Daniel Termont, Mayor of Ghent

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Daniel Termont
Mayor of Ghent (Belgium)

The winner and runner-ups of World Mayor 2014 will be chosen based on the number of nominations in relation to the size of their cities and, more importantly, on the persuasiveness and conviction of testimonials received during this year's World Mayor Project. Below we publish a selection of comments received to date about WM nominee Daniel Termont, Mayor of Ghent, Belgium.

Comment: Over the last few years, the City of Nantes has been working in close partnership with the City of Ghent, particularly within Eurocities – the network of European metropolises. Therefore, I do know Daniel Termont's commitment, acting both in his City and collectively in Europe, for the benefit of its inhabitants. In his City, Daniel successfully managed to initiate a real capacity for creativity in different sectors, for opening and innovating while ensuring the necessary social cohesion for in his City. (By Johanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes)

Comment: Daniël Termont and I have been occupying the position of Mayor for many years. Both of us always had at heart to open our cities to the world, amongst others by becoming members of international networks, carriers of innovation or of commitment to solidarity. Thus, Ghent and Liège were, for example, the first two Belgian cities to join Unesco's International Coalition of Cities against Racism.

Both of us also actively support the development of our universities. These institutions play an important role in the identity of the cities of Liege and Ghent. They contribute to the national and international “resonance” and they create an intellectual and economic dynamism which brings essential vitality to a city.

Daniël Termont is also, and perhaps above all, a Mayor who listens to his citizens. In order to support this point of view, I take for evidence his support to many popular initiatives in the City of Ghent. A commitment which is also stressed as part of the Smart Cities project, of the Agoria federation, during which he was called to testify on the Ghent experience in January 2014.
For all these reasons, it is with a strong conviction and enthusiasm that I support Daniël Termont within the project of the City Mayors Foundation “World Mayor 2014”. (By Willy Demeyer, Mayor of Liege)

Comment: Dear jury: I would like to support our mayor, Daniel Termont.
There are many reasons why he deserves this title, and here are the reasons I find the most important.
Daniel Termont is very much present in the city, walking or cycling, and is easy to approach for a chat. He actually listens and knows what lives in the city. His communication skills are fantastic. He finds the right tone without being patronizing. He communicates when needed, with all kind of means, but he doesn’t exaggerate and is not boasting about his achievements.
In Flanders in general, there is a rather negative and conservative atmosphere. Difference of opinion or difference in tradition easily results in conflict, alienating people and putting them into different groups that fear eachother. This isn’t the case in Ghent, and I am convinced that Daniel Termont plays an important part in this. He never ignores or underestimates the importance of a problem for a part of his people, but he never uses problems politically to score easy points. He puts issues in the right perspective and shows he is actually doing something about it, even if that solution is not perceived as a typically socialist solution. He does pragmatically what is needed, and communicates about it in a great way.
People in Ghent have the feeling they have the freedom to dream and then have the space to try to make that dream come true. He gives many grassroot organisations the opportunity to start crazy projects and to try out new ways of urban living, urban entertainment, … this open atmosphere makes of ghent a bubbly city, attractive to young people, but never alienating other generations, by keeping good traditions alive as well.
I am glad my children are growing up in this city, I am happy to live in ghent, and very proud of my mayor. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to support him. (By An D, Ghent)

Comment: Daniel Termont is a mayor who really cares about Gent and here citizens. He is able to stand among his flock and can talk to everybody. His vision on developing a sustainable society in the city is well though about and he tries to work in all his decisions in line with this vision. Gent has become due to the efforts of our mayor a open minded and modern city, rooted in its cultural traditions. (By Prof. Michel D P, Ghent)

Comment: I’m not sure if I’m still in time but I would like to give my support to our Mayor Daniel Termont.
He’s a very motivated even more, passionated mayor. He’s threating Gent (Ghent) as his child and is also ruling it as you should raise a kid.
Offering enough liberty to explore as a citizen, is open for initiative but willing to step in and deliberate in case of a conflict. He and his ancestor (Frank Beke) made it possible to florish our medium sized Belgian city.
He’s aware of the importance of teaming up with the captains of industry in the region and far abroad. I’m convinced that his efforts to build a sustainable network do bring good to all the citizens of our City.
I would love to see Daniel as one of the winners of the Worldmayor elections, just as an appreciation for their efforts to make Gent an open, vivid and warm city. The perfect mix between old and new, stimulating all citizens to participate in the project Gent and making us proud to be inhabitants of the city.
One small remark, if Daniel wouldn’t be selected our respect and appreciation for our mayor wouldn’t change. However if I can nominate a second name I would like to show my appreciation to the mayor of Bordeaux. This city has the same atmosphere as Ghent and is my favourite city in France. (By Pieter H, Ghent)
Comment: In Dutch, we have a nice name for a mayor that fits perfectly to someone like our Mayor Termont. The name is ‘burgervader’, which means something like ‘father of the citizens’. This is exactly what our mayor is to us all.
Coming from working class people & having always be in touch with all kinds of men/women, he understands perfectly the needs & aspirations of his co-citizens. I say co-citizens because he sees us (the citizens) as his equals. Mayor Termont also has an eye for minorities and all the problems that come with migration. He's got the knack to create tolerance and understanding between different cultures.
Ghent is a really good place to live in: we all feel safe in our town — certainly compared with other cities in the world—, we have a very animated cultural life, the city rises to new challenges (such as wastepolicy, greenpolicy)..., it is our city that took the initiative of Veggie days, fruiteating Wednesdays in schools & that are now introduced in all our schools… & we have free pianos in public spaces for people to play on - all these things contribute to a happy feeling throughout the city. That is why our city kept a kind of ‘joie de vivre’ en youthfulness.
In all these things, our mayor has his saying and lends us a listening ear. Mayor Termon is a paragon of democracy, good husbandry, joviality and open-heartedness. I do sincerely hope he will get the prize of World Mayor, this being a good and necessary signal to this conflictuous world that is becoming ours. (By Ann D W, Ghent)

Comment: The nomination of Ghent for the World Mayor Prize is a great honor and therefore I’d like to participate. I’m voting for Daniël Termont to win the World Mayor Prize; voting for Ghent as it is a beautiful city and voting for the mayor because he understands the value of it.
Not only do I appreciate the mayor for his concern towards the population as a whole, considering all ethnicities and social layers; I also think the energy he puts into lifting up the economy and creating job opportunities is of great importance. Our mayor is well occupied keeping a close contact to his citizens but he never seems to get bored or annoyed by people approaching him. Overall, the mayor comes across as a funny yet correct individual who takes good care of our lovely city and who absolutely deserves to win this prize. (By Katrien V C, Ghent)
Comment: Ghent is a multicultural city and this is mainly due to mayor Termonts openness for and interests in the several cultures our great city boasts.
Moreover, he is very sports-minded and has been the force behind the realization of one of the most advanced and beautiful football arenas in Europe or even the world; the Ghelamco arena. It was given the prestigious title of "moste beautiful football arena in the world" in 2013.
The environment is also very high on his list of priorities. The city welcomes cyclists, tries to advocate for limiting the use of the car, promotes public transport, boasts many parks and supports green initiatives.
Mayor Termont is an intelligent, hands-on, but yet a very humble and warm man. His juicy dialect adds to his appeal and is one of the reasons why the people of Ghent feel he is one of them. Termont is a man of and for the people. (By Willy V, Ghent)

Comment: Daniël Termont deserves to win because he is one of us (the lucky residents who get to live here), he goes to the Buffalo football matches, he loves to party with the people of Ghent whenever he can (on occassions such as the Gentsche Fieste! - Ghent street festival), he turned this city into a masterpiece of design (the famous market hall!). A comfortable town where your bicycle is very welcome.
He tries to find the best solutions for all the problems our ever growing city of Ghent faces: influx of many many many many students and many many many many immigrantsnot just from other Belgian villages and towns but from all over the world.
No wonder everyone wants to come here... It's a great place to live especially with him as mayor. I'm very proud to be a citizen in his well governed town!! (By Stephanie B, Ghent)

Comment: I was happy being married to my wife by Daniel Termont. He was pride having the possibility to marry 2 women in a country where this was legally well aranged  
He excused for being male and for the illness of his female collegue
We expressed our respect for him, as how he leaded 'Ghentse Festival' and were happy being married by him. Our best persons were also male.
As director of the abortion centre in Ghent he helped us efficient and quickly with als the problems occurring. I will not forget the way he expressed his unableness to stop all anti abortion manifestation and how pity he found that, He was a great help to us. (By Hilde E, Ghent) Hilde E

