“Being mayor of Medellín has been the most rewarding task I have ever undertaken and being recognised for my work as the city’s leader fills me with great pride,” Mr Fajardo said when notified of his selection as a Personality of the Year.

Medellín – once notorious for kidnappings, drugs and violence – is being revitalised on a massive scale, thanks in no small part to the enthusiastic efforts of the mayor. He has supported ambitious and successful public works schemes and regeneration projects, vastly improved security, placed a strong emphasis on education and innovation, created jobs, and attracted tourists and exhibitions to what was not all that long ago one of the world’s most dangerous places.


“Medellín has gone through a deep transformation over the last four years: from violence, insecurity and fear, we have passed to hope, confidence and respect,” he says.

But the mayor is quick to pass the accolades on to others. “I believe our innovative approach towards public policy, the group of professionals who committed themselves to a common dream and the people of Medellín have played a critical role in this transformation, and so I have to accept this award on behalf of all of them. What the world sees today was built by the men and women of Medellín; I am proud to have led them.”