World Mayor 2020

World Mayor vote 20/21
The 2021 World Mayor Winners

Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, Netherlands
Philippe Rio, Mayor of Grigny, France
Awarded the 2021 World Mayor Prize

World Mayor Awards for the Mayors of Raqqa (Syria), Ankara (Turkey), Mannheim (Germany), Braga (Portugal), Bratislava (Slovakia), Saint-Omer (France) and San Bellino (Italy)

ON THIS PAGE: Rotterdam ||| Grigny ||| Raqqa ||| Ankara ||| Mannheim ||| Braga ||| Bratislava ||| Saint-Omer ||| San Bellino |||

About World Mayor
City Mayors Foundation

- The Winners
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- The Shortlist
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- Selection criteria
- Covid-19
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- Press & Media

- Mayor of Ankara
- Mayor of Braga
- Mayor of Bratislava
- Mayor of Grigny
- Maire de Grigny
- Mayor of Rotterdam
- Mayor of Saint-Omer
- Mayor of San Bellino
- Sindaco di San Bellino
- Mayor of Villa del Conte

- Mayor of Ankara
- Mayor of Braga
- Mayor of Bratislava
- Mayor of Grigny
- Maire de Grigny
- Mayor of Mannheim
- Mayor of Raqqa
- Mayor of Rotterdam
- Mayor of Saint-Omer
- Maire de Saint-Omer
- Mayor of San Bellino
- Sindaco di San Bellino

- Mayor of Amsterdam
- Mayor of Ankara
- Mayor of Arnhem
- Mayor of Bergamo
- Mayor of Bogotá
- Mayor of Braga
- Mayor of Bratislava
- Mayor of Buenos Aires
- Mayor of Carmignano
- Mayor of Cascais
- Mayor of Compton
- Mayor of Dantumadiel
- Mayor of Freetown
- Mayor of Grenoble
- Mayor of Grigny
- Mayor of Guarulhos
- Mayor of Kuala Lumpur
- Mayor of Mannheim
- Mayor of Mexico City
- Mayor of Milan
- Mayor of Raqqa
- Mayor of Rostock
- Mayor of Rotterdam
- Mayor of Saint-Omer
- Mayor of San Bellino
- Mayor of Villa del Conte
- Mayor of Warsaw










Mayors for Stronger | Fairer | Greener cities
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 municipal leaders from large metropolises, medium-sized cities and small communities. Their conduct, goals and achievements have been valued and praised by their fellow citizens.


Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb
Ahmed Aboutaleb
Mayor of Rotterdam, Netherlands
Joint winner of the 2021 World Mayor Prize
The 2021 World Mayor Prize was awarded to Ahmed Aboutaleb for his commitment to treat all citizens as ‘Rotterdammers’, irrespective of their origins and backgrounds. Without this obligation it is not possible to build a stronger, fairer city.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, one of the longest-serving and most respected mayors in Europe, has led the City of Rotterdam since 2009 with courage, patience and humility. He sometimes describes himself half-jokingly as the secretary-general of the United Nations of Rotterdam. The Dutch name for ‘mayor’ is ‘burgemeester’ (master of citizens) but most of his fellow citizens refer to Mayor Aboutaleb as ‘burgervader’ (father of citizens). During all his years as Mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb has always acted as a father of a very large family.

In a public interview for World Mayor, Mayor Aboutaleb was asked how Rotterdam integrates thousands upon thousands of newcomers to the city. He replies to the questioner: “In a city of 175 different nationalities it is important that people get to know each other, get to meet. Meeting helps us to learn to understand each other better, and benefits peace and social cohesion in the city. That's why I’ve defined ‘meeting’ as one of my three priorities for my third term as mayor.”