Comment: Having lived most of my life in South Africa in or close to all the major cities from Cape Town to Johannesburg, circumstances forced me after 50 years to leave family and friends behind and come back to Europe. What a difference Mayor Daniël Termont and his team made to my life! I thought I would be lonely, insecure and just plain miserable but I received a letter welcoming me to Ghent and inviting me to a cocktail with fellow newcomers giving me the opportunity to meet him and his team. And through the six years that I lived here he was and still is a major driving force in Ghent. You cannot help but feel that this man lives and loves his city and will always be there through thick and thin. (By Martina B, Ghent)

Comment: Daniel Termont is de beste Burgemeester ter wereld, hij is de burgemeester voor iedereen, rijk en arm, kleuring of blank, religieus of atheïst, links of rechts, steeds bereikbaar en vooral dienstbaar voor iedereen. Hij is echt en puur, een echt goed mens ten dienste van iedereen, uiterst verstandig, een man die een zeer moeilijke bestuurbare stad zoals Gent, op de wereldkaart heeft geplaatst, die omgaat met diversiteit, kortom: onze burgemeester, de burgemeester van en voor iedereen, de beste die er is. (By Beatrijs Z, Ghent)

Comment: In my humble but sincere opinion I find that the mayor of Ghent Mr. Daniel Termont really deserves to be nominated as the world's best mayor of 2014. Mr. Termont was even before he became mayor of the city of Ghent every day busy with taking measures how to make Ghent a better city to live in and always in the interest of the inhabitants.  After becoming the mayor of this beautiful and agreable city he still continues improving Ghent. He takes a participatory approach, listens to the people and has a particular attention for the poorer citizens. He is a man of the people and mingles daily with the locals. (By Anton V L, Ghent)

Comment: To be quiet honest, Termont and I are not in the same line of ideology or politics. I would never vote for Daniël Termont in elections, but in some strange way I do respect him. He has chosen for his city, although frequently been asked to be eligible on a national level. He has only one priority and that is the city of Ghent, not his own political career. He is also the perfect face for the city and its inhabitants. He is a real native Gantoise, has the right accent and use of the dialect, comes from a very simple and humble background and is always around. It's not hard to find the mayor, to invite him to an occasion or to mail him. He will always reply. Although we do not share the same political belief, I 'm proud that he is our mayor! (By Pieter v L, Ghent)

Comment: My name is Bjornus and I will tell you in short why Ghent is the best city in the world to me. I come from a place where narrow mindedness and survival in a believe that should seaze to exist reigns.
I had the very good luck to come in thouch with this city for the negativity and inhospitality of my home city would have for sure meant my dead.
I'd like to say that this city is a modern city and avantgardistic city always in for progression.
I love it so much and it saved my life and that's why this city should win the prize because it's not only a good and cutural rich city it also infects its inhabitants positivelly and if that's for some reason isen't the case the inhabitants will do their best to influence their co-civilians accordingly. (By Bjornus, Ghent)

Comment: As an Anglo-Dutch expat who has had the pleasure of living in Ghent for the past decade, I can wholeheartedly say that this vibrant city manages to be fresh and modern whilst not losing sight if its beautiful history and traditions. Mayor Termont embodies the goodnatured spirit of this wonderful city and is an inspiration to its inhabitants. He will truly be a hard act to follow! Greetings from an adopted 'Gentenaar' (By Martha J, Ghent)

Comment: I'm proud to live in Ghent because:
- our mayor responds to any email you send him
- our city continuously invests in biking facilities
- it was one of the first cities to subsidize reusable diapers
- you can walk the streets without fear
- our city council is committed to invest in parks, forests, green areas whilst at the same time investing in social housing
- 2nd-hand stores are abound
- the historical city center is also a livable area
- citizens get to visit a lot of the museums for free Sunday morning
- fair trade has its place
- bio has its place
- partying and responsible living go hand in hand
- it is kept clean
- its people are tolerant and outspoken at the same time
- the green and socialist party teamed up for the last elections
- there's a mass new year's celebration every year
- cars are banned from the city center
- you can walk everywhere
- we host numerous concerts, art shows, festivals,...
- there are lots of playgrounds
- musicians thrive here
(By Maaike B L, Ghent)

Comment: I live in Italy now but for one year I’ve lived in Gent. The atmosphere there is lively, the mentality is very open, you feel respected, safe and supported.
The city is clean, well organized in all the services offered to the tourists and to the inhabitants, also new comers feel immediately at home there.
The activities are great (Gentse feesten, concerts, little markets, activities for children, and also the beautiful nights with the magic light festival of 2011). Therefore I surely vote for Termont. (Francesca D)

Comment: As Mr. Ivan de Witte said:
"Mayor Daniel Termont is a very exceptional person as a human being and as a mayor. He develops in all fields his own vision which he shares and discusses with the stakeholders. But once the vision (and route) determined, he fully engages himself to execute this in a consequent way.
A. I am thinking of the design and reconstruction of the city of GHENT, which can be labeled as a great success in terms of attractiveness, esthetics, mobility and functionality. To realize this takes time and investment but it happens in a consistent and consequent way. GHENT has grown from an ugly duckling to a real jewel.
B. The mayor is a gifted mediator - both politically and in the bringing people together and get to a consensus between different business interests.
He has managed to develop himself and to be accepted as a force that stands above the interest groups , managing to generate and impose solutions.
I think hereby of the frequent stoppages in the development and construction of the new football stadium which he helped unlock and actuate again, always a step further until final realization.
C. The mayor has and shows an admirable knowledge of his records. He masters files via the key elements. He combines this with a very strong memory, through which he controls a multitude of files from the most diverse nature: City planning, security, fire service, mobility, events, finance, financial management, city promotion etc. In everything we can see the hand of Daniel Termont.
Last but not least, he has an incredible work force and energy. He is available from dusk till dawn.
Having an extraordinary talent for innovative inspiration and integrity he may be called a very exceptional mayor, capable to much more, but loyal to his city." (By Cedric, D C, Merelbeke)

Comment: I’m a citizen of Ghent. I do think we have a fantastic mayor.
And why? Well very simply because he cares.
His citizens are not numbers but individuals.
He listens, listens intelligently and always reacts.
Every mail you send our mayor is responded within the hour by our mayor!
He cares for the minorities, he is very social responsible, he is very intelligent but in the no nonsense way.
He is so very well connected with the right people on the right place.
I’m not partial because his party is not my party but I honestly think he is the best the mayor in the world. (By Anne Marie A, Ghent)

Comment: Forty years ago, I fell in love with Ghent. Normally, love diminishes with the years. Not in this case! Ghent became, year after year, more beautiful, with more culture, more events, more feasts. The people of Ghent became more social, more multicultural.
Ant then came Termont … He is a real father for his citizens, always accessible, always trying to make things better, and very, very social-minded. He made from Ghent a real city of the 21ste century without destroying the beauty of the past. (By Ingrid V, Ghent)

Comment: I am Justien Cornelis, 26 years, living in Wetteren (Belgium). I would like to vote for mayor Termont of Ghent for the world mayor of 2014 elections.
Mayor Termont was elected multiple times by the citizens of Ghent. That means that he is supported and rewarded for his efforts to make Ghent a globally known and important city. What many people appreciate the most is that he is really a mayor of the people. He not only belongs to a social political party but also acts and behaves like a normal hardworking citizen. An example is his perfectly speaking and understanding of the dialect of Ghent. Also towards the communication in the media, he has a very inventive, clear and funny way to give the message to the people. It appears that he really loves his job. In my opninion some of his major achievements are listed below:
- The new stadium (Ghelamco arena) was elected at the world most beautiful stadium of the year.
- Every year the city is transformed for 10 days of party. He tries to make the parties available for everybody, as they are in this times of EU crisis, still for free (free entrance).
- He gives a lot importants to culture, amusement, touristical attractions and nature in his city.
- Furthermore, he supports innitatives to make old houses available again for families and renew "forgetten parts" of the city and give them a new function (e.g. old harbor beach and free amusement park for teeners and expositions open air)
- He is very social, also towards other cultures and therefore make us all more appreciating our neighbours
- He supports community organisations (e.g. Ekkergem.tv)
- Ghent is a student city. I was myself a student in Ghent. It is a really nice city to study. We have our own region to go out, our own 'homes' and our own sport facilities. Every student loves it, and this could only be achieved when the mayor himself is very student minded.
- He loves his city and appreciates all the values the city can give him (historical buidlings, cultures, nature,...). He really made the city more touristic. Recently it is stated in many USA journals that Ghent is "the most beautiful city in the world". This is an important achievement of our mayor, we really respect his city. Furthermore, he wanted the everybody, every tourist, could enjoy all the beautiful Ghent could offer.
With this letter, I hope to convince you that mayor Termont is the perfect candidate to urn the titel of "mayor of the year". (By Justien C, Wetteren)

