Marvin Rees OBE
Mayor of Bristol
Agent(s): Rowan Lawton

When Marvin was elected Mayor of Bristol in May 2016, he became the first person of African heritage to be elected Mayor of a major European city. He was re-elected as Mayor in 2021. He was recently awarded an OBE for his impressive commitment to his local government.

Marvin’s profile and leadership has grown rapidly in the time since. In 2018 he was elected Co-Chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors. In 2019 he became one of 10 global mayors asked to join the Mayors Migration Council. He also sits on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Housing Commission, is on the Advisory Board of the Work Foundation, a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Cities of Tomorrow and is the Local Government Association of England and Wales representative on the board of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum. In 2020 he became President of the British Exploring Society, a charity that leads young people on expeditions. It was full circle as Marvin had been a member of their 1990 expedition to Svalbard.

In September 2017, Marvin was placed 78th in “The 100 Most Influential People on the Left” by commentator Iain Dale. In the 2020 Powerlist, he was listed in the Top 100 of the most influential people in the UK of African/African-Caribbean descent. He was also included in “100 Great Black Britons”, a book that honours the achievements of key Black British individuals over history and was named the Business Green Leaders’ 2020 Politician of the Year.

Marvin is an increasingly common interviewee for national and international news and current affairs. His profile was further bolstered as he led his city as protestors toppled the statue of Slave Trader Edward Colston and threw into the city harbour. Through the interviews that followed he is estimated to have spoken circa 230 million people through broadcast, and a read audience of around 120 million. He also recently featured on BBC Newsnight.

His TedTalk ‘How is your city tackling the climate crisis?’ has reached over 1.5 million views.

He is the subject of the documentary “The Mayors Race”, winner of multiple awards including a Silver Award – Documentary Spotlight Film Awards 2018, Best Documentary – Denton Black Film Festival 2019 and Best Documentary – African Diaspora Film Festival 2019. His also the subject of “Reaching for Greatness”, Student Film Winner – the American Film Award 2019 and Best Short Documentary – ARFF International(Amsterdam) 1919.

In June 2024 Marvin gave the keynote at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference, and he also spoke at the German Marshall Fund’s “Cities Fortifying Democracy Forum” in Barcelona.

His first book will be published by Macmillan.

Marvin was born and brought up in Bristol. He lived with his mother and younger sister moving between St Pauls, Lawrence Weston, Easton and a short time in a refuge in Devon. Has worked in community development, with campaign organisations in the US, and had his own radio shows on Community Radio and BCC Radio Bristol. Around this he attended Swansea University where he read Economic History and Politics before completing his Master in Political Theory and Government. He completed a second Masters in Global Economic Development at Eastern University in the US. In 2010 he became a Yale World Fellow.

Marvin lives in Bristol with his wife and three children. He is a keen snowboarder.