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Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Announces Seventh Class of Mayors

Yearlong program provides 40 mayors and 80 senior city leaders with executive education and management training to advance their leadership, strengthen their city halls, and deliver results for communities

Mayors hail from 27 U.S. and 13 international cities across nine countries and six continents

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

North America:


  • Mayor Jyoti Gondek – Calgary, Canada
  • Mayor Andrea Horwath – Hamilton, Canada
  • Mayor Joshua Morgan – London, Canada
  • Mayor Mark Sutcliffe – Ottawa, Canada

The U.S.:

  • 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

South America:

  • 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, 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 or follow us on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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