Mayor Aboutaleb was also asked how he himself felt as an immigrant. The Mayor replied: “All migrants here have to work harder to build a life and prove themselves. On the one hand, this is due to the lack of a network, which traditionally isn’t a problem for a Dutch person without a migration background. For example, they have a network through their parents.” TESTIMONIALS | INTERVIEW | ESSAY

Philippe Rio, Mayor of Grigny
Philippe Rio
Mayor of Grigny, France

Joint winner of the 2021 World Mayor Prize
Grigny Mayor Philippe Rio, as leader of one of the poorest towns in France, is a social visionary and pragmatist. While promoting the French values of Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité, he is a passionate and determined fighter against poverty and social exclusion.

Born in Grigny, Philippe Rio could have chosen a financially rewarding career. Instead, after his studies, he returned to his hometown determined to improve the livelihood of its people. His efforts and achievements, including his belief that education is the surest way out of poverty, have been recognised across France and indeed Europe.

Philippe Rio wants the town to be the national laboratory for the fight against poverty. In a submission to the French government he argued that, nationally, the aim should be to act against the structural causes of poverty. Support at local level must include free school meals, increased support for single mothers and better employment opportunities for young people and, most importantly, decent housing for all.

The Mayor has succeeded in obtaining substantial state funding to finance educational and cultural facilities and improve public spaces. He also secured funds to carry out much needed repairs to Grigny 2, one of Europe’s largest mixed-ownership housing estates.

Over the next decade, by using geothermal sources some 80 per cent of Grigny’s energy needs will be met by renewable energy.

Philippe Rio describes culture as a place of learning, like a new language or another point of view. At a recent exhibition in Grigny, the Mayor, who is the president of the French Association of Mayors for Peace, overheard a pupil commenting on a work by British street artist Banksy that the piece was good because the man threw flowers not Molotov cocktails. “What a beautiful reflection of peace culture.”

The Mayor says France must rediscover the value of its national motto Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. “Human dignity, respect for others, tolerance, peace and freedom are our values which we must defend but also recapture.” TESTIMONIALS | INTERVIEW | ESSAY


In addition to the World Mayor Prize, the 2021 World Mayor Project presented seven Awards in recognition of mayors’ efforts and achievements in fields such as: Capital design; International relations; Inclusivity; Sustainability; Future development; Public service; and Community advancement. The 2021 Jury Award was conferred on the Mayor of Raqqa, Syria.

Leila Mustapha, Mayor of Raqqa
Leila Mustapha,
Mayor of Raqqa, Syria
Winner of the 2021 World Mayor Jury Award
The World Mayor Jury Award was conferred on Leila Mustapha, Mayor of Raqqa, Syria, for her efforts to rebuild Raqqa after the occupation by Islamic State (ISIS).

To understand Leila Mustapha’s achievements it is necessary to remember the context of Raqqa. An ancient city with Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Turkish, Islamic and Catholic histories, the capital of ISIS captured territories from 2014- 2017. A city virtually destroyed and devastated by ISIS, the US bombing and the war to evict ISIS.

Leila, a civil engineer in her 30s has been joint president of the Raqqa Civil Council (RCC), an assembly since its creation in 2017 just before Isis was defeated to re-build and restore the life of the City. Leila is a joint president with an Arab joint president. A remarkable attempt to bring together diverse communities to work together. ESSAY

Mansur Yavas, Mayor of Ankra
Mansur Yavas,
Mayor of Ankara Turkey
Winner of the 2021 World Mayor Capital Award
The World Mayor Capital Award was conferred on Mansur Yavas, Mayor of Ankara, Turkey, for his efforts and vision to build a metropolis that will equal the great capitals of Europe and Asia.

Since being elected Mayor of Ankara, Mansur Yavas has developed a leadership style based on public trust and transparency. His fight against corruption shows courage and conviction.

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas has supported the poor and the most vulnerable segments of the society, though a range of safety-net programmes, including food aid, monetary support, and the provision of other vital services. His vision for a post-Covid transformation is also laudable. He invests in green city projects, electrification of public transport, clean water and renewable energy.

From the onset of the Covid pandemic, Mayor Yavas understood the importance of keeping people fully informed. He provided internet access to areas with poor connections and made full use of social media to communicate with his fellow citizens.

The measures the Mayor has already introduced and his vision for the Turkish capital will make Ankara a more resilient and sustainable city.

