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Jaime Lerner was governor of the state of Paraná, in southern Brazil. He is renowned as an architect and urban planner, having been the mayor of the city of Curitiba, capital of Paraná, three times (1971-75, 1979-84 and 1989-92). In 1994, Lerner was elected governor of Paraná, and was reelected in 1998.

Lerner was born in Curitiba on December 17, 1937. He graduated from the Escola de Arquitetura da Universidade Federal do Paraná; (Architecture School of the Federal University of Paraná) in 1964. In 1965, he helped create the Instituto de Pesquisa e Planejamento Urbano de Curitiba (Institute of Urban Planning and Research of Curitiba) and participated in the design of the Curitiba Master Plan.

In 1988, Jaime Lerner announced his candidacy for mayor of Curitiba with only 12 days remaining before the election. During his first term, Lerner implemented the Integrated Mass Transit System, and continued to implement a host of social, ecological, and urban reforms during his ensuing terms as mayor.

As governor, Lerner used a policy of attracting investment to turn Paraná into one of Brazil's industrial hubs, generating investments of over US$20 billion between 1995 and 2001. Following upon his experience in Curitiba, Lerner focused on issues like transportation, education, health, sanitation, leisure, and industrialization.

Unicef awarded Lerner the Child and Peace Prize in 1990 for his programs "Da Rua para a Escola" (From the Street to School), "Protegendo a Vida" (Protecting Life), and "Universidade do Professor" (Professor's University).

At the General Assembly of the International Union of Architects in July of 2002, Lerner was elected president for a period of three years. Lerner is also a professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Paraná, and has been a guest professor at UC Berkeley.

In January of 2004, Lerner's assets were blocked as he was investigated for having illegally used R$16.5 million (US$5.6 million) of state money for advertising.

Lerner has won a variety of Brazilian and international prizes:

  • 1990: United Nations Environmental Award, awarded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • 1990: Annual Prize of the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC)
  • 1991: Scroll of Honor, Habitat, 1991
  • 1991: Tree of Learning, IUCN, 1991
  • 1996: Child and Peace Award, UNICEF
  • 1997: Thomas Jefferson Medal, University of Virginia
  • 2000: Prince Claus Fund Award, the Netherlands (2000)
  • 2001: Pioneer 2001, International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC-USA)
  • 2001: 2001 World Technology Award for Transportation, National Museum of Science and Industry, UK
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