Stronger, fairer, greener cities
for prosperous urban societies

In this century, towns and cities, rather than nation states, shape the world's social, environmental, cultural, technological and economic agendas. This process will lead to increased competition for human, intellectual and material resources but will also force cities to co-operate with and learn from one another. Established in 2003, the City Mayors Foundation works with large and small communities from across the world in their strive to strengthen social equality, build a sustainable future and obtain the resources to withstand natural and man-made disasters. The City Mayors Foundation campaigns against any kind of corruption in local government. It recognises the role women play in city halls and seeks to increase the number of women mayors. IN GREATER DETAIL

Freedom MayorsFreedom Mayors
Without Fear or Favour
- Mayors must act at all times in the interest of their citizens. They must do so without Fear or Favour.
- Mayors must not be intimidated, directly or by implication, in the conduct of their duties.
- Mayors must not be offered incentives that contravene their oath of office.

The Freedom Mayors Project will be launched to support the independence, integrity and public accountability of mayors worldwide. We will celebrate mayors who stand up to intimidation whether the threats originate from authoritarian regimes, criminal organisations, powerful corporations or political interest groups. We will side with mayors who have become victims of coercion and violence. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Corrupt American mayors
Corrupt US mayors pose a
threat to decency in society
The preamble to the City Mayors’ Code of Ethics states that honest local government is the foundation of any nation that strives to provide its citizens with happiness, security and prosperity. It continues to say that corruption and misconduct by local government officials threaten fundamental decency in a society. America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which warns that public corruption poses a fundamental threat to national security and the US way of life, has over the past four decades brought to justice thousands of elected officials, who used their positions to enrich themselves. The FBI archive currently allows access to more than 3,800 cases of corruption by members of local, state and federal government as well as by officers in the police and fire services.  Among convicted city leaders are mayors of some of the largest US cities, including Dallas, San Diego, Charlotte, Nashville, Detroit, New Orleans and Baltimore, but also many mayors from small-town America. IN GREATER DETAIL

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The World Mayor Prize for
Friendship between Cities

In 2023, the City Mayors Foundation will award the World Mayor Friendship Prize to a mayor and city that have made outstanding contributions to friendship and cooperation between towns and cities at home and across borders.

Cities acting on their own can be beacons of excellence. But when cities work together, learn from each other, share resources, exchange ideas and, above all, encourage their citizens to meet and form friendships, they can truly become a force for good. In all parts of the world, many towns and cities, irrespective of their size, have developed unique solutions to meet social, economic and environmental challenges. Often, these solutions are worth sharing.

At a time of strife, conflict and war between nations, cities, when joining forces, can become peacemakers. The 2023 World Mayor Project will feature mayors who promote peace and prosperity through friendship between cities. IN GREATER DETAIL


South American female mayorsSouth America has
few women mayors

Women are grossly underrepresented at the top of local government in the majority of South American cities. The latest research by City Mayors reveals that, across the continent, only just over eleven per cent of large cities have female mayors. Earlier research covering Latin America, including Mexico, Central America and the Caribbeans, identifies some 15 per cent of towns and cities with women mayors. In 2022, City Mayors Research visited 80 cities with populations of more than 500,000 and found that only nine (11.25%) had female mayors. IN GREATER DETAIL

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German mayorsGerman Mayors
Germany is a country made up of thousands of towns and cities, all with directly elected mayors. A city (Großstadt) is officially defined as an administration unit with a population greater than 100,000. As of 2020 there are 80 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in Germany. Only four cities, Berlin, Hamburg, München (Munich) and Köln (Cologne), are Millionenstädte - cities with a population of more than one million. Each municipal council is headed by an elected mayor, known as Bürgermeister - or Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) in most larger cities. The salaries of German mayors are linked to those of senior civil servants (Beamte) and vary from state to state. Mayors of large cities are paid more than those of smaller communities. IN GREATER DETAIL

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American cities of violencePolicing alone cannot rid
American cities of violence

