This week, Mayor Sly James took part in a three day “bootcamp”, kicking off his participation in the first ever, year-long, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. Mayor James was selected to join the inaugural group of 40 mayors from around the world. “I’m honored to be a part of this world-class initiative. I believe it can make our work in Kansas City more lasting, and the opportunity to learn from leaders around the world only cements in my mind that Kansas City can be a world-class city of the 21st century.”
The City Leadership Initiative blends expertise in leadership, management, governance and innovation from both the Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) with Bloomberg Philanthropies. Through a $32 million initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University are partnering to provide a year-long leadership initiative equipping mayors with cutting-edge tools, techniques, case studies, executive education, on-demand support in policy research, subject matter expertise, and examples of best practices.
The three days of intensive case study reviews, lectures and discussion included subjects like How cities thrive in the face of global challenges; The Power of cross-sector and cross-industry development; as well as a guided tour of the New York City Highline. A previous railway, the Highline brought together the community, private sector, philanthropy, and city government to transform the abandoned line into a modern blend of green space, walkable terrain and has created a tourist attraction and economic engine for the surrounding neighborhood.
“Local government can’t indulge in ideological battles, we have to provide services to our community, every day,” said Mayor James. “That means we need to know how to do more with increasingly shrinking resources. We have to innovate out of necessity. And we have have to work towards solutions to our city’s biggest challenges.”
The year-long initiative began this week with a 3 day bootcamp in New York City. Online classes, support, and informational sharing are provided to selected mayors through the balance of the year’s work. All costs are paid for by the Bloomberg Harvard Leadership Initiative.