Comment: As a citizen of Ghent I have a lot of respect for our mayor. Not only as a politician, but especially as a person. As a sports fan I’m always proud to see our mayor closely connected to the football club, I think that’s proof of commitment to his town and its citizens. Off course that’s not the only example, our mayor is always available for his citizens, not only at festivities, but every day. Not only to have his head shown to the people or the media, but out of a zealous commitment to improve his city, his city’s atmosphere and the living standard of its people. That’s why I nominated my mayor. (By Nicolas C, Sint-Laureins)

Comment: Ghent runs trough my and mr Termonts veins a bit like our two rivers Leie and Schelde who flow together in the middle of Ghent.Our mayor Termont is within our town! On a sunny or not so day you can see him riding his bike to meet his inhabitants or attend some cultural event in one of the many city areas of Ghent.
 And whe have some events going on here in Ghent! It is a city where young and old feel at home and this al due to mayor Termont and his City Government.He leads the city in a humane and fair way. It is a shame that a mayor can only be voted in for three legislatures of four years in Belgium. He would be wearing the mayors sash at least another 30 years otherwise! (Moens K, Ghent)

Comment: Daniel Termont should be elected as World Mayor 2014 because he is just awesome. I have lived in Ghent for almost seven years now. I came to Ghent in 2007 as a student and decided to settle here last year and become an official "Gentenaar". This city isn't only beautiful but it is also tolerant of other mindsets, lifestyles and backgrounds. It unites young and old, rich and poor, students and locals. This is largely due to this amazing Mayor and his policies. He can dine with the best of them but also isn't afraid to go out on the street and talk to people in the local dialect. In large, Ghent is a beautiful city because Termont does not stand still but is constantly busy improving Ghent so it can be better than ever before. I'm proud of my Mayor and he deserves this honor without a doubt! (By Ellen)

Comment: From the Mayor of Leipzig: since Daniel Termont is an exemplary colleague I support him sincerely in his nomination for the World Mayor Prize. Daniel is a municipal leader who reckons on the citizens of Ghent and knows how important they are for the city's potential and development. He is a citizen-orientated man whose principle is working together with the people of Ghent whenever it is possible. Daniel is very innovative in his position as a mayor: I remember the last year's annual conference of the EUROCITIES network in Ghent when Daniel presented the 'smart city ecosystem' with which should be explored how innovation and new technology could be used to empower citizens and connect them to their social, economic and political environment. All issues concerning energy efficiency are a big challenge for every city and Daniel has ideas and the will to change, to improve something in this concern. He also contributed with huge commitment to popularize the city of Ghent at international level so that it is well-known as a young and creative place. I am convinced that the citizens feel the quite energetic climate as well as visitors do. Undoubtedly Daniel has a strong vision for his city. When Daniel Termont becomes the World Mayor even more people could take him as an inspiring example. (By Burkhard Jung, Mayor of Leipzig, Germany)

Comment: In the latest election, the trend in the entire Flemish region was the same, an overwhelming victory for Flemish nationalism, and very sour and frustrated people everywhere voting for them. With one exception. Socialist-liberal Ghent, where people support each other, where the atmosphere is different, where you are still accepted for who you are. People moving house in Belgium coming from other regions within the country say they never feel at home in their new city. Except when that new city is Ghent. There, everyone is part of the club, and welcomed with open arms. Daniel Termont banned saying someone is from Turkish heritage, or from Russian heritage, or from West Flanders heritage. He imposed the use of "Turkish Gentenaar", "Russian Gentenaar", "Brugse Gentenaar", focussing on the second part, that from wherever you originate, you are now a "Gentenaar", one of us. (By Jan H, Lokeren)

Comment: Mayor Daniel Termont is a very exceptional person as a human being and as a mayor. He develops in all fields his own vision which he shares and discusses with the stakeholders. But once the vision (and route) determined, he fully engages himself to execute this in a consequent way. (By Ivan De W, Ghent)

Comment: I know Daniel since we were involved together within the young socialists, 40 years ago.
I know him as an honest, modest but hard working man, with his heart at the right (left) place and very human and always listening to the people, but with a strong vision on how to rule a beautiful and warm  city as Ghent and how to perform socialisme in real things. We had the opportunity to build with our socialist mayors in before (Gilbert Temmerman, Frank Beke) a solid and social Ghent, with attention to the poorest, the art, culture, historical aspects as well as economics (big harbor).He has very good international contacts over the world and stayed very humble as well. He is the best mayor we got and will have. (By Guy V, Ghent)

Comment: I am Hui Zhang, Female, mayor of the city of Weihai, Shandong Province, China. I would like to take this opportunity to vote Mayor Daniel Termont, Ghent, Belgium, for the World Mayor Prize.

The first time I met Mayor Termont was when I visited Ghent in September 2013. Before that I had heard a lot about his industrial dedication from my colleague, Mr. Sun Shutao, who visited Ghent earlier in 2012, as CPC Secretary of Weihai, and I witnessed his devoting spirits when one night I saw him still working at the City Hall by 11 o’clock, which impressed me deeply.

Mayor Termont placed high emphasis on developing cooperation and friendly relationship with cities of other countries. He shows the advantages of Ghent especially in education and high-tech industries to the world and is always ready to share the experience of urban planning and renewal of his city with other cities.

With his keen interest and strong support, our city of Weihai signed sister-city relationship agreement with his city of Ghent in September of 2013 during my first visit to Ghent. Two months later, the two cities signed Letter of Intent on EU-China Urbanization Partnership witnessed by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and Mr. Barroso, President of EU committee in Beijing.

In early July, 2014, Mayor Termont and his delegation visited Weihai and his visit was successful. We held Weihai-Ghent Economic Cooperation Seminar and Urbanization and Renewal Seminar; his delegation visited Harbin Institute of Technology and some of the major enterprises, and also they toured my city and visited several factories. All these activities deepened the mutual understanding and made the two cities find more potentials in cooperation and mutual development.

As a mayor of vision, Mayor Termont is committed to the development of his city and improvement of his people’s life. He brings his city to the world arena and meanwhile welcomes other cities to be known by his people. He is a prominent mayor. So I would like to vote Mayor Daniel Termont as the World Mayor 2014. (By Hui Zang, Weihai, China)

Comment: Daniël Termont deserves to win this prize because of the incredible things he has done for the city of Ghent! The only sizable city that is still livable in Belgium! He dares to make the hard choices, even the difficult ones that only pay off in the long run. (By Toon B)

Comment: Termomt Daniël  is de beste Burgermeester die ons al overkomen is een Ghent. Hij is een goede vriend al jaren toen mijn man nog in de in de gemeenteraad zat,van een andere partij, zegde hij Daniël word ooit de beste Bugervader van Ghent. En dat geeft hij intussen al ruimschoots bewezen. Helaas geeft mijn man Deconick R. Niet kunnen mee maken, hij zou fier geweest zijn op zijn op zijn Ghent met Daniël Termont als Burgermeester .

Comment: Why should Ghent -and Termont of course- win? I'll tell you. Ghent is my favorite city in the whole wide world. And the fact that Termont leads this beautiful city makes it even better! He doesn't only care about his city and his employees, he cares about everyone who lives in Ghent, no, no, he cares about everyone. Everyone who didn't do him wrong of course. And how would I know this? I just do. I know this because I live in Ghent. I feel Ghent. I speak and interact with Ghent. I am Ghent, among with the other 250.000 'Gentenaars' (=people who live in Ghent). And mate the best win! (Ghent! Ghent! Ghent!)