“We are a society that is awash in guns,” notes Ralph Richard Banks, a professor at Stanford Law School and leading researcher of crime in the US. Americans comprise just over 4 per cent of the total world population but account for 50 per cent of the world’s civilian-owned firearms. And Americans’ gun ownership is increasing: the two highest years of gun sales in US history were 2020 and 2021. “I find it difficult to imagine creating the sort of safe communities we want so long as such weapons are so plentiful,” says Banks. Between 2019 and 2020, murders rose 34 per cent in cities with a population of 250,000 or more, 20 per cent in suburban areas, and 19.7 per cent in rural areas. More than three-quarters of murders were committed with firearms. The number of gun assaults also rose nationwide. IN GREATER DETAIL

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US Supreme Court versus American cities
Local government weakened
by US Supreme Court rulings

The United States Supreme Court concluded its 2021-2022 term in July with three controversial rulings. The Court ended a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion; it limited the ability of the federal government to regulate certain pollutants; and it limited the ability of local governments to place restrictions on citizens’ carrying concealed firearms in public. The Supreme Court decision will affect how local governments can protect their environment in ways that often are not considered. For example, local responsibility for garbage pickups, street cleaning, and parks has heightened local governments’ awareness of the costs of pesticide use and nonbiodegradable products like plastic bags. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Italian mayorsItalian mayors
and their salaries

Mayors play a central role in Italian national life and are a settled feature of the political system. The more than 7,900 communes are each headed by a mayor (sindaco) and elected council (consiglio comunale) of between 15 and 80 members. Italy’s mayors receive salaries which correspond to the size of their communities. Mayors of towns and villages with less than 1,000 inhabitants receive €1,290 (US$1,313) per month, while mayors of cities with a population of above 500,000 are paid €7,800 (US$7,940). The mayors of Rome and Milan earn above €9,000 (US$9,650) a month. In June 2022, local elections took place in some 980 municipalities, 26 of which were provincial, regional capitals and/or metropolitan centres. The centre-right and right-wing parties suffered losses, while the centre-left made gains. IN GREATER DETAIL

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American mayors abotion rightsAmerican mayors defend
women’s right to abortion

American mayors reacted with dismay to the US Supreme Court’s decision to curtail women’s rights to safe and legal abortions. The US Conference of Mayors (USCM), which represents the majority of mayors of larger cities, said that in the morning of 25 June 2022, American women woke up with one less constitutional right. The consequences of this decision will be felt in cities nationwide, where women will suffer from the loss of access to critical healthcare services, where they face state abortion bans that do not include exemptions for rape or incest. Madison (Wisconsin) Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said: “The US Supreme Court has taken away away the right to abortion for millions. In doing so, they are now allowing state governments to force people, including minors and victims of rape and incest, to give birth.” IN GREATER DETAIL

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Germany's green citiesGermany's greenest cities
Green spaces dominate
Germany’s largest cities

Almost 70 per cent of the land areas of Germany’s largest cities are devoted to parks, woodlands, fields and private gardens. With green spaces making up 86 per cent of its urban area, Siegen, in North-Rhine Westphalia, is the ‘greenest’ German city. Ludwigshafen, home to BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, is the least green of Germany’s 79 Großstädte, cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. There are 17 cities where green spaces make up 80 per cent or more of their land areas. The list of 17 includes university cities like Aachen, Freiburg, Saarbrücken and Münster. The German capital Berlin is placed 63rd in the overall table, while Hamburg, Munich and Cologne are ranked 39th, 74th and 65th respectively. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Mass killings in American citiesMassacres in schools, homes
and churches will not change
America’s deadly gun culture

Deadly shootings in schools, homes, churches or shopping malls do not deter Americans from buying and owning guns. American gun owners possess some 400 million weapons, accounting for nearly half the privately owned guns in the entire world. according to a 2018 report by the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based organisation. The US ratio of 120.5 firearms per 100 residents, up from 88 per 100 in 2011, is higher than in any other country in the world. Indeed, since the mass shootings in Buffalo (New York) and Uvalde (Texas) in May 2022 sales of semi-automatic AR-15 guns have surged. IN GREATER DETAIL

