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Columbia Business Monthly

Mayor Benjamin Joins 2nd Class Of Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

Jul 26, 2018 03:54PM ● By Kathleen Maris

Photo: The 40 national and international mayors in the Class of 2018.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin was one of 40 national and international mayors chosen for an intensive education program with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

“I endeavor to be a lifelong learner, so I’m grateful for the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative for providing the opportunity to convene with fellow city leaders to exchange ideas, discuss how to best approach pressing issues, and gain insight from the wealth of knowledge in the room,” said Benjamin. “If we desire to continue to create in Columbia a world-class city, we must continue to learn from experts and leaders from across the country and around the world.”

As a participant in the Initiative’s 2018 program, Benjamin was part of a class of dedicated mayors attending a program delivered by faculty from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School as well as world-class experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network.

The yearlong program launched with three days in New York City. Mayors attended classroom sessions each day focused on the latest management and leadership practices, using case studies and workshops developed at Harvard.

In the diverse class of mayors:

· 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.

Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City, collaborated with outgoing Harvard University President Drew Faust to create the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in 2016.

Collectively, Harvard University and Bloomberg Philanthropies aim to help mayors and their leadership teams manage the complexities of running a city and have opportunities to learn from one another. The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative connects Benjamin to some of the university’s top educators, coaching from experts, a network of peers, and technical assistance. The program provides an opportunity to share best practices and learn from fellow mayors about the promising ideas that are already helping to enhance the quality of life in cities around the world.

After the mayors' convening, two senior-level city officials nominated by each mayor will attend a similar convening in August and help Benjamin translate what they learn into organizational changes that improve life in Columbia.

Benjamin’s participation in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and that of the two senior leaders – including tuition, accommodation, meals and airfare – is fully funded by the program. 

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