A force in local, state, and national politics for nearly three decades, the Honorable Manny Diaz was first elected mayor of Miami in 2001, having never before held elected office. He was re-elected to a second term in 2005 and was chosen to lead the United States Conference of Mayors as its president in 2008. Diaz came to public prominence as the lawyer representing the Florida-based relatives of Elián González, who in 2000 was at the center of a custody battle between his aunts and his Cuban father. As former mayor, Diaz developed a vision for Miami as an international city that embodies diversity, economic opportunity, effective customer service, and a highly rated quality of life. To achieve this goal, he re-engineered Miami’s government from top to bottom.
During his two-term tenure, Diaz was recognized for completely transforming Miami and for launching many innovative programs in the areas of urban design, sustainability and green initiatives, education, infrastructure investment, affordable housing, law enforcement, poverty and homelessness, and art and culture.
He chronicles his work transforming the city in his acclaimed book, "Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time."
Mayor Diaz has received almost 100 awards and other honors for his work, including recognition as one of America’s Best Leaders by US News and World Report and The Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government, the Americans for the Arts National Award for Local Arts Leadership, the American Architectural Foundation Keystone Award, the AIA (Miami Chapter) Governmental Leadership Award, the Congress for the New Urbanism Groves Award, the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce Power Leader of the Year and Green Visionary Award, the Hispanic Magazine Government Award, the South Florida CEO Magazine Business Leader of the Year Award, the Poder Hispanic Magazine/Global Crisis Foundation Climate Award, the Urban Research Annual Urban Leadership Award from the University of Pennsylvania Institute, recognition as Urban Innovator of the Year by the Manhattan Institute, recognition as an Outstanding American by Choice by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, and an American Institute of Architects Presidential citation.
Diaz is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council of the US Department of Homeland Security and serves as vice chairman of the board of directors of the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation and honorary regional chairman of NewDEAL. He also serves as the chair for Fair Districts Florida and is a member of the board of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Urban Research, the Miami Foundation, the League of Conservation Voters, the Urban Land Institute, the Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use, the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, the National Environmental Education Foundation, City Year Miami, and the Florida Afterschool Network. He also serves on the advisory boards for the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Civic Innovation, the Sustainable Cities Institute, the US Green Building Council - South Florida Chapter, and Project 2050; on the Florida advisory committee for the US Global Leadership Coalition; and on the Florida steering committee for The Children’s Movement of Florida.
Former mayor Manny Diaz served as a resident fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and has resumed his successful corporate and real estate law practice as a senior partner at Lydecker Diaz in Miami.
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