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Harvard graduate students coming to Riverside through Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

At the end of September, Mayor Lock Dawson joined 37 other mayors from around the globe in New York City to kick off their participation in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

The initiative is through the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic organization and aims to train mayors on business, economic development, urban planning and social issues. The program is year-long, with their New York City visit focused on the latest management and leadership practices, using case studies and workshops developed at Harvard.

In a press release, Mayor Lock Dawson said the program is a part of her continual effort to bring resources to Riverside. She added, “I am excited about the opportunity to hear from and partner with some of the leading voices in the world on issues facing mayors everywhere.”

On top of her participation, Mayor Lock Dawson chose City Manager Al Zelinka and Assistant City Manager Rafael Guzman to participate in the program as well. Zelinka and Martinez will also participate in similar training and sessions, but will not head to New York City for their kickoff for another few weeks.

Philip Falcone, Press Secretary for Mayor Lock Dawson, said the initial training included many focuses but that the mayor enjoyed the data conversations the most.

“Our mayor is very fond of [data] because of her science background,” he said.

Falcone also said that leaders can sometimes be more reactionary and that the mayor wants to use data to drive her decisions. Adding, “And what we do, and how we do that, is through the benefits that [Bloomberg Harvard] provide us.”

Eventually, being supplied by the program will be at least two or potentially three Harvard Graduate Students that will specifically be taking on the “problem or issue” that the city has identified.

Falcone wants to make clear that they do not expect these students to come here, solve the problem and then the issues will be over.

“Really, what the students are going to be doing is they’re going to be researching the problem that we identified,” he said. He added that after the research they will then create a plan of action.

The city has yet to choose what issue will be their focus. However, Falcone said their top four contenders are homelessness, green tech, more significant economic development and infrastructure improvements. If any Riversiders have an idea that they think the city should address, Falcone said the mayor is open to hearing from residents.

Other cities participating in the initiative include the mayors of Bogota, Colombia, Riga, Latvia, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval.