Michael Bloomberg, Sagol family launch program to aid Israeli mayors

The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership will enrich the potential of mayors throughout the country.

Michael Bloomberg (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Sagol Family have a new effort to strengthen local leadership across Israel, via the establishment of The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership at Tel Aviv University. The new program aims to help mayors of cities across Israel deliver better and more equitable public services to residents, strengthen social bonds and deepen ties to the global community of innovative city leaders.

The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership will focus on developing the leadership and management skills of mayors and their senior aides, while strengthening city hall operations. Specifically, the year-long program will build critical capabilities in fostering collaboration, using data in decision making, negotiation, crisis management, resident engagement, and generating and implementing innovative ideas.

“Mayors are on the front lines of every crisis, whether it’s terrorism or a pandemic. The series of recent terrorist attacks in Israel underscores the urgency of this new initiative, which is aimed at helping mayors confront their most difficult challenges and most pressing crises,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the 108th mayor of New York City.

In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University established the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, an effort by Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School to build the leadership capabilities of mayors and their teams. By engaging 40 mayors and 80 senior city leaders each year, this program develops organizational practices in city halls around the world, invests in a new generation of city leaders, and advances knowledge and establishes the field of city leadership at large. The program has trained 196 mayors and 318 leaders from 25 countries in the past five years.

“Israel has always been an inspiration due to its fortitude and the resolve you continue to show in the face of terror,” said Bloomberg during the launch event at Tel Aviv University. “In New York we are in tremendous gratitude to all those countries who stood by us and helped after 9/11, especially Israel, and one small way we can repay the debt is by replicating the program that has been phenomenally successful in the United States.”

 Michael Bloomberg at launch event (credit: Bloomberg Philanthropies) Michael Bloomberg at launch event (credit: Bloomberg Philanthropies)

“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 Sagol Family representative Yossi Sagol. “By adapting this program in Israel we can make a real difference on the way local authorities are managed. I am excited to partner with Michael Bloomberg and to adapt this prestigious program in Israel.”

Yossi Sagol began working with Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2018 to develop an Israel-based program that could strengthen the country from the local level up. The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership is the first-ever initiative inspired by the Bloomberg Harvard program and will be housed at Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management under the direction of Dean Moshe Zviran, the inaugural faculty director of the Israel City Leadership Initiative.

“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 Zviran.

“The job of mayor requires a vast range of managerial skills at the highest level,” Zviran added. “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.”