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American gun laws
While Congress dithers, US
mayors push for gun control

Guns and gun violence are seemingly normal in American culture. More than 40,000 Americans die each year from gun violence. The average number of gun deaths has risen over the past 20 years, as federal regulations on gun ownership have eased and American buy and use more guns. The pandemic, recent police shootings of unarmed African-Americans, and a flurry of mass shootings have highlighted the racial, social, and economic inequalities in America. There’s a sense that American don’t want to go back to normal about a lot of things, including gun violence. Mayors in the United States are using their rhetoric and concrete proposals to try to reframe the debate about gun violence while dealing with immediate policing issues related to the use of firearms and implementing long-term efforts to reduce crime. IN GREATER DETAIL

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British mayorsEnglish city and
regional mayors

Local government in England
In London and several metropolitan areas, England’s cities are led by elected Mayors, while in all but 16 of the 309 local councils in England are run by a Council Leader elected by their fellow councillors. Since 2002 a number have been led by mayors elected directly by local voters. Most of the local authority elected mayors in England have responsibility for all local services, with two district council mayors responsible for only environment, planning and housing. In London and the metro area Combined Authorities, the Mayor is responsible for transport, economic development, skills and spatial planning, as well as other fields as devolved. All England’s elected mayors were elected for four-year terms by the instant run-off Supplementary Vote, though national legislation to scrap the semi-proportional system was passed in 2022. There are no elected mayors in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. IN GREATER DETAIL

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2022 French presidential elections - How cities votedFrench 2022 presidential elections: How cities voted

France’s large cities
defeated the far-right

The 2022 presidential elections have shown just how divided a nation France is. There is a vast rural country, sparsely populated, where people live and toil in unremarkable villages and small towns and there is metropolitan France, successful and cosmopolitan, but also faced with inner-city strife. In the 2022 elections, small-town France supported Marine Le Pen the far-right challenger for the presidency while large cities voted overwhelmingly for the sitting president, Emmanuel Macron. In fact, the Macron won in all cities with more than 100,000 people. The largest city that voted for Le Pen was Béziers, population 75,000, in the south of France. Calais, population 73,000, which Le Pen represents in the French parliament also gave her its support as did Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica, population 59,000. IN GREATER DETAIL

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German and Russian citiesPartnerships between German
and Russian cities in time of war

City partnerships must
stand for human rights

There is a consensus among German cities that partnership and twinned cities should always stand up together for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. With Russia’s attack on Ukraine, German local authorities now question whether their hitherto cordial and productive relationships with their Russian counterparts can and should be maintained. A number of German mayors have written to their Russian contacts asking them to denounce the aggression by the Russian military. Frank Metrup, the Mayor of Karlsruhe has asked his counterpart, the Mayor of Krasnador, for an unambiguous statement of condemnation. But research carried out by City Mayors among the most prominent German cities with Russian city-to-city partnerships also found a number of administrations showing reluctance to break off long-established relationships with their Russian partners. IN GREATER DETAIL

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City of London CorporationThe City of London: History,
feudalism and global finance

The landmarks of the area covered by the historic City of London Corporation are known to many – St Paul’s Cathedral, the Old Bailey, the ‘Gherkin’, the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ and the ‘Cheesegrater’, to name a few – but less is known about the ancient ‘Corporation’ itself. The City of London can also sometimes be confused with Greater London (the region covered by the Greater London Authority), but the two areas are entirely distinct and separate. Often simply referred to as ‘The City’, it has long been shorthand for the UK’s financial services sector.