Judging by the thousands of testimonials and comments received by the World Mayor Project, the people of Ankara and many from other parts or Turkey believe that Mansur Yavas will transform the city into one of the great capitals of the world. TESTIMONIALS | INTERVIEW | ESSAY

Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim
Peter Kurz
Mayor of Mannheim, Germany
Winner of the 2021 World Mayor International Award
The World Mayor International Award was conferred on Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim, for his engagement and co-operation with cities around the world. The Mayor understands that by working together with mayors from other communities, local government can influence developments nationally and across the world.

Mayor Kurz sees international cooperation between cities as a key to positive global development.

In today’s turbulent times, cities cooperating with each other, learning from each other make a major contribution to improving social, economic and environmental conditions. The Covid pandemic has shown that cities are best equipped to act quickly and decisively against threats to their people. Mannheim’s emergency programmes and the city’s success in targeting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged early on have been studied and copied by other cities.

Soon after assuming office, Dr Kurz began to initiate international cooperation. Using Mannheim's system of partner cities, other projects and initiatives were implemented. For example, Mannheim's start-up ecosystem has a permanent representative and a branch office in Tel Aviv, one of the most important start-up capitals in the world.

As a Mannheim initiative, an international co-working lab was set up in Hebron on the West Bank. Mannheim also assists communities in Turkey, Moldova and the Ukraine.

Since 2014, Mannheim has been a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and holds the title of ‘UNESCO City of Music’. Peter Kurz as Chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors has engaged with other mayors from all over the world to develop joint initiatives and share experiences.

Nominating Mayor Peter Kurz for World Mayor honours, the former Mayor of Haifa wrote: “Dr. Kurz intensified and promoted the city partnership with Haifa and, at the same time, tried to expand its influence on Israeli-Palestinian relations.”

Following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, Mayor Kurz said that cities cannot shirk their responsibilities to what has happened. TESTIMONIALS | ESSAY

Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga
Ricardo Rio
Mayor of Braga, Portugal
Winner of the 2021 World Mayor Sustainability Award
The World Mayor Sustainability Award was conferred on Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, Portugal, for his efforts to deliver Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) at local and regional level in the EU.

Among European mayors, Ricardo Rio is one of the most passionate believers in sustainable development. He is determined to show that sustainability is not only compatible with economic growth but also a necessity to allow future generation to benefit from it.

In his essay for the World Mayor Project, Mayor Rio writes that sustainable growth is required to provide citizens with a good quality of life.

Braga, as one of Europe’s most favourite tourist destinations, must not become an overrun ‘theme park’, believes the Mayor. Braga belongs to a network of eight medium-sized European cities that promote sustainable tourism. The group of cities aims to develop strategies that balance the needs of visitors with the interests of local residents. As far as Braga is concerned, the Mayor aims to make the city attractive to year-round tourism rather than just attract seasonal visitors.

Asked in an interview with fellow citizens about Braga as a more eco-friendly city, Mayor Rio said that for his administration it was very important to achieve the goals of sustainable development and sustainable urban mobility, thereby creating a greener and less polluted city with better living conditions for the population.

In Brussels, as a member of the European Committee of the Regions Mayor Rio has been appointed Rapporteur on delivering the Sustainable Development Goals in the EU. TESTIMONIALS | INTERVIEW | ESSAY

Matús Vallo, Mayor of Bratislava
Matús Vallo
Mayor of Bratislava, Slovakia
Winner of the 2021 World Mayor Future Award
The World Mayor Future Award was conferred on Matús Vallo, Mayor of Bratislava, Slovakia, for his goals and projects to transform the Slovak capital into a green, compassionate city.

Even before Matús Vallo was elected Mayor of Bratislava in 2018, he, together with 76 experts on urban planning and development, began work on his Bratislava Plan. The Plan, which was presented to the public during the 2018 election campaign, aims to provide high quality public spaces, sustainable forms of transport, with an emphasis on public transport and cycling, as well as the provision of affordable rental housing.

