Calgary's Nenshi makes short list for World Mayor Prize
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi celebrates his re-election as mayor at his campaign party in Calgary, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. (Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Saturday, November 1, 2014 7:26PM EDT
Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi is among 26 finalists vying for the title of world’s best mayor after being shortlisted for the award.
The 2014 World Mayor Prize is awarded by the City Mayors Foundation. Its board of fellows will soon begin to read voter submissions, deliberate and ultimately decide if Nenshi will be the first Canadian to receive the distinction.
On Friday, a second round of voting by citizens ended along with the chance to submit supporting statements.
Nenshi, who was elected to a second term of office in 2013, is up against 25 other finalists from around the world, including the mayors of Sacramento, U.S.A., Haifa, Israel, Izmir, Turkey and Mangaung, South Africa.
The winner will be announced in January.
The award is given out every two years "to a mayor who has made outstanding contributions to his/her community and has developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world," according to the World Mayor website.
Anyone was eligible to vote for the shortlisted candidates. Votes must be accompanied by a "thoughtful supporting statement.” Approximately 80 Calgarians and others from around the world submitted comments for Nenshi.
"Mayor Nenshi is incredibly gracious and will take the time to speak with anyone that approaches him,” wrote Andrea from Calgary. “He represents the idea of government by the people and for the people.”
"He has a vision but more-so, the ability to implement the vision into reality … He's a people's person – he understands the ordinary person and their lives, their hopes, their grievances, their aspiration, their worries," wrote Asin from Dubai.
Frank from Calgary wrote a critical comment, urging the jury not to select Nenshi because "he has failed to take any initiative on the problem of affordable housing."
Past winners have included the mayor of Bilbao, Spain in 2012 and the mayor of Mexico City in 2010. Since the award began in 2004, no Canadian has won, but outgoing Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion was runner up in 2005.