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Bloomberg Contributes $32 Million to Launch New Initiative at Harvard for City Leaders

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Michael Bloomberg—three-term New York City mayor, philanthropist and Harvard Business School (HBS) alumnus—has committed $32 million to Harvard to design a comprehensive leadership program for mayors and senior aides to advance leadership, management and innovation in cities across the United States and around the globe, the university announced last week.

On August 25th, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University jointly announced the launch of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, a unique collaboration between the HBS and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Executive Education programs designed to equip city leaders to confront the increasingly complex challenges facing city governments. As many as 300 mayors and 400 top mayoral aides are expected to participate in the new program over the next four years.

“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,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “But despite the importance of the role, mayors often lack opportunities to learn from experts—and one another.”

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative will bring together Harvard’s preeminent scholars and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ network of experts to offer a customized curriculum, technological tools and cases focused on innovative city leadership. It will also create student internships in mayor’s offices, on-demand programming for participating cities, new research on innovations in city government and a mentoring program through which successful mayors will counsel newcomers. Much of the curriculum will be made freely available to the public, and a select number of mayors and senior aides will convene in New York each year to share key learnings.

“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,” Bloomberg said.

The program’s reach is expected to expand far beyond the participants themselves. “Ultimately this program will better enable mayors and their senior leaders to improve the lives of residents,” HBS Dean Nitin Nohria said in a statement. “The impact will be felt far beyond just those that participate as this Initiative will educate and inspire an entire global community focused on cities as key to solving the world’s most pressing challenges.”

The initiative will be housed in the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at HKS, and Jorrit de Jong, lecturer in public policy and management and academic director of the Ash Center’s Innovations in Government Program, will serve as the faculty director.

Learn more about the new Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.