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The Urbanism Awards in 2021 focused on people who have made a defining contribution to great placemaking. In this special episode of The Urbanism Hour, we meet the three candidates for the Civic Leader category – one of five that celebrated some remarkable individuals.

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Bart Somers
Mayor of Mechelen, Belgium, and Deputy Minister-President of the Government of Flanders

Bart Somers is a Flemish politician, member of the Open Vld party. He has been minister-president of the region of Flanders, party president, Group Chairman for Open Vld in the Flemish Parliament and president of the ALDE-group in the Committee of the Regions. Since 2001 he is Mayor of Mechelen and in 2016 he was awarded the World Mayor Prize for his outstanding efforts in the long-term integration of immigrants from different cultures, religions and social backgrounds. He transformed Mechelen from a grey and neglected city into one of the most attractive places in Belgium and at the same time into a worldwide role model for integration. 

In October 2019, he became Vice minister-president of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Home Affairs, Administrative Affairs, Civic Integration and Equal Opportunities

Anuela Ristani
Deputy Mayor of Tirana, Albania

Anuela is the Deputy Mayor of Tirana in charge of International Affairs and Sustainable Development. She joined the City in 2015 as the Chief of Staff, and was appointed Deputy after 2019 elections. During her work for the city she has overseen the Green City Action Plan, the Tirana Child Friendly agenda and the Resilience and Sustainability strategies.

Prior to joining local government she established the National Youth Service where she also co-founded RYCO - Regional Youth Cooperation Office with the participation of the six Western Balkan Countries. Ms. Ristani joined public service from more than a decade of experience with multinational corporations and International Organizations where she’s served as Strategic Management and Communications expert.

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