World Association of Major Metropolises Elects First African President


Metropolis’ 14th World Congress brings together over 300 participants from around the world within the Brussels Urban Summit. 


BARCELONA, Spain—June 21, 2023 — Metropolis, the World Association of Major Metropolises, today announced that Barthélemy Dias, Mayor of Dakar, has been elected president of Metropolis at the association’s 14th General Assembly in Brussels. Dias is the first Metropolis President from Africa in the association’s 38 years of existence, and will replace outgoing president Claudia López, Mayor of Bogotá, starting in January 2024. 

Part of the Brussels Urban Summit, the 14th Metropolis World Congress successfully brought together over 30 mayors and vice-mayors and over 250 attendees from a Metropolis membership of over 150 major cities around the world. In Brussels, Metropolis participants successfully collaborated across political and geopolitical divides to renew the association’s belief that cities should be at the centre stage of today’s global challenges. 

The Brussels Urban Summit is a unique collaboration between the Brussels-Capital Region, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth, Eurocities, and Metropolis, to create a one-of-a-kind summit aimed at strengthening cooperation between cities globally while elevating the voice of cities in national and international policy-making. The Brussels Urban Summit brought together over 1,400 participants from 322 cities of 82 countries, including 84 mayors, other local officials, experts, researchers and private sector employees. As an outcome of the event, partners put forward the Brussels Statement on Connecting and Empowering Cities. United Cities and Local Government was also present with their Executive Bureau. 

“Dialogue amongst different city leaders has been an essential part of the global municipalist movement since its inception in Ghent in 1913,” said Jordi Vaquer, Secretary General of Metropolis. “110 years later, Brussels, a global diplomatic capital, was the ideal host for yet another chapter in the history of city diplomacy and cooperation.”  

Metropolis expresses its gratitude to the Brussels Capital Region for welcoming the Metropolis World Congress. Their hospitality contributed to fruitful exchanges between local authorities and experts, in addition to offering all participants numerous opportunities to get to know and learn from Brussels’ most significant urban innovation projects. 

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About Metropolis

Metropolis, the World Association of Major Metropolises, is a global network of major cities and metropolitan areas that seeks to elevate the collective voice of metropolises on the global stage as well as foster global cooperation, dialogue, and sharing of knowledge across political and geographical divides. Created in 1984, Metropolis also operates as the metropolitan section of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), since its constitution in 2004.

The Metropolis Secretariat General is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. 

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