The World Mayor Award, a recognition bestowed by the City Mayors Foundation, has announced its final shortlist, and among its contenders is Mayor Tony Keats of Dover, Newfoundland and Labrador, the only Canadian, and only North American Mayor shortlisted for the Award.
Despite representing a small community with fewer than 1,000 residents, Keats has distinguished himself through remarkable achievements and significant contributions, securing a well-deserved place among the outstanding city leaders vying for this prestigious accolade.
Expressing his gratitude and excitement, Keats took to social media, sharing his sentiments, "To say I’m overwhelmed is an understatement, to be selected as a finalist along with very outstanding Mayors from around the world is so rewarding."
Keats finds himself nominated against Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko, Bristol UK Mayor Mavin Rees, Utrecht Netherlands Mayor Sharon Sikjsma, Greifswald Germany Mayor Stefan Fassbinder, Graz Austria Mayor Eike Kahr, Tremblay-en-France, France Mayor Francois Asensi, Oliveri Sicily Italy Mayor Francesco Iarrera, Quelimane, and Mozambique Mayor Manuel De Araújo.
"I would like to thank (World Mayor), council, staff, my community & those who voted & supported me," Keats added.
Sheilagh O'Leary, Deputy Mayor of St. John's NFLD, in an endorsement letter submitted to the World Mayor Award, said "I have had the incredible pleasure of working with Mayor Tony Keats on our provincial Municipalities board. Tony has proven himself to be a compassionate colleague and leader in the small town of Dover in our province.
"Aside from his incredible work in his hometown, he has brought his vision and care to larger populations right across Canada. He has heart and integrity and has served the people of his hometown for over two decades," O'Leary added.
Torbay Mayor Craig Scott said in his endorsement letter, " Tony has been a tremendous advocate and role model for people who are new to Municipal Government and those who are seasoned veterans. Not only is he a role model but he is a dedicated family man and friend. I am proud to include myself in a long list of people who consider him a friend."
Passadena, Newfoundland and Labrador CAO Brian Hudson in his endorsement letter said, that Keats is a fantastic collaborator and facilitator, "Mayor Keats is a selfless and tireless champion for his improving his community. He is the definition of the most dedicated community leader pushing for positive enhancements and change within the municipal sector for his municipality, region, province and country.
Town Clerk for Indian Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador Triffie Parsons said that Keats work during the COVID-19 Pandemic truly helped residents from across the community, " (Keats) is very dedicated to his town and municipalities at large in Newfoundland. He has been on many committees. He does a podcast that is both informative and entertaining. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued to involve and interact with his town and the residents by putting on virtual contests and by doing a weekly cooking show."
Betty Moore, Mayor of Clark’s Beach, Newfoundland and Labrador endorsed Keats Nomination, "Tony has worked hard in the municipal field for many years."
Amy Coady, Councillor for Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador, and President of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador said that Tony has been more than a friend, but a mentor as well, "His mentorship has been a valuable tool for me in manoeuvring through Municipal life."
"I look back over Tony's time in that role and constantly pull from what I've learned from him and apply it to the work I do daily to support Municipalities," Coady Added.
Keats received endorsement letters of support from across Canada and through the United States. Even a few endorsement letters - which were published on the World Mayor website - from Bolivia.
The World Mayor Award is awarded by the City Mayors Foundation and aims to acknowledge mayors who have played a crucial role in nurturing friendship, partnership, and cooperation between towns and cities, both domestically and internationally. It aims to honour those who have displayed integrity, courage, and innovation in their service to their fellow citizens.
The City Mayors Foundation has a rich history of organizing the World Mayor Prize and Awards since 2004, recognizing exemplary leadership and achievements among mayors worldwide. Notably, only one other Canadian Mayor, former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi in 2010, has ever claimed this esteemed prize.
The winner of the 2023 World Mayor Award is set to be announced in January.