NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras Baraka was one of 41 mayors selected from around the globe to take leadership and management classes from Harvard University. 

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative started Sunday with a three-day classroom experience in New York City, but the professional development program will span the entire year. The program gives mayors the opportunity to share practices and learn from each other. 

The initiative is a collaboration between Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School and Bloomberg Philanthropies. The latter recently selected Newark to be part of an 18-month program to develop and measure the city's new Office of Tenant Legal Services. 

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Baraka said in a statement that Newark is on the “cutting edge” of urban policy. He said would share the city's Newark 2020 initiative, inclusionary zoning law and  Peoples Assemblies with other mayors. 

“Newark is showing America how we lead by example, and we look forward to implementing ideas that we learn from these sessions,” Baraka said.

Newark's Chief Operating Officer Natasha Roger and Shoshanna Page, a senior policy advisor and communications strategist with the city, will participate in the yearlong program too. The two were nominated by Baraka to attend a conference in August and virtual classes throughout the year. 

“Cities are leading the way on most of the big issues we face, from fighting climate change, to protecting public health, to creating new jobs and giving people new skills,” said Michael Bloomberg, a former three-term New York City mayor. “The more we do to support mayors, the faster progress can happen – and that’s what this program is all about.”

While the private sector invests billions each year in executive development, there is no equivalent in the public sector, Bloomberg Philanthropies said. The program, now in its third year, will connect mayors to some of Harvard University's top educators, expert coaches and a network of peers. 

“We are delighted to create a nutrient-rich environment in which those who shape the future of cities across the country and around the world have an opportunity to leverage the considerable intellectual capital of our faculty," said Harvard President Larry Bacow. 

The city said Baraka, Rogers, and Page's participation in the program - including tuition, meals, and airfare - is fully funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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