Comment: A good communicator, always answers your mails, reacts adequately on very difficult issues such as mixed marriages and violence. Great energy, tries to renovate areas as Ledeberg, Brugse Poort, very modest, reliable, man with much 'intelligence du coeur', doesn't deny his own origin, very intelligent without being a real intellectual, common sense, ad rem, but to the point. He pays attention to the mix of people: young ones, students, families, Turkish, even Roma, older ones. He is a symbol for Ghent of non violent communication with his feet very grounded. Whatever problem I had in the past, he could achieve people to advice..and he answered every mail when my daughter's life was in danger by her Turkish ex-husband WITHOUT any racism but with intelligent attitude towards the position of women. (By Ariane V, Gentbrugge)

Comment: I think Daniel Termont should become "Worl Mayor 2014", because no city in Belgium has ever had a mayor, who is so passionate about his city. Termont is always so friendly, helpfull and he loves to be around the people of Ghent. He has made Ghent to a warm and social city, where every inhabitant loves to live. Without Termont, Ghent would never be the same, nobody wants another mayor anymore!

Comment: I was born in Ghent and current live there about 30-40% of the time, the rest is spent in London (UK) or traveling. I believe Ghent Mayor Daniel Termont is worthy of the “World Mayor 2014” title due to the long list of socio-economical, environmental, cultural, and infrastructural policies and measures he and his governing coalitions have taken to make Ghent a greener, more social, better connected and more efficient city. While of course many challenges remain (e.g. rising housing costs) I am convinced that under the lead of Mayor Termont Ghent has become a better place to live for its residents and an even nicer and more practical place to visit for others (both workers and tourists). (Dr Matthias S, London & Ghent)

Comment: I'm living in Ghent for 15 years now and I really love this city. I like it so much that I gave up my job at the federal government to come work for Digipolis 5 years ago. Digipolis takes care of the ICT infrastructure of the employees of the city of Ghent. In my opinion Termont has led this city in the right direction. Citizens of Ghent love living in Ghent and are really proud of it. It is Mayor Termont guided Ghent towards what it is now, and will probably keep doing this for a long time. 
He even takes the time to answer people's email himself. He is very close to his 'people'. For as long as I can remember he helps managing a large nine-day event, called 'De Gentse Feesten' which really unites the people of Ghent. (By Willem D’H, Ghent)

Comment: I think Mr Daniel Termont is an outstanding mayor for our city. He has an enormous network and sometimes gives the impression to know every citizen by name. That is because he is very present in the public field and meets a lot of people every day to hear about their concerns. He surely is the number one networker in Ghent. But he is also a shrewd politician with a great instinct for what is possible and what is not and a strong chairman for his coalition. He has very good contacts with the Ministers in the Federal and Flemish Government and always tries to focus their attention on Ghent. On the international level he is – once again – the networker who always looks for interesting opportunities to cooperate with other cities and international organisations. He is very popular amongst the common people, but the top decision levels seem to be his natural habitat. His only real disadvantage is that he works too hard and that we often are worried about his health. But he announced already that his political career will stop in 2018 and that, from that moment onwards, he will chose to live a quieter life. Well, he surely will have deserved that! (By Stefaan De R, Ghent)

Comment: I want to nominate the mayor of Ghent, Daniel Termont. He is the best ambassador for his city. He works hard, is very intelligent and the most important: he can be ‘close’ with everybody: the industrials, the capitalists, the working class, the sportsmen, the youth, the elder… He is really “a man of his city and a man of all his citizens’. He is also full time mayor. Personally, I know him as the president of our fire brigade zone. I am the mayor of Zulte and our city is in the same zone. (By Simon L, Mayor of  Zulte)

Comment: I would like to support the mayor of Ghent. I live in Ostend, a city in Belgium, and I admire the way the Mayor Termont does his job. He stated hat Ghent should be a smart city. That requires a smart mayor, and he is!  He listens very well to the citizens and stimulates experiments to empower citizens to shape their own town. He cares a lot about social deprived people and sees that the solution is to be found in tackling energy issues, education, employment, stronger social live, health, aso. For a social and environmental committed person he knows the economic world very well and knows seeks to link it with social and environmental challenges and opportunities. I just want the same kind of mayor in Ostend! Therefor Termont gets my vote! (By Indra Van S, Ostend)

Comment: I live in Gent. There are a lot of culture events for free. First of all the 10 days Gentse Feesten. Free music bands on about 10 stages around the city. Free street animation, and puppet basket festival and a lot of parties Al summer long there is each weekend something happening somewhere in the city. If you want to organize something in your street. For example: we organize in my street some days a playground for the children. The children can play free in the street.  There is no problem and you get material support from the city in the winter there is a Christmas event. And also a light festival. People are important and there are a lot of meeting places in different parks. There are benches, tables  and barbeque possibilities. They made the center of Gent car free, so it is nice to walk in the city. In short there is a lot of culture for everyone and most things are for free. (By Patrick De D)

Comment: I was born and raised in Ghent and still live there now. In fact I also work for my wonderful city.
I have travelled quite a lot. To different continents, different cities all over the world, met a lot of people.

So, what difference does Termont make?
• On every occasion, whatever decision (either popular or unpopular, makes no difference) he has to speak up for, he tells which good goals (for the good of all) are behind it. He explains the choices made.
• He speaks about the people of Ghent, no matter if they are originally African, Chinese, … he unites ALL THE TIME!!
• On hard subjects, such as dealing with Roma groups, he (against the mentality of racism and fear) says the things that are being done (justice-wise) to keep occasional problems under control, but mostly stresses how we, as a city, as a population should be open and welcoming to anybody who needs it. He doesn’t create intolerance, what many many many others do. Because it’s easy to say ‘everyone else is bad, better choose my side’. But he refrains from that.
• Every now and then he makes time to go from house to house, meet ‘his’ people and listen: what are their problems, how can the city help them?
•  He comes from a hardworking, low social class family himself. He hasn’t got an ego that makes him feel better than anyone else. He’s human, like all of us, and doesn’t try to make anyone believe anything else than just that.
• He explains difficult matters in simple words. He doesn’t hide behind terminology.
For all of these reasons I feel we have the best mayor in the world. I truly hope he wins. (By Ellen C, Ghent)

Comment: I am so happy with the fact that our major Daniël Termont has been shortlisted by you. He is a magnificant mayor. I am going to tell you why he is the best. I am a student and I mailed our mayor asking him if I could see him and talk to him about political affairs. He answered me immediatly and one week later I sat in his office. He also came to my class to answer our questions. He is personally involved and he always answers our mails. He is always there and you can aks him everything. He makes time for us and is interested in what we think. He took and takes a lot of initiatives against discrimination, racism and stereotypes. Also he has started little business economie companies to activate people and give work to people without degree. (By Sarah E, Ghent)

Comment: I know Daniel since I was a squadron commander in the 349 Belgian Air Force Squadron in 1999. This squadron has special ties with Ghent due to the liberation in the 2nd World War. Also, I was born an raised in Ghent and has personally witnessed the spectacular changes over the last 10 to 20 years, much of it realised under the authority of Daniel. As an astronaut from the European Space Agency and commander of the International Space Station, I had the opportunity to travel around the world and see, live and work in many cities. It gives me a perfect inside and outside view to vote for Daniel as best Mayor of the World. (By Frank De W, Ghent)

Comment: I want to vote from the bottom of my heart for our mayor Daniel Termont in the contest for the best Mayor. My reasons are simple and clear: Daniel continued the work that started under the previous mayour, Frank Beke. He continued to make Ghent a town of friendship between all people without discrimination of race, religion and social status. For the weaker persons in our society the town of Ghent developped special initiatives to help them to find a job or a habitation. Although this initiative needs a long term vision and that you cannot see the results immediately, Daniel Termont and his team work on it. (By Herwig D)

Comment: As a Belgian citizen born in the west of Flanders, I moved to Gent to study.  After I stayed for another ten years and started to found a family there.  Now we live abroad in Italy.  My memories of Belgium goes almost all to Gent.  The city remains in me an example that I use often when I talk about politics, social justice and economics.  The city is clean and nice, the police is of help, the economy does very well (it seems), there is a very social atmosphere, students make the city young and full of expectation, immigrants seem to integrate well thanks to seemingly smart integration politics, the city is relatively save, the people are very open minded, there is a big attention for ecology that goes along with economical welfare, … and what is more: everybody can be himself without be judged for it.  A great deal of this is due to the Mayer that is present in the city, has a big network but doesn’t move away to Brussels (the national or international politics), follows what happens, finds the balance between social, liberal and ecological measures, …  It doesn’t matter what party they’re from, the world needs men as Termont. (By David M, Italy)