The area of the City of London was first settled by the Romans and is governed by the City of London Corporation, which acts as the local authority for its jurisdiction. Gradually, the City of London established itself as the ‘capital’ of England, though Parliament and the Civil Service (Whitehall) are all based in the neighbouring City of Westminster. The Corporation and its practices have their origins as far back as 1111, it regards itself as “the oldest local authority in England”. IN GREATER DETAIL

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New York City borough presidentsNew York’s Borough Presidents:
Influential beyond their powers

Bloomberg, Giuliani, Dinkins, Koch, the roll call of New York City leaders is notable by any city’s standards, as flyers to its LaGuardia airport can attest. Though weighty civic offices in their own right, the presidents of the five boroughs on the other hand enjoy less national or global prominence but possess considerable boss-like patronage and influence over local communities across the city.  NYC’s new Mayor Eric Adams served as Brooklyn’s Borough President for two terms from 2013, prior to his election as successor to the term-limited Bill De Blasio last November. IN GREATER DETAIL

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London borough leadersNot the Mayor but the Boroughs
provide London’s vital services

While most Londoners can name their Mayor, fewer would recognise their local council leader in the street.  Despite a half-century of existence, the municipal tier of government in the UK’s capital city London rarely makes the headlines, though since 2000 its mayors have enjoyed global prominence, particularly current Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his two terms.  Taken together, the London Boroughs and the historic City of London Corporation form the 33 municipalities of Greater London, though their roles and workings are often less well understood than the Mayor and City Hall of the regional Greater London Authority. IN GREATER DETAIL

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American mayors and their salariesAmerican mayors
and their salaries

There are some 19,500 municipal governments in the United States. More than eighty per cent of American citizens now live in large cities, suburbs of cities, or towns. People’s needs – from police to sanitation, education to fire protection, housing and public transportation – are seen to, most directly, by city governments. Following the November 2021 elections, some 70 per cent of the 84 largest US cities are governed by Democrat mayors. Republican mayors rule in 20 per cent of US cities. More than two thirds of large US cities are still governed by male mayors. Salaries paid by large US cities to their mayors vary greatly. The Mayor of San Francisco (population 837,000) receives more than $350,000 per annum, while Oklahoma City (population 611,000) pays its mayor only $24,000 a year. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Women mayors in EuropeEurope lacks women mayors
There are very few female mayors in cities across Europe. Just under 17 per cent of the continent’s largest cities have women - elected or appointed - as their leaders. In Northern Europe almost one third of mayors are female, while in Southern Europe the percentage of women as leaders of local government is below nine per cent. Norway is the only country in Europe where most of the mayors of larger towns and cities are women. In Italy and Greece, no women have been elected as heads of large cities. In addition to Norway, individual countries with an above average number of female mayors include Finland, France and Switzerland. IN GREATER DETAIL

Europe's most powerful female mayors
While the total number of women mayors across Europe is deplorably low, some of the continent’s politically, economically and culturally most important cities have female leaders. Paris and Berlin are now governed by women. Women are also in charge in a number of smaller capital cities as well as in municipalities of national and international importance including Barcelona, Zurich, Copenhagen, Oslo, Lodz, Amsterdam, Strasbourg, Cologne and Sofia. Europe’s longest-serving female mayors include Martine Aubry, Lille, since 2001; Aino-Maija Luukkonen, Pori, since 2004; Corine Mauch, Zurich, since 2009 and Hanna Zdanowska, Lodz, since 2010.

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Japanese local governmentLocal government in Japan
In a country more recently associated with a spate of natural disasters and decades of economic slump ahead of hosting of the deferred Olympic Games in 2021, the Japanese system of local government has bedded down well with the guarantee of local autonomy enshrined in its post-war constitution. As with other historic aspects of Japanese society, there remains an appreciable level of civic pride among many people and interest in community affairs remains strong.Japan’s system of local government, in place for over 70 years, is relatively straightforward to understand, though it does not hit the headlines outside of Japan very often and is therefore not understood by many in the local government community internationally. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Japanese mayors
Mayors of Japanese cities
Japan, the world’s third-largest economy by GDP and 10th largest country by population, is a unitary state, governed at national level by a Prime Minister and Cabinet largely chosen from the bi-cameral National Diet. The two-tier local government system in Japan is composed of 47 prefectural governments (roughly akin to a county), each headed by a directly-elected Governor (elected on a four-year term) and 1,719 municipalities, each headed by a directly-elected Mayor (elected likewise). IN GREATER DETAIL

