Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo won second runner-up in the 2012 World Mayor Prize. The organization acknowledged his achievements while mayor of his hometown Surakarta.
Jokowi placed third after Iñaki Azkuna of Bilbao, Spain and Lisa Scaffidi of Perth, Western Australia.
He was awarded for the measures taken to turn the crime-ridden city into a regional center of arts and culture that now attracts international tourists, the World Mayor project announced on its official website on Tuesday.
Jokowi was also praised for his campaign against corruption.
Azkuna, who topped the list, was awarded for his efforts to rebuild Bilbao and make it debt-free in 2011.
Runner-up Scaffidi, received commendation for services to her city, raised Perth’s international profile, while at the same time making local bread-and-butter issues her top priority.
Jokowi said that he was thankful for the recognition but even without the award he would continue to do his best.
“I never work to win awards [...] but I am very thankful for the award,” he told reporters at City Hall on Tuesday.
Commenting on the award, Elisa Sutanudjaja an urban planner from Tarumanegara University said that it would be a challenge for Jokowi to duplicate what he had achieved in Surakarta to the capital.
“Although he has only been in office for three months he has not yet announced any significant policies for the city. Instead, he has made many impulsive moves leaving many important decisions hanging in the balance,” she said.
She also said that it was high time for him to make some stern decisions to tackle the city’s problems.
“Jakarta as a city has more complex problems than Solo [Surakarta]. So it’s time for him to really get to work, to stop making too many new policies and bring changes to the capital,” she said.
Talking in a similar tone, Selamat Nurdin, a representative of the Jakarta Legislative Council from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said that Jokowi deserved the award as he made so many breakthroughs during his time as mayor of Surakarta.
“Since becoming governor of Jakarta, I have yet to see a strong team to accompany him in this new city; a city that is more complicated than Solo,” he said.
“To maintain what he has achieved in the past he needs a team to support him in solving Jakarta’s problems, such as the MRT [Mass Rapid Transit] and flooding.”
The World Mayor project was conceived and organized by the City Mayors Foundation and was started in 2004.
It aims to raise the profile of mayors worldwide and to honor those who have made long-lasting contributions to their communities.
The nomination process is commenced in two rounds, more than 463,000 individuals and organizations from around the world took part in the second round, which selected 25 mayors.
The total number of votes cast for the nominees in the top 10 list for this year’s award exceeded 257,000.
Participants were invited to nominate and vote for city leaders who demonstrated qualities such as honesty and open governance; leadership and vision; management ability; financial acumen; social and economic awareness; the ability to provide security and to protect the environment; and the will and ability to foster amity among communities of different cultural, racial and social backgrounds.
The number of votes was used to inform the final decision made by a panel of judges — who were primarily influenced by the arguments and persuasiveness of testimonials bestowed on mayors.
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