Comment: Burgemeester Termont vindt ik een enorme goede burgemeester is in Gent. Hij is sociaal en helpt waar hij kan en is in de eerste plaat een mens met een hart op de juiste plaats en helpt iedereen en staat altijd klaar voor zijn inwoners . (By Karel S)

Comment: I live in Ghent. Termont is very popular. He really cares about his city and it's strangeness. Ghent is a strange place. It just don't fit Belgium. The mentality is bigger then in Belgium. Poeple care more about eachother and we all just want to get forward. We care about nature, we care about culture, we care about architect, we care about music, friendship, and so much more. We like to get togheter and enjoy live, eachother and our city. We like to celebrate. In a city with 10.000 people, that's not easy. We live close to eachother and we all need to get allong, even if we have a lot of cultures. (By T)

Comment: I've lived in a few cities in different countries over the years (Groningen and Amsterdam in The Netherlands, York in the UK and Luebeck in Germany). In Ghent, there is a perfect mix of young (students, often staying here after their studies), middle-aged and older people living in this city. This makes it a very lively place to be in, socially as well as culturally. The city has good plans to maintain and improve the city life (e.g. making the center (even) more bike-friendly, building new social housing, etc.), thanks to a coalition between the socialist party and the green party in the city council. (By Koen V, Ghent)
Comment: For me Mr. Termont deserves the title ‚Best Mayor’ because he lives and breathes the city of Ghent. Also, he is a dedicated mayor, very approachable, and being mayor is his principle job. (By Nathalie D, Amsterdam)

Comment: Gent is een heel leuke stad en onder zijn bestuur nog vriendelijker geworden. Zelf ken ik hem enkel uit de media, maar ik weet dat hij een heel hard werkend en bereikbaar iemand is met het hart op de juiste plaats en oog voor het algemeen belang, zonder daarom voorbij te gaan aan de kleine problemen waar ieder individu kan worden mee geconfronteerd. Ik woon op een 40-tal kilometer van Gent, maar ga er wel werken en neem er af en toe ook deel aan het sociale leven. (By Jan De M)

Comment: I support Daniel Termont because he is a man with a vision, a vision about the world, about Ghent and about what a big, but livable, city should look like. And he succeeded in creating it. He is charismatic in his very own way. I don't know anybody who doesn't like him as a mayor. I hope he will be elected the world's best mayor because he is. He deserves this title.
I'm a student from Kortrijk, currently studying and living in Ghent, and I find this city the most livable, most enjoyable city in Belgium, with attention for small things, that can make a city that much more livable for everyone. Mayor Termont is approachable and does his best to help everyone out. There is time for "small" problems that mean a lot for a lot of people in everyday life, like creating small green places in the city, or places where people can meet. He is concerned with his city AND its people, in a very honest way. He is not just concerned with next elections. In short, he is the best that ever happened to Ghent! (By Lore G, Ghent)

Comment: Ghent is widely known for being a warm city. This is not only thanks to the people of Ghent, but in no small part also thanks to their mayor.
All of the good things you can say about Ghent are also true for the personality of Daniël Termont. Warm and genial, plenty of stories to tell and concerned for everyone’s wellbeing.
Daniël Termont is a man of the people, who also looks at the world around him with a keen eye. He has managed to instil an international flair in his city, without it losing touch with its people. He works for the 250,000 people of Ghent as though he were in charge of a small town of 2,000 inhabitants. Daniël is one of the few politicians who manage to both tackle the high-level problems and listen to the minor and major concerns of his fellow city-dwellers. While he is busy drawing up a long-term vision for his beloved city, at the same time he will get personally involved in fixing the broken tiles of a sidewalk, reorganising the garbage collection or settling a neighbours’ dispute about an overhanging branch.
There is no one better than Daniël at practicing the art of what we call in French ‘une politique de proximité’. This is the key to building up a close and genuine connection with your residents and therefore a successful local policy.
A city like Ghent deserves a mayor like Daniël Termont. And Daniël deserves a city like Ghent. And the title of World Mayor 2014! (By Christophe R, Brussels)

Comment: I would like to nominate Daniel Termont, mayor of Ghent, as the world's best mayor. As I am a citizen of Ghent I think I am well placed to do this. Mayor Termont is very down to earth, responds to e-mails and text messages from citizens himself instantly, while devoting every minute of his time for the city and its inhabitants. He knows every area of the city, comes from a social neighbourhoud himself and worked his way up with his easy-going, no-nonsense style and approach. Our mayor has a great sense of humour and speaks the local dialect perfectly. Apart from that, he made Ghent one of the most popular, ecologically friendly and nicest places to live. Making the center of town a car-free zone is a very good example of how a once not so popular measure is now excepted and applauded to by everyone. Our mayor has the guts and the will to change things for the better, even if it could effect his popularity. But in the long run all citizens benefit from the measures taken.
In short, although I like to travel the world, there is no city I would rather live in than Ghent. And that is mainly due thanks to mayor Termont! (By Sofie M, Ghent)

Comment: Well done in nominating Daniel Termont on the shortlist of best mayor in the world. He is (and so was his predecessor) a socialist mayor in the true sense of the word.
In Ghent people talk about ‘our mayor’, not ‘the mayor’, most even call him Daniel, by his Christian name. Together with his collegues in the city council (he is a team player), he makes sure Ghent is an open, safe, green and child friendly city. He must be one of the most accessible, if not, THE most accessible mayor in the world. He answers his tweets, his e-mails, knows everyone by name. There are probably a lot of elaborate e-mails about his accomplishments. You’ve probably also read how Ghent is the only socialist-green enclave in a sea of nationalism…well, that is mainly thanks to Termont. I’ll keep my e-mail short, and let me emphasize on how incredibly cool it is that our mayor arrives by bike, checks his tweets from citizens while entering a board room full of top managers, says hello to the cleaning lady on his way to the stage and starts his talk in 4 languages about the most difficult of subjects with a joke. He’s the best mayor in the world. (By Nathalie D, Ghent)

Comment: Yeah !! This dude is the coolest Mayor one can imagine!!! Every time i have a question about the city, I can email him and i get a personal answer within 5 minutes!! He’s even active on Twitter, and replies to every question people have for him!!! (By Eva, Ghent)

Comment: I have lived in Ghent for 5 years under the mayorship of D. Termont. Due to his political views, he made sure to depolarise the social classes in the city. I watched homeless people talk to well-dressed citizen on benches. There is a general understanding and respect towards each other, whatever the financial background. (By Bert H, Antwerp)

Comment: I'd like to support the candidacy of Mayor Termont for the 2014 World Mayor Prize. I was a fan of the previous mayor as well, who was a distinguished and culturally engaged person. However, with the appointment of Mayor Termont as Mayor I realised that the previous mayor was more of a mayor for the middle class, whereas Daniel Termont is everyone's mayor. I grew up in Gent (came to it as an immigrant when I was 5), studied there, and moved 4 years ago to Brussels for work. My parents, brother and many friends still live there so I return often. (By Milica P, Brussels)

Comment: Since more than 25 years I travel around the world with the renowed dance-theater company: les ballets C de la B. So I had the chance to compare my hometown Gent with many other cities of the world. None could live up to Gent! I've witnessed how Gent has changed from e dull and dirty post industrial little town to an amazing place where a good balance between working - living and enjoying a rich cultural life has been found. A good balance also between preserving history and allowing new initiatives to be develloped, with high commitments towards local inhabitants as wel as new comers, preserving an own identity and being open to and communicating with the rest of the world ... Daniël Termont is one of the many mayors I witnessed in Gent, but I have never seen one who's engagement and commitment to his city and his citicens has been higher than his. He has been asked so many times to combine his job with a national political engament, but he has always refused because he believed one could never do both as good. His priority is Gent. He is also one of these rare persons in his function who is also very approachable and always answers directly and personally to mails being sent to him ... Certainly my number one mayor! (By Alain P)

Comment: I would like to see the mayor of my student city, Gent, to win this competition because he is humble, yet interested in the best interest in his city which he fights for in a just way. He is in very direct contact with the people of Ghent and does all he can do to take everyone’s opinion seriously. He is also working with the greens now to make Gent a more pro-environmental city which is crucial in this day and age and also supports the votes of the younger generation that is growing in Ghent. On top of that he always tries to keep the balance between new and old citizens of Belgium, students and working people, families and singles etc… to create a huge (and one that’s getting bigger and bigger) and social community.(By Wout D)

Comment: I think I can be very brief in telling you why Termont deserves to be the best mayor of the world. Ghent is a city that embraces pluralism, not only by words but also by deeds! Instead of being scared of other cultures, the city of Ghent tries to foster other norms and values.

