The 2020 World Mayor Project is dedicated to mayors who have made the fight against poverty one of their top priorities.

The 2018 World Mayor Project
Dedicated to women mayors

By Tann vom Hove, Senior Fellow

12 February 2019: The international World Mayor Project has been honouring exceptional mayors since 2004. The aim of the Project, founded and run by the London-based City Mayors Foundation, is not just to raise the profile of mayors, who have made significant contributions to cities nationally and internationally, but to involve as many people as possible from all parts of the world. Interest in local affairs has fallen right across the world. In many countries only a minority of the electorate participate in local elections – some mayors of important US cities are elected on a turnout of less than 20 per cent.

ON THIS PAGE: The World Mayor Project
||| The first round ||| The second round ||| Past winners and runners-up ||| The World Mayor sculpture ||| The City Mayors Foundation

About World Mayor
City Mayors Foundation


• Results 2018
• Project 2018
• Shortlist 2018
• Longlist 2018
• Raison d'être
• World Mayor history
• World Mayor Prize
• Code of Ethics

• Criteria
• Meet the Press

• Mayor of Ancona
• Mayor of Doncaster
• Mayor of Rennes
• Mayor of Zamboanga

• Mayor of Ancona
• Mayor of Cologne
• Mayor of Doncaster
• Mayor of Fort Worth
• Mayor of Lille
• Mayor of Paris
• Mayor of Rennes
• Mayor of Saarbrücken
• Mayor of Trbovlje
• Mayor of Tunis
• Mayor of Zamboanga

• Mayor of Alphen / Rijn
• Mayor of Ancona
• Mayor of Baden-Baden
• Mayor of Calais
• Mayor of Chemnitz
• Mayor of Cologne
• Mayor of Cozumel
• Mayor of Doncaster
• Mayor of Fort Worth
• Mayor of Grand Rapids
• Mayor of Lille
• Mayor of Lodz
• Mayor of Molenbeek
• Mayor of Narayanganj
• Mayor of Oakland
• Mayor of Omaha
• Mayor of Paris
• Mayor of Rennes
• Mayor of Reutlingen
• Mayor of Saarbrücken
• Mayor of San Juan
• Mayor of Trbovlje
• Mayor of Tunis
• Mayor of Zamboanga
• Mayor of Zurich

• Mayor of Ancona
• Mayor of Cologne
• Mayor of Doncaster
• Mayor of Fort Worth
• Mayor of Lille
• Mayor of Paris
• Mayor of Rennes
• Mayor of Saarbrücken
• Mayor of Trbovlje
• Mayor of Tunis
• Mayor of Zamboanga









Objective & Methodology
To make local affairs more engaging, World Mayor was conceived as a competitive project that invites members of the public to nominate outstanding city leaders for the World Mayor Prize. Participants are asked to describe the qualities and accomplishments of their chosen mayors and are also encouraged to compare the challenges faced by their own cities with those in other parts of the world. The nominated mayors and those ultimately shortlisted for the Prize are therefore chosen by a committed international audience rather than by a jury panel of ‘experts’.

The World Mayor Project
When the rules for the World Mayor Project were established, the City Mayors Foundation emphasised that the strength of argument expressed in testimonials, tributes and comments will carry more weight than their actual numbers. By stressing the significance of well-argued comments, the organisers aim to ensure that project participants think carefully about the merits of their chosen mayors. A cross-selection of the most interesting testimonials are published on the World Mayor website. The rules also enable mayors from smaller towns to compete on equal terms with those from large metropolises.

While in years 2004 to 2014 municipal leaders were nominated because of their general qualities such as honesty, management abilities, financial acumen, social, economic and environmental awareness, the 2016 shortlist was made up of mayors who have contributed extraordinarily to the acceptance and integration of refugee and immigrants. The 2018 World Mayor Project was dedicated to women in local government. It features the achievements of women mayors from across the world and honours the best of them.

In the preamble to the 2018 World Mayor Project, the organisers state that women have fought prejudice and struggled for equal rights and opportunities for hundreds of years. They did it with courage and resolve. In the 20th and early 21st centuries, women have achieved success in many spheres previously reserved to or monopolised by men, but their contributions are still often undervalued and their potential not recognised enough. Less than 20 per cent of the world’s mayors are women.

The World Mayor 2018 all-women long- and shortlists include mayors from towns and cities of all sizes who have served with integrity, determination and imagination. The 2018 World Mayor Prize and Commendations were conferred on female mayors who have made outstanding and long-lasting contributions to their towns and cities as well as understood that by working together with mayors from other communities, local government can influence developments nationally and across the world.

All female mayors on the 2018 long- and shortlists have also contributed to the advancement of women in local government and politics. By their determination to succeed and to serve their communities, they have become role models for young women and, indeed, men everywhere.

The first round
The 2018 World Mayor Project was conducted over two rounds. During the first round of World Mayor 2018, which took place from January to August 2018, the Project’s organisers invited the public to submit nominations of mayors who, in their opinion, fulfilled the Project criteria. Nominations had to be accompanied by statements detailing mayors’ qualities and achievements. The final longlist, published on 10 August, comprised 62 mayors from 36 countries in all world regions: North America (16); South America (3); Europe (28); Asia (9); Australasia (2); Africa (4).

The second round
On 4 September 2018, World Mayor announced the 27-mayor shortlist, composed of female mayors from 20 countries who have entered local politics not because they wanted or needed to prove that women can succeed in an environment shaped by men but because they believed they had the right ideas, skills and ambitions to help their communities to flourish.

