Dr. Benjamin Barber, a renowned international political theorist and author, is the founder of the Global Parliament of Mayors. Dr. Barber’s book, If Mayors Ruled the World, set forth a plan for the GPM, a new governance platform to address cross border issues.
Engaged Mayors have lead the development of the Project for a GPM. After the publication of Dr. Barber’s If Mayors Ruled the World (2013), cities and urban experts began to discuss the idea of a global governance platform that harnessed the collective power of cities.
In 2013 and 2014, three planning sessions were held each attended by increasing numbers of mayors, public officials, urban- and governance experts. The first was held in Seoul, Korea, hosted by Mayor Park Won-Soon and the Asian intercity network “CityNet.” The second session took place in New York City under the auspices of Michael Bloomberg’s CityLab, where Dr. Barber was a featured speaker. The third and most ambitious session was in Amsterdam in September 2014, hosted by the Dutch Mayors Van der Laan (Amsterdam), Aboutaleb (Rotterdam), Van Zanen (Utrecht) and Van Aartsen (The Hague). Over thirty cities were represented together with fifty urban and governance experts.
The outcomes of these sessions, together with ongoing presentations by Dr. Barber during relevant conferences around the world and detailed press coverage, have increased concrete evidence of support for the realisation of the GPM. Since then, the GPM has progressed rapidly connecting and sharing its idea with new mayors, intercity associations and leading philanthropic foundations. In 2014 the GPM has formed an Advisory Board of current and former mayors, eminent scholars and urbanists to offer guidance and new perspectives on the challenges we will face.
Benjamin Barber’s continuing commitment for the Global Parliament of Mayors, together with the support of many mayors and intercity associations, led in September 2016 to the founding of the GPM as a global governance body that will be self-sustaining, self-funding, and self-governed.
In April 2017, at the age of 77, Benjamin Barber passed away after a four month battle with cancer. As founder of the GPM, Dr. Barber will be honoured by annually rewarding the ‘Dr. Barber Global Cities Award’ to a Mayor with an outstanding contribution to furthering global urban governance.