Ghent is a city that is alive! Unlike other medieval city’s, the city doesn’t fall asleep when the sun goes down. I believe that this is because the city of Ghent encourages cultural projects and creates innovative and refreshing events. Ghent is a dynamic city, that tries to combine modernity with history. Although this isn’t always to the liking of others, the city of Ghent remains bold. Termont is not only the mayor but especially a true citizen of Ghent and he deserves to be rewarded for that. (By Pieter-Jan D G)

Comment: I would like to support my mayor, Daniël Termont, because I think he should be voted best mayor in the world. I myself live in G(h)ent, so I have very good reasons for supporting Daniël Termont.

• Firstly, as I noticed you knew, Daniël Termont was elected to reside in the Flemish Parliament, but didn't want to do so, no, he wanted to stay mayor of Gent, which is truly what he is designed to do.
• Secondly, Daniël Termont spends every Sunday going to the homes of those people, who have filed a complaint about anything during the week. He personally goes to their homes and talks to and more particularly with them.
• Thirdly, he really is the "mayor" of Gent, nobody speaks as the Gent dialect any better than he can, everyone knows and loves him because of that (even when people from outside of Gent can't understand him entirely, they still "fall in love" with him). At this moment, the president of the party Termont belongs to, is sharply critised and he will probably have to take a step back. Daniël Termont is named as one of the (possible) successors, because he lives for the people (which is truly an admirable feature and matches the original party's foundations).
• Fourthly, Daniël Termont is always approachable, and if not he himself, he always make sure that your complaint/question/whatever is dealt with.
• Fifthly, during the elections of 2012 the slogan of Daniël Termont's party was "samen Gentenaar" (together citizens of Ghent"). This is entirely what this man stands for: he loves Gent, he lives Gent, he is Gent. (By Linde B, Ghent)

Comment: I vote for Mayor Daniël Termont as World Mayor for many reasons.
Ghent harbours a wide range of people. Thousands of students, young couples, families with children, seniors, etc. Mayor Termont seems to have found the perfect balance between providing great initiatives for all of the people. Parks for families, activities for families, a social policy for everyone, etc. Daniël Termont is a ‘Mayor of the people’ and always tries to take into account the interest of all his citizens. Daniël Termont for President! Or World Mayor. (By Fauve, Ghent)

Comment: I usually never vote for elections like this, reading in the newspaper Mr Termont is nominated on the shortlist however, I decided to support his nomination and take a few minutes to motivate myself.

Living in Flanders, a part of a complex Belgium. There have just been national and regional elections, showing the main differences between the southern and northern part of Belgium again. In the north people tend to vote very right wing, supporting a party that wishes to let go of Belgium and make Flanders independent. The southern part votes left wing, wishes to remain one nation.

An exception in this voting behavior is Ghent, a city in Flanders. There will be several reasons for this difference. Ghent is a student town where many young people tend to stay. Most of them vote left wing, they vote according to their ideals and the kind of society they wish to live in. A society that is liveable for all kinds of people, a society that puts a lot of effort in those who are weaker. The father of this party in Ghent is Mr Termont. I believe his personality, the ideals he stand for, and the way he engages himself are reasons why Ghent has a totally different voting behavior than the rest of Flanders.

Daniel Termont is completely devoted to Ghent. Most politicians combine different jobs (as only to benefit more). Mr Termont always made a point to engage himself 100% to Ghent. Even if he could have a job in the regional or national government; he stays in Ghent like a captain on his ship. A admire this engagement and devotion, especially because he would be perfectly capable of climbing higher on the political ladder. (By Katrijn V K, Ghent)

Comment: I have been living in Ghent for over 30 years and have to say that I’m very proud of my city and Mayor Termont. Thanks to his efforts and policies Ghent has been a place to enjoy the city-centre. He has revalidated open spaces in the centre, made the centre of the city a nice and appealing place to be and live. Being the 3rd biggest city of Belgium (I know, we’re small and not that densely populated)… we still are a city in which you can get a ‘hello’ from a stranger in the streets. We talk to the stranger sitting next to us on the public transport (admittedly, not all the time). And once a year we have one of the biggest street fairs in the world, with free shows, concerts, workshops etc. Thanks to this positive climate/attitude in the city you feel safe and criminality is low!
I would love to invite every one of you to come to Ghent and feel the atmosphere… you will understand how the local government has helped the city and its’ inhabitants to enjoy the centre and feel good living in the city! (By Jet V, Ghent)

Comment: Termont is a great person and at the same time a commoner, he gave away his parliament seat to focus for a 100% on his city. Every weekend he commits to home visits to listen to his citizens. He was able to turn Ghent into a mixture of cosiness, entrepreneurship, ecology, focus on families in the city center by closing small streets for children to play during holidays. I was born in Antwerp, but I'm proud to say that I live in the best city of the world in terms of quality of life here. (By Lieven H, Ghent)

Comment: I really think Daniel Termont should win this. For my job (I am an actress, presentor) I often see Daniel Termont speeching for happenings in our town. You feel in every word (and the way he says those words) that he is so involved, thats he loves his town and the inhabitants. He is not afraid to say the things as they are, to talk about problems openly. (Instead of talking around it, as so many politicians.)

He is a big man that is there for everyone. Always prepared to listen to the story's and the needs of the people. Not afraid to make discussions, always with a great view and mission: to make the town as nice as it can be to live in. Even when that meens thats he does the things in a whole different way than many others majors and politicians, he just stands up for his cases. (By Barbara C)

Comment: Daniel Termont is the best mayor! He always organizes new things, mostly ecological things. The last new thing is Ghent, is a take-away box that would be given to restaurants. Of course such a box is not a new idea, but it didn’t exist in Ghent yet. Reactions were that everybody knows the habit of taking left-overs from restaurant home but nobody did dare to ask. With this trendy box, created by an artist appointed by Termont, he hopes to help people getting over their fear of asking one and stop the throwing away of left-overs. Another thing I like about Termont is that he’s very very approachable, during a tv-show that makes cities combat against each other he let the candidates ‚kidnap’ him to win votes. („mijn pop-up restaurant”) (By J C, Lede and Ghent)

Comment: Daniel Termont should definitely win, because he’s the mayor who changed Ghent from being just one of the cities in Belgium with historical interest into what it is today. It’s alive and kicking ! You must have heard about all the awards and references in travel guides. But that is just one part of the story, in the mean time he is the person who tries to establish a social coherence, everybody is proud to be a “Gentenaar”(inhabitant of the city).

Furthermore, he is a person who unites people instead of dividing them. Everybody knows about the political situation in Belgium, some political parties are keen on splitting the nation, fortunately this is not the case in Ghent. You cannot think of Ghent without Daniel Termont, when you send him an e-mail about any problem your response is there within hours. I pity his wife because his life are his citizens.I dread the day when he retires, but then again, he will always be alive in all of our memories. From someone who is proud to live in the city he is mayor of. (By Mireille VS, Ghent)

Comment: Waarom is burgemeester Termont de beste van de wereld. Volgens mij is hij als inwoner van een wereldstad steeds opgewekt als hij contact heeft met zijn inwoners. Bovendien spreekt hij met een sappig Gents accent. Hij Is volgens mijn mening ook een bekwaam man. Gent mag fier zijn op zo een burgemeester die zijn stad op een uitstekend wijze op de kaart zet. Ik denk ook dat hij zijn dossiers voldoende kent en in de pers heb ik nog geen kritiek gelezen van deze man. Kortom de geschikte burgemeester van Gent en hij zal zeker niet misstaan als wereldburgemeester. (By Jean M, Ghent)

Comment: This may be a rather strange story but I believe Daniël Termont should become the best mayor and that for the next story. We're talking 2012, just after an electoral debate for the local elections (between Termont and other candidates) at the end of August. (Elections were in October). The debate took place in the suburb Oostakker in a local youth center. At that time I was working in Desteldonk (a mile from Oostakker and 9 miles from my house). I used to take the bus to Oostakker and then the bike to work. But my bike suffered from a puncture so I took the bus to the debate. After the debate I noticed that I missed my last bus and had to walk home, 8 miles, that is around 2 hours. After 1 mile I decided to try hitchhiking and the first car stopped. It was Termont with his Volvo. I told him my story about the puncture and he even made a detour on his route between the debate and his residence (in suburb Mariakerke) to drop me off near my house (near suburb Nieuw Gent).