Many of the final nominees came from smaller towns and cities, including San Juan (Puerto Rico), Baden-Baden (Germany), Ancona (Italy), Alphen aan den Rijn (Netherlands) and Trbovlje (Slovenia). Mayors from capital cities included those of Washington DC, Paris, Oslo and Tunis. With the exception of the Mayors of Cologne and Sydney, all finalists were shortlisted for the first time.

From September until the end of November 2018, the public was invited to select from the shortlist of 27 female mayors their choice of title candidate. Similar to round one, participants were asked to provide a persuasive testimonial to back up their choice. Mere comments like ‘she is the best mayor in the world’ or ‘she is such a great lady, were not considered by the jury.

World Mayor 2018 did not offer a click-voting option. Instead each shortlisted mayor was allocated a unique email address to which participants had to send their votes and comments. This method largely eliminated frivolous and manipulated voting. The organisers also introduced two additional filters to detect instances of fraudulent voting.

Following the closure of the second round, the organisers of the 2018 World Mayor Project began a process of verification and evaluation. In January 2019, the World Mayor jury decided on a list of eleven mayors who stood out in terms of accomplishments as well as backing from their citizens and peers. All top-eleven mayors also received considerable support from outside their communities and even countries.

Past winners of the World Mayor Prize and Commendations
In 2004 Edi Rama won the Prize for his achievements in turning the drab and neglected post-communist capital of Albania into a thriving western European city. Edi Rama is now Prime Minister of Albania.

As Mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyannis contributed substantially to the success of the 2004 Summer Olympics. After receiving the 2005 World Mayor Prize, she was appointed Greek foreign minister.

John So, the winner of World Mayor 2006, was Melbourne’s first directly elected Lord Mayor. Born in Hong Kong, he represents an example of the ‘Australian dream’.

Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, and winner of the 2008 World Mayor Prize, was described as an ‘amazing lady’ who in a country devoid of present-day role models was making a difference and giving people hope. One admirer said: “Her only equals are Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela in Southern Africa.” Helen Zille is now Premier of the Western Cape Province.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mayor of Mexico City, was awarded the 2010 World Mayor Prize. Marcelo Ebrard was Mayor of Mexico City from 2006 to 2012. During his time in office, the mayor never shied away from challenging Mexico’s orthodoxy. He championed the rights of women and minorities and became an outspoken and internationally respected advocate on environmental issues. In December 2018, Marcelo Ebrard was appointed Foreign Minister of Mexico.

Iñaki Azkuna, Mayor of Bilbao, Spain, was awarded the 2012 World Mayor Prize. It had been said that Bilbao’s transformation from a declining industrial city in Spain’s northern Basque Province to an international centre for tourism and the arts has been sparked by two events: the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1997 and the election of Iñaki Azkuna as mayor two years later.

Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary, Canada, was warded the 2014 World Mayor Prize. The mayor has antagonised much of conservative opinion in Calgary and provincial Alberta but has secured strong support for his leadership. He has used social media extensively and emphasised the need to further diversify the city economy. Transparency and dialogue are the central principles of the mayor’s approach. In 2014 he was a signatory to a document, which took forward the case for Charter status for Alberta’s cities.

Bart Somers, Mayor of Mechelen, Belgium, was awarded the 2016 World Mayor Prize. Long before the flow of refugees from the Middle East and Africa became officially a ‘crisis’ in the summer of 2015, Bart Somers recognised the utmost importance of integration. In an interview with World Mayor, the Mechelen Mayor says “What counts is not your origin, but your future.” With more than 128 different nationalities, Mechelen is one of the most diverse cities in Europe but it is also a city where first and foremost everyone is a citizen of Mechelen.

World Mayor runners-up were:
In 2004: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico City} In July 2018, López Obrado was elected President of Mexico; in third place - Walter Veltroni (Rome).
In 2005: Hazel McCallion (Mississauga, Canada); in third place - Alvaro Arzú (Guatemala City) He died in April 2018.
In 2006: Job Cohen (Amsterdam); in third place - Stephen Reed (Harrisburg, USA).
In 2008: Elmar Ledergerber (Zurich); in third place - Leopoldo López (Chacao, Venezuela).
In 2010: Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City, USA); in third place Domenico Lucano (Riace, Italy).
In 2012: Lisa Scaffidi (Perth, Australia); in third place Joko Widodo (Surakarta, Indonesia) He became President of Indonesia in October 2014.
In 2014: Daniël Termont (Ghent, Belgium); in third place Tri Rismaharini (Surabaya, Indonesia)
In 2016: Wolfgang G Müller (Lahr, Germany); in third place Georgios Kaminis (Athens, Greece)

The World Mayor Prize sculpture
French artist Manuel Ferrari designed the World Mayor Prize sculpture in 2004. The City Mayors Foundation invited the artist to create a sculpture that was as unique as the city of the winning mayor. The chosen design of three interlocking cubes emphasises the need of growing cities to be built on strong foundations. A slim, upward-looking figure symbolises all those citizens who chose cities to realise their ambitions. The sculpture is hand crafted by Berlin-based blacksmith Kaspar Swankey.

The City Mayors Foundation
The World Mayor Project and The City Mayors Foundation have no connection with any city or organisation and are run on philanthropic lines. The Foundation is financed and maintained by its fellows according to their means and expertise. Sponsorships, advertising, subscriptions, donations or any other kind of revenues are not sought, and if offered, are rejected.