In a public interview for World Mayor. Mayor Vallo was asked about his priorities for Bratislava. He named improvements to public spaces and dealing with car traffic as two of them.

“My wish is that people feel comfortable in high quality public spaces like in other European cities. I think, that even small changes can have a big impact on urban spaces”, the Mayor said.

The Mayor has started a number of schemes to encourage people to switch from cars to public transport, including the introduction of a 25-per-cent discount for regular users. But he recognises that people will only make the switch if public transport is reliable and safe. Electro and shared mobility are also will also be promoted by the Mayor.

In the interview, Mayor Vallo was also asked about the Pact of Free Cities, which Bratislava formed with Warsaw, Prague and Budapest. The Mayor said that the Pact promotes values such as democracy, freedom, tolerance, and the protection of civic rights. “The initiative and its goals have become very popular and well-known worldwide. We have been receiving requests from cities and mayors from all over the world who want to join the Pact and support this value-based project.” TESTIMONIALS | INTERVIEW | ESSAY

François Decoster, Mayor of Saint-Omer
François Decoster
Mayor of Saint-Omer, France
Winner of the 2021 World Mayor Public Service Award
The World Mayor Public Service Award was conferred on François Decoster, Mayor of Saint-Omer France, for services to his community - locally, regionally and in Europe.

François Decoster is a local politician who serves his community as mayor, regional vice-president and as a member of the European Committee of the Regions. In Brussels he speaks as the representative of a small city with an illustrious history and back in Saint-Omer he applies examples of good practice gathered from mayors across Europe.

In the World Mayor essay about François Decoster, the author describes the Mayor of Saint-Omer as a passionate European with deep local roots. He became a local councillor at the age of 24 and 17 years later was elected Mayor of his home town. He studied at the College of Europe in Bruges and travelled extensively while remaining engaged with Saint-Omer.

Asked during an interview for World Mayor why he entered politics, François Decoster said that even as a child he tried to commit himself to his community. Answering questions on the environment and sustainability, the Mayor mentions the ‘one birth, one tree programme’ as part of which a tree is planted for every birth.

Nominating François Decoster for World Mayor Honours, several proposers mention that no small city (population 15,000) plays such a pivotal role in national, European and global networks. TESTIMONIALS | INTERVIEW | ESSAY

Aldo D'Achille, Mayor of San Bellino
Aldo D’Achille
Mayor of San Bellino, Italy
Winner of the 2021 World Mayor Community Award
The World Mayor Community Award was conferred on Aldo D’Achille, Mayor of San Bellino, Italy, for serving his small community with dedication and imagination.

San Bellino’s Aldo D’Achille is not only an avant-garde mayor with an extraordinary ethical, civic and social vision, but he is also a man of exceptional positivity and kindness. His model will not only inspire local governments in other towns and cities, but will also hand to the next generation a system of politics that is based on competence and harmony – where investment is made not only in addressing important issues, but also in the concrete involvement of a community that lives and grows together with those in local government.

Since assuming office in 2014, Mayor Aldo D’Achille has successfully implemented a number of environmental projects, including PEBA, a plan for the elimination of architectural barriers. It makes San Bellino the first municipality in Italy to achieve total accessibility across the town for all citizens.

The list aso includes the conception of the regional project 'Ridiamo il sorriso alla pianura Padana' (Let's make the Po Valley smile again), dedicated to the donation of plants to citizens. In 40 days, 70,000 plants were donated in over 400 municipalities in the region.

In an interview for World Mayor, the Mayor of San Bellino said: “Up to now I have used my municipality as a laboratory for experimenting with social and green practices that can be reproduced in much wider reality: if I did it small we can do it big!” TESTIMONIALS | INTERVIEW | ESSAY

The World Mayor team: Tann vom Hove, Matteo Dalle Fratte, Michael O’Connor, Mayraj Fahim, Graham Cunningham, Brian Baker, Paulo Botas, Sheila Reade, Adriana Maciel, Andrew Stevens, Jacek Bruchal, Kaspar Swankey, Marie Fleury, Paul Schiller