I have no idea how many mayors would stop to pick up a hitchhiker at 11:15 pm but Termont did and that is why I think he is the best mayor in the world. Always helping the inhabitants of Ghent! (By Jeroen, Ghent)

Comment: I grew up in Zwijnaarde, on the outskirts of Ghent and studied in Ghent, many, many years ago. I visited Ghent late May - early June this year.

I was happily surprised about many things, but above all, about the signs I saw of the town being governed in a sensible way, appropriate and necessary for this century and the survival of our species: the right emphasis on public transport, bikes and pedestrians in the historical and commercial centre of town, and respect for the social needs of a town, recognizing that multiculturalism is the only acceptable way forward.

I fully support the mayor who is behind so many of these aspects of making Ghent a town which bridges medieval history and 21st century thinking in such an effective way. (By Christiaan R, Mississauga, Canada)

Comment: Our City of Ghent mayor, Daniël Termont, is simply the best. Thanks to him our city excels in good relations between people of different cultural backgrounds. He encourages every inhabitant to make Ghent a creative, open and tolerant city to be proud of and a very nice place to live in. We citizens love our popular mayor because he listens to our needs and dreams. (By Doris C)

Comment: I was born in Ghent in 1953 and saw many Mayors passing by. They all changed the city for the best especially the infrastructure of this beautiful town. However Daniel went further than infrastructure and services alone by personally and militantly keeping an eye on the social tissue of Ghent by advocating for the wellbeing of its weakest and most vulnerable citizens for the benefit of the whole city. By pro-actively fighting exclusion of all kinds of etnic and non etnic minorities and by being a servant for ALL.

That is also the reason why Ghent is more than ever a very hospitable multi-cultural town where extreme right and racist parties cannot get hold of during elections. Every inhabitant of Ghent is proud of his/her city and Daniel's tireless efforts to regularly promote all kinds of (multi)cultural events and integration events in the neighborhoods and communities of Ghent is simply exemplary for any other city in this world because bringing people together increases respect for each other and decreases the intolerance that is unfortunately to be found in too many other cities of the same size. (By Gerrit S, Rwanda)

Comment: Daniël Termont deserves to be the world's best mayor because he runs the city of Ghent with a very warm hart, bringing together all political opinions and working to serve all communities present in his hometown. He loves his city and its citizens, is a man of no nonsense and he has a great sense of humor. One minor shortcoming is his knowledge of English ... but he is a fast learner should he have to deliver an acceptance speech! (By Mieke T, Ghent)

Comment: We call Daniel Termont our "dad". Because he is, to us citizens. He takes care of us. He reprimands us when we neglect things. He treats us, all of us, like equals. Rich or poor, black or white. He makes blunt choices for his city. He weighs in. He is impressive, because he is honest, and he cares. He comes from a trailer home. He has known poverty. He cares for the planet, he can start a revolution from his backyard, from his desk. We do not care about politics when we see him, we see a father. We respect him, because he respects every single one of us. He is one of us. And above all: he is so warm hearted, and so so funny. One of the folk. We adore him. (By Els D P)

Comment: Daniël Termont is de enige gemeentelijke politicus die er in geslaagd is in een provincie hoofdstad in Vlaanderen, een breed progressief front te vormen door de ecologisten van GROEN, te laten samengaan met de Sociaal Democraten van de SP.a. Hij is ook de enige politicus die zich 'samen' met een Vlaamse en Belgische politicus van allochtone afkomst op één affiche toonde om dat progressief project te promoten, tijdens de meest recente gemeenteraadsverkiezingen (2012).

Het spreekt voor zich dat hij daarmee in Gent een ruime overwinning behaalde. In Gent zijn begrippen zoals solidariteit, gelijke kansenbeleid, armoedebestrijding, de strijd tegen racisme en xenofobie en de strijd tegen egoïsme en verzuring, geen loze begrippen. (By Edward W, Brussels)

Comment: Daniel Termont should be elected 'best mayor' because he is much loved by the inhabitants of Ghent. He is 'a man of the people', he says the right things on the right moment.

One small example : I saw one speach of him live 2 years ago : When my son was having his 'spring celebration', the ritual at 12 years when they go out of primary school (catholics do the 'communion', agnosts like us do an alternative)(many of us in Ghent). In Ghent there are a couple of hundred teenagers celebrating this ritual in an aula at the university. There are several speeches. I remember that the speech of Daniel Termont then, was one of the headlines for my son and his friends : directed to the youth, with nice examples, and wicked humour they understand. It was so nice to see the effort of Daniel to be there, to talk to them, and to inspire them.

But not only what he is talking about, he also represents the socialist party, that is huge in Ghent for many many years (decades, centuries). The mayor before him (socialist also) was more 'academic', he is more 'from the people'. Of course we have to deal with a lot of problems in the city (like every city) (and we have many Roma). He tries to get the most efficient help to our city to solve the problems. I don't know by experience but he gives the feeling that you can easily talk to him about problems, and that gives a safe feeling. We like him a lot! And it would be nice if he would be elected. (By Barbara V, Ghent)

Comment: I am a resident of Ghent, and it would be great to find out that my mayor would be the best in the world. For me he already is the best in the world. He feels what the man in the street wants/needs.

He sometimes has to make difficult decisions. Some blame him for that, but at the end of the day they have to agree with him. A city such as Ghent is no easy business. The way Daniel does it seems so easy. He takes the effort to listen to its residents and every email, twitter, he will personally answer. When you meet him at the supermarket he is approachable and he will listen to your problems. He is the best. (By Pascale, Ghent)

Comment: I am managing director in the City services since 22 years. I have worked with three different Mayors and with 7 Aldermen , during this period. Mister Termont is a very sincere man , very sociable , very hard working . He has courage and is a man of dialogue. He is incredibly accessible for every-one and always tries to help people in need. He has a lot of humour and loves the city where he is born as no other. (By Jan S, Ghent)

Comment: I was born and raised in Ghent. 
With this email I would like to tell you about our mayor Daniël Termont. He is a man of the people. Whenever you write him a mail, or you contact him in any other way, he always respond and try to help you when you have a problem or he answers you when you have a question.

For me personally, I really like him because of this: 
I work in the educational sector and when we organise projects in our schools, he is always willing of helping us to motivate our children. He does that by visiting the schools, or sometimes we get to film him in his office where he challenges the kids to participate in the project.

The way he communicates with people is very natural, open, correct and friendly.  People love him, that's for sure. You can tell it because, every year in January, he gives a New Year reception for the Ghent people. Thousands and thousands of people come to celebrate with him. When he gives his annual speech, it is humorous and, of course, he speaks in the real Ghent accent. 

It is very nice of you to nominate him. I hope he will win. He deserves it! (By Peggy T, Ghent)

Comment: Why he is a good Mayer: here are my conclusions
• He is as a Mayor like a Specialist Surgeon – his knowledge of the city – its problems/its needs/its advantages etc… he knows his city and the people – and like any good Surgeon – he takes all things in consideration – that is why 80% of the Ghent people gave his their vote – no importance of the political preferences.
• Also like a Specialist Surgeon, he knows when to STOP – he knows his strengths , and he does not go further then what he thinks is the best for the city – and what he is capable to do, he doesn’t get seduced by taking more taskes in Belgium Gouvernement but stays trough to what he is as a personne, and is able to do – he knows his limits and that is a great Strenght!
• We have because of his team the most beautifull Football station in the world – we have our “Gentse Feesten” – we have a city that is full of creative people – we have Peace!
• With the University Ghent is a haven for all students all over the world it alowes all students to feel SAVE in a nice Ambiance – Savety is High in Ghent,
• He is able to speak to all people – and one very IMPORTANT thing, he answers ALL his mails (ALWAYS) – Sms & Telephones – from the simple man to the business man – he takes all his time in giving attention to everyone – that is now a days very impressive, and it gives him again the possibility as a Surgeon to know everything what is going on in his City. (By Michele M, Ghent) 

