are growing in size and importance, and mayors are leading the charge in addressing the most pressing issues we face, from creating jobs to fighting climate change. This program is aimed at helping them succeed. Last year’s inaugural program yielded some great results, and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of this year’s group.”

The second class of mayors to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative are:

Kathy Sheehan (Albany, NY), Tim Keller (Albuquerque, NM), Jeff Williams (Arlington, TX), Keisha Lance Bottoms (Atlanta, GA), Randall Woodfin (Birmingham, AL), Naheed Nenshi (Calgary, Canada), Vi Lyles (Charlotte, NC), Marian Orr (Cheyenne, WY), Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC), Andrew Ginther (Columbus, OH), Steve Schewel (Durham, NC), Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr (Freetown, Sierra Leone), Mike Savage (Halifax, Canada), Luke Bronin (Hartford, CT), Jan Vapaavuori (Helsinki, Finland), Chokwe Antar Lumumba (Jackson, MS), Andy Schor (Lansing, MI), Joyce Craig (Manchester, NH), Francis Xavier Suarez (Miami, FL), Toni Harp (New Haven, CT), Andre Sayegh (Paterson, NJ), Mauricio Rodas (Quito, Ecuador), Dagur Eggertsson (Reykjavik, Iceland), Levar Stoney (Richmond, VA), Ron Nirenberg (San Antonio, TX), Alan Webber (Santa Fe, NM), Samuel Liccardo (San Jose, CA), Bruno Covas (São Paulo, Brazil), Charlie Clark (Saskatoon, Canada), Jenny Anne Durkan (Seattle, WA), Paul TenHaken (Sioux Falls, SD), Lyda Krewson (St. Louis, MO), Melvin Carter III (St. Paul, MN), Michael Tubbs (Stockton, CA), Ben Walsh (Syracuse, NY), Victoria Woodards (Tacoma, WA), Michelle De La Isla (Topeka, KS), Emil Dardak (Trenggalek, Indonesia), G.T. Bynum (Tulsa, OK), and Andy Street (West Midlands, United Kingdom).

The private sector invests more than $42 billion each year in executive development but there is no equivalent in the public sector. The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative aims to close this gap to help mayors excel. The program is part of the American Cities Initiative, an effort designed to support U.S. cities as they generate innovation and advance policy to move the nation forward.

“This is a unique program in the sense that it provides an opportunity for mayors to learn from each other as well as from our faculty and state-of-the-art research. In turn, Harvard is honored and excited to learn from the way city leaders are approaching complex challenges,” said Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. “The program has already led to practical impact in cities in its first year while it has also launched new interdisciplinary research on leadership and innovation in city government.”

The initiative aims to enroll up to 240 cities from around the world over four years.

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is a collaboration among Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School. Its mission is to inspire and strengthen city leaders as well as equip them with the tools to lead high-performing, innovative cities. For more information, visit

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 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: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter.