Funded by a $32 million gift from Michael R. Bloomberg, Harvard University and Bloomberg Philanthropies have announced the launch of a joint initiative aimed at advancing leadership, management, and innovation in cities across America and around the world.
The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative will equip urban leaders with the tools, skills, and support they need — most of it made freely available — to tackle the complex leadership and management challenges associated with governing cities in the twenty-first century. Through the initiative, as many as three hundred mayors and four hundred top mayoral aides will participate in executive training programs over the next four years. The initiative also will establish student internships in mayors’ offices, create on-demand programming for participating cities, fund new research on innovations in city government, and launch an executive coaching program through which successful mayors will mentor other elected city officials.
"We are grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for a path-breaking gift that will strengthen cities and their leaders through collaborations with university researchers and educators focused on improving urban life," said Harvard University president Drew Faust. "This is a vitally important opportunity to advance the understanding of urban issues and to work with mayors and other public officials to bring discoveries from university research into communities across the nation and around the world."
The initiative will be housed within the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. Jorrit de Jong, lecturer in public policy and management and academic director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center, will serve as faculty director of the initiative.
"With more and more of the world living in cities, mayors are increasingly responsible for solving major challenges we face, from climate change to poverty to public health," said Michael R. Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor of New York City, philanthropist, and Harvard alumnus. "But despite the importance of the role, mayors often lack opportunities to learn from experts — and one another. By giving mayors tools and resources — and by connecting them with peers facing many of the same challenges — this program will go a long way toward helping them run cities more effectively."