Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam

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Mayor of Amsterdam
Mayor of Antananarivo
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Mayor of Melbourne
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Mayor Rama writes - Mayor Bakoyannis replies

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Comments in support of
Job Cohen
Mayor of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

The finalists for the 2006 World Mayor Award were chosen on the number of votes received as well as on the persuasiveness and conviction of supporting statements. Below we publish an representative selection of comments received about the mayor.

Comment: I believe the stability of, for lack of a better word, 'race relations' in Amsterdam to be a direct consequence of Job Cohen's style of government, especially his (under)stated policy of 'just keeping things together'. His doing so is especially admirable since he has to go against the grain of national politics, which has been increasingly confrontational - even xenophobic. At the same time, Cohen does not go the route of appeasement when it comes to handling extremism.

Comment: I have been a civil servant in the city of Amsterdam for almost 40 years and my conclusion is that Job Cohen really is the best mayor.

Comment: I am the general manager of the biggest cemetery in Amsterdam. Job Cohen is in a way my boss. I meet him every year at the Remembrance ceremony of the fourth of May. There are many survivors of the Second World War visiting this ceremony. Job Cohen has a very warm way to talk with these people, to support them, to give them a good feeling. People blossom when he is around. And beside this special point: I am very glad that he was our mayor during the last few difficult years in Amsterdam. He is really the father of the city.

Comment: The Netherlands are in a turbulent period, with increasing intolerance between cultures. In Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen expresses himself very clearly to oppose these developments and pleads for peacefull harmony.

Comment: As a new citizen of Amsterdam, I am very impressed with the quality of life and culture of integration that Mr Cohen's leadership and policies have helped to create.  He deserves to be commended at a time when much of Europe seems to be changing to become more inwardly focused.

Comment: Mr Cohen is heroic in not giving in to general islamofobia and in not tolerating criminal behaviour but at the same time trying to find ways to lift people up instead of pushing them further down.

Comment: Mr Cohen, in his current role of mayor of Amsterdam, is a man of peace who proves to know how to actively stimulate harmony in the Dutch capital city, at a time where many other cities (especially its traditional opponent Rotterdam) as well as many elements in the national government have engaged themselves in polarizing relationships between natives and ethnic immigrants. It is this contrast, the contrast between strong disharmonizing trends in an increasingly xenophobic society and Mr Cohen's efforts to keep the peace and keep 'everyone together', that is invaluable. Those who favor the mainstream 'hardline' approach of polarization and suppression have many times tried to pressure Mr Cohen to make him condemn or isolate certain ethnic groups, but he never gave up explaining time and again why he emphasizes on harmony. In a city like Amsterdam, with citizens from over 180 national backgrounds and an equally diverse ethnic population, the importance of understanding ethnic relations and their sensitivities cannot be overestimated. Among many Amsterdam people, there have been serious suggestions for Mr Cohen to take up the candidacy for Prime Minister. I'm convinced that Mr Cohen's role as a mayor will be remembered for a very long time after he completes his term, in a positive way. It would be very good if he'd become the winner of World Mayor 2006, because it would mean a boost to those who work for harmony and peace - which in the current trends are not widely appreciated by popular media.

Comment: In Amsterdam we share the city with many different cultures. With the help of Mayor Cohen man everything goes well!

Comment: Mayor Cohen deserves to win this year's World Mayor Award because he manages to keep his city and citizens together, against a background of serious tensions between different groups.

Comment: As a citizen of Amsterdam I know his contributions to the city are of great importance, especially in matters of cohabitation between all the different cultures in the city.

Comment: Europe needs more politicians like him.

Comment: Mr Job Cohen is the best mayor of the world because he stands for tolerance and is committed to all his citizens. He is leading a dedicated bureaucracy and empowers the people.

More than 100,000 citizens from around the world have taken part in the 2006 World Mayor Project.

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