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Japanese mayors receive
upper management salaries

Mayors in Japan are typically among the highest earners in their municipal government with a salary that is comparable to that of upper-middle management in a large firm. The salary amount is collectively decided by each city assembly, which also has the power to raise or lower the amount. Topping the table of highest-earning mayors once again is the city of Yokohama, whose mayor Takeharu Yamanaka receives an annual salary of almost ¥19.2 million (US$167,000), while at the other end of the scale Takashi Kawamura of Nagoya receives just under a third of this figure with an annual pay packet of ¥6 million, despite leading one of Japan’s largest city administrations. IN GREATER DETAIL

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UK local governmentLocal government in the UK
History and many post-war reforms
shape local government in the UK

There is no single pattern of local government in the United Kingdom. Instead arrangements vary in the four ‘home nations’ of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, Wales and urban England, with the exception of London, single-tier unitary authorities provide all local services, whereas non-metropolitan England is served by a two-tier system split between district and county councils. Local government in the United Kingdom is a settled feature of the constitutional architecture and has long acted as an agency of the state in order to fulfil many of the functions required by central government to ameliorate social problems throughout the years. The need for a comprehensive system of local authorities arose alongside the expansion in the population of urban centres around the time of the Industrial Revolution. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Salaries of British mayorsSalaries & allowances
of British mayors

In the UK local politics has long been seen as a community service rather than a career and this is reflected in the pay for elected mayors. By contrast, senior officials employed in city administrations are often paid more than double the elected mayor’s annual allowance. For instance, the Metro Mayor of the Tees Valley receives £65,000 per year, yet the authority’s chief executive takes home a more impressive £170,000, a gap of over £100,000. While mayoral and councillors’ remuneration is recommended by independent external advisers, councils are free to set their own political pay rates, though many reduce or freeze against the recommended level, mindful of local voters’ reactions. IN GREATER DETAIL

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American women mayorsWomen mayors in America
Boston elects female mayor

Some of America’s largest cities, including Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC and Boston, are governed by women mayors. Most are members of the Democratic Party. Of the 30 largest cities with women as their leaders, only four have Republican mayors. Some 21 cities are led by Democrats, while five mayors are independents. Carolyn Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas, who assumed office in 2011, is the longest-serving mayor among the top 30. Five mayors joined the list in 2021. In Boston, Michelle Wu replaced the city’s first female mayor, Kim Janey, on 16 November 2021. Mayor-elect Janey won the run-off election against another female candidate, Essaibi George. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Local government in Ireland
Irish with a British accent
Local government in the Republic of Ireland predates its national political structures, with the constitutional arrangements laid down under British rule in the late nineteenth century largely remaining in place. Ireland’s local government arrangements consisted until recently of 29 county and county borough councils with a set of smaller town and in some cases borough councils at the sub-tier. A big bang reorganisation in 2014 saw this number streamlined and flattened into 31 all-purpose local authorities through a series of mergers, in response to Ireland’s recent economic and political crisis. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Local government
Local government:
Powers and Politics

A plethora of city leadership models exist across Europe, depending on history and political culture, though the challenges facing urban areas are mostly identical. While in France, Spain, Greece and Portugal the mayor is head of the party list on the council, in Luxembourg and the Netherlands mayors are appointed by the central government for a six-year term. In Germany, mayors are directly elected, as are all metro mayors in England. In many European countries mayors enjoy considerable powers and their responsibilities cover a wide array of day-to-day activities as well as longterm projects such as health, education, policing, environment and culture. IN GREATER DETAIL

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A quarter of capital cities
are led by women mayors

