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Michael Bloomberg, Sagol family launch program to aid Israeli mayors

L-R: Michael R. Bloomberg, Prof. Ariel Porat, Yossi Sagol, and Shirley Sagol / Credit Chen Galili/ Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Sagol Family have launched a new initiative at Tel Aviv University through The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership to strengthen municipal leadership across Israel.

The year-long program intents to assist mayors in providing the city people with better and more fair public services, strengthening social relations, and ties to the global network of innovative city leaders. Using data in decision making, negotiation, crisis management, resident engagement, and generating and implementing innovative ideas.

The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership focuses on developing the leadership and management skills of mayors and their senior aides while strengthening city hall operations.

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“Mayors are on the front lines of every crisis, whether it’s terrorism or a pandemic,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City.

“The Bloomberg Harvard program has proved phenomenally successful, and now we’re glad to team up with our partners in Israel on a new program that builds on our success and will help local leaders across the State of Israel.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University launched the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in 2016, a collaboration between the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School aimed at developing mayors’ and their teams’ leadership capacities. This program engages 40 mayors and 80 senior city leaders each year, to build organizational methods in city halls worldwide, invests in a new generation of city leaders, advances knowledge, and establishes the profession of city leadership as a whole. In the past five years, the program has taught 196 mayors and 318 leaders from 25 nations.

“Israel has always been an inspiration because of its tenacity and the resolve you have demonstrated in the face of violence,” Bloomberg remarked during the launch event at Tel Aviv University. “We in New York are indebted to all the countries who stood by us and assisted us following 9/11, including Israel, and one small way we can repay the debt is by repeating the program that has been tremendously successful in the United States.”

Yossi Sagol began working with Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2018 to develop an Israel-based program similar to the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative that could strengthen the country from the local level up.

The Center for City Leadership is the first initiative inspired by the Bloomberg Harvard program and will be housed at Coller School of Management under the direction of Dean Moshe Zviran, the inaugural Faculty Director of the Israel City Leadership Initiative. 

“Four years ago, I encountered the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and realized that Israel was the perfect fit for such a program, particularly in view of its size, the relatively small number of mayors, and the ability to make a significant impact,” said Yossi Sagol, the Sagol Family representative. “By adopting this program in Israel we can make a real difference in the way local authorities are managed. I am excited to partner with Michael Bloomberg and to adapt this prestigious program in Israel.”

“Mayors are required to make decisions that impact tens or hundreds of thousands of people and manage huge budgets, but most of them lack experience in managing organizations that are as large and complex as a local authority,” said inaugural Faculty Director Moshe Zviran. “The job of mayor requires a vast range of managerial skills at the highest level and in our new program we intend to equip participants with helpful insights and a useful toolbox for making critical decisions and implementing innovation in the urban environment. Here they will also learn about developments in other cities, both in Israel and around the world.”

“Israel’s local authorities have a much greater impact on citizens’ lifestyles and quality of life than the central government,” said Professor Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University. “The quality of sanitation, transportation, welfare, education, and health services mostly depends on the local authority’s performance. This program aims to improve the quality of life of Israelis throughout the country.”



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