While it is estimated that internationally less than 15 per cent of mayors are women – some research studies put the figure even lower – a quarter of the world’s capital cities are led by women. In Europe, capitals like Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Oslo and Stockholm have female mayors, while in Africa, Dakar, Freetown, Tunis, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Rabat are led by women. In Latin America, some of the largest capital cities, such as Mexico City, Caracas, Bogota and Montevideo have women mayors. Asian capitals with women leaders include Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

In 2021, women assumed the post of mayors in Accra, Addis Ababa, Berlin, Dublin, Luanda, Nairobi, Rabat, Santiago de Chile, Sarajevo, and Skopje. (Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome from 2016 to 2021, failed to be re-elected in October.) The list of longest-serving female leaders includes the mayors of Sydney (since 2004), Zurich (since 2009), Sofia (since 2011) and Paris (since 2014). IN GREATER DETAIL

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After a turbulent process, the 2020
US Census still faces challenges

The 2020 US Census was marked by challenges related to Covid-19, especially the suspension for months of traditional door-to-door canvassing. The 2020 Census was also marked by the Trump Administration’s efforts to politicize the Census process and the data generated. The United States federal government conducts a census of the nation’s population at the beginning of every decade. The results of a census help determine the amount of federal funds disbursed to state and local governments over ten years, and thus are critical to cities. The US Conference of Mayors, representing more than 1,400 cities, created a task force specifically to monitor the 2020 census process. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Georgia, and Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio, Texas, are currently the task force’s chair and co-chair, respectively. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Polish mayorsPolish local government
and mayors of largest cities

Since 1999, Poland has been divided into provinces, counties and districts. The 19 provinces (voivodeships) represent the highest-level of local government. They are mostly named after historical or geographical regions. Provincial powers are shared between a governor, a regional parliament and a marshal. While the mayors (presidents) of Poland’s largest and third-largest cities are women, overall, only 11 of the country’s 107 municipalities have female leaders. Two of them are in their fourth term of office. Gdansk Mayor Aleksndra Dulkiewicz was elected in March 2019, after the murder of her predecessor Pawel Adamowics. IN GREATER DETAIL

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World Mayor 2021The winners of the 2021
World Mayor Prize and Awards

The 2021 World Mayor Project was launched at the start of the Covid crisis and conducted during the various waves of the pandemic. Villages, towns and cities in all parts of the world fell victim to Covid. The pandemic has made it clear that cities need to become better prepared for future man-made or natural disasters. In recognition, the 2021 World Mayor Project was dedicated to Stronger | Fairer | Greener cities. At a time, when human and civil rights in many parts of the world are questioned and, worse, violated, World Mayor 2021 has commended mayors who uphold these values. The list of mayors honoured by World Mayor in 2021, includes city leaders from large metropolises, medium-sized cities and small communities. Their conduct, goals and achievements have been endorsed by their fellow citizens. IN GREATER DETAIL

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US mayors caught up
in nation’s culture war

US mayors are once again being forced to take sides in America’s culture wars. A new front opened with the police killing of George Floyd and the intense backlash on city streets. Many American cities were already advancing equity initiatives when Floyd was killed, but his murder prompted renewed efforts by mayors to achieve racial justice by rethinking policing, and, provocatively for some, applying critical race theory to teaching, training, and discussions on equity. Critical race theory looks at power relationships in the United States through the lens of race. It explores how racism and inequity can become a part of everyday American life by examining the historical record and current laws and social practices. The goal is to promote a more equitable society through dialogue, understanding, and the implementation of more equitable and inclusive processes. While critical race theory has been taught for 40 years in the United States, it has recently come under political attack, with US mayors often drawn into the controversy. IN GREATER DETAIL

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The City Mayors Foundation
London SW1
Tel: +44 20 8439 7978
Local government
Women mayors in Europe
Europe's most powerful female mayors
City Equity Offices in America
African American Mayors
American mayors and their salaries
Salaries of Japanese mayors
European mayors: Power and Politics
Capital cities and their mayors
Code of Ethics for mayors