Comment: Hij is een burgemeester van en voor het volk. Hij maakt tijd om te luisteren. Ook al is zijn tijd beperkt. Hij heeft ook al veel goed gedaan voor onze stad. En kijk nu naar hem. Hij is een volks mens. Hij moet gewoon winnen. (By Chanthal)

Comment: I want to vote voor Mr. Termont because he is a mayor who stands close to his people. For example a couple of weeks ago we sended him an email with the question to mow the grass/Nettle at a playground in our neighberhood. A day later we had answer that he asked it to the gardeners of Ghent (we had prove because we could see the emailtraffic). After two weeks we had another email from mr. Termont that the grass was gone en that from now one they are going to do it every two weeks (again with the mailtraffic asprove). I went to the playground en my kids could play save thans to mr. Termont. Pardon my bad English writing. (By Anke T, Ghent)

Comment: Hello. Our mayor should be elected “best mayor of the world” because of:
- his wits, they are extremely disarming.
- his “hands-on” politics (he used to be a popular salesman of household-electronics and pots and pans (or something like that)): result is what matters but it can do no harm having fun while achieving it.
- his streetwise intellectuality, overruling the former left-wing-upperclass-academic socialist mayors before him with a sort of street-holistic approach to problems
- and so on…
And Ghent is the best place to live in between Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, …Viva Daniel!!! (By Hugo V)

Comment: I vote for my Mayor because he both puts the lively city of Ghent on the world map (top 10 ranking in Lonely Planet ) and he does a lot of effort to give everyone who arrives in Ghent a warm welcome. Using small projects among neighbours makes the Turkish community communicate with the other immigrants, ranging from Antwerp ( as myself) to China.

Ghent is a beautiful city though due to the decisions of our city government, it is no museum, it's a lively city where students bike amongst families, where cultural events happen on a daily basis and where children get good education and after school activities. Sport, circus, environment, trying to unknot the mobility problem, trying to educate newcomers, sponsoring small warm initiatives makes me vote for this Mayor! (By Inge v H)

Comment: Daniel Termont should win this prize, because…
• He has a very direct no-nonsense style op communicating
• He is a good peoples manager
• He is very accessible for all people of his town
• He manages to approach complex problems from a non-political, pragmatic angle, looking for solutions in stead of deadlock
• He looks for collaboration with stakeholders
• His administration pioneers new initiatives
• He invests in his administration, building capacity to tackle complex problems of city-environment in a densely populated area (Flanders) (By Tim V, Belgium)

Comment: I study in Ghent, I live in Bruges. Termont is the best mayor in the world because he knows every single person in his city, good or bad, and does everything in his power to improve the lives of the citizens and improve the image of Ghent. His life IS Ghent, Ghent is his life. (By A D J, Belgium)

Comment: Daniel Termont should win the World Mayor Prize because he makes me even more proud of my homecity Ghent. I'm living in France since 4 years but lived for 4 years in Ghent and the rest of my young life near to Ghent. Thanks to the beauty and the genious of the city but also thanks to Daniel Termont and his warm, open, funny and close-to-ALL-the-inhabitants management of the city, Ghent is the only Belgian city who makes me ray of pride when I tell my French friends about my homecountry. Daniel's Termont message is POSITIVE, and only therefore already he deserves the title. (Lies V, France)

Comment: Termont is a very good mayor. I myself i live in Ghent and I went to Brazil for a year 4 years ago. I needed a document signed by the mayor and he himself came to sign it and wish me goodluck for my year in brasil. This year in January i met him again and he still knew who i was. When he saw me he asked me how my stay in Brazil had been. Very thought full! Also he answers all his emails himself. He is very good to newcomers in the city of Ghent, strict but always correct. He is always around his people and a very normal person. (By Roxanne J, Ghent)

Comment: Ghent has proven over the last decade that it's capable of dealing with the present day problems of a city that sees new economical potential and yet also has a historic integrity to maintain. The government of Termont has acted efficiently to achieve these things. It also continuous a tradition of openness and tolerance towards other cultures. This tolerance stands in contrast to the more and more right-wing political landscape in most of the rest of Flanders. In Ghent insecurity about new elements in society is met with dialog, conscious-making and stimulation. In other places politicians all too often try to sooth the public with vague promises of more security, without actually tackling the root of these thus perceived conflicts of cultures, which is the lack of a common frame of reference.

For this and for to many reasons to sum up here I honestly think Termont should become World Mayor! (By Pieter V, Ghent)

Critical comments:
Comment: I would like to take this opportunity to vote *against* Daniel Termont. I have two reasons for this.

First: Under his mayorship the so called 'stadshal' was erected, a three-million euro structure in the historic heart of the city. The initial communication regarding the project (UNESCO was not informed), its location and aesthetic pleasantness have been repeatedly challenged, but my main issue with this project is that the wood from an endangered tropical tree (afromosia) was used. Should Termont become world mayor, this would be a signal that it is OK to plunder the world's resources for local benefit. This is a violation of the very first article in your code of ethics. 

Second: Termont has adopted the policy that students form a nuisance for 'real' inhabitants and that student housing should be moved to the outskirts of the city. The homes they currently rent should instead go to young families. This will be accomplished by an additional tax on renting rooms to students. 

I object this policy because it unfairly places students in a bad light and ignores the benefits the student population brings (spending in the local economy, cultural events, reduction in car use, ...) As a student I also have experienced first-hand how the commute in and out of the city is, and it is far less pleasant than how Termont represents it in every interview and debate on the issue. Of course most students cannot vote in local elections, while young families can. 

Should Termont become world mayor, this would be a signal that it is OK to disfavor a certain group of people (with no right to vote) to appeal to the electorate. In a way this is a violation of the second article in your code of ethics, as behavior of a group of people is generalized and used as an excuse to take action against them. (By Tom C, Ghent)

World Mayor

The philanthropic City Mayors Foundation awards the World Mayor Prize every two years to a mayor who has made outstanding contributions to his / her community and has developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world. The Prize has been awarded since 2004.

Anyone voting for a mayor is also asked to consider whether his / her candidate is likely to agree to the City Mayors Code of Ethics. Mayors wishing to be considered for the World Mayor Prize will be asked to sign up to the Code.

Votes must be accompanied by a thoughtful supporting statement.

2014/15 Timetable
First-round nominations were accepted until the middle of May 2014. A longlist of 121 candidates was published on 22 May. A shortlist of 26 nominees was announced on 18 June 2014. A second round of voting will take place between now and the middle of October. The winner of the 2014 World Mayor Prize and other results of the World Mayor Project were announced on 3 February 2015.

The philanthropic City Mayors Foundation, the international think tank on urban affairs, organises the World Mayor Project and awards the World Mayor Prize. The Prize, which has been given since 2004, honours mayors with the vision, passion and skills to make their cities incredible places to live in, work in and visit. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.

The organisers of the World Mayor Project are looking for city leaders who excel in qualities like: leadership and vision, management abilities and integrity, social and economic awareness, ability to provide security and to protect the environment as well as the will and ability to foster good relations between communities from different cultural, racial and social backgrounds. Mayors wishing to be considered for the World Mayor Prize will be asked to sign up to the City Mayors Code of Ethics.

The winner receives the artistically acclaimed World Mayor trophy, while the runner-up is given the World Mayor Commendation.

Winners and runners-up
2004 to 2014

In 2014: Winner: Naheed Nenshi (Calgary, Canada); First runner-up: Daniël Termont (Ghent, Belgium); Second runner-up: Tri Rismaharini (Surabaya, Indonesia)

In 2012: Winner: Iñaki Azkuna (Bilbao, Spain); Runner-up: Lisa Scaffidi (Perth, Australia); In third place: Joko Widodo (Surakarta, Indonesia)

In 2010: Winner: Marcelo Ebrard (Mexico City, Mexico); Runner-up: Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City, USA); In third place: Domenico Lucano (Riace, Italy)

In 2008: Winner: Helen Zille (Cape Town, South Africa); Runner up: Elmar Ledergerber (Zurich, Switzerland); In third place: Leopoldo López (Chacao, Venezuela)

In 2006: Winner: John So (Melbourne, Australia); Runner up: Job Cohen (Amsterdam, Netherland); In third place: Stephen Reed (Harrisburg, USA)

In 2005: Winner: Dora Bakoyannis (Athens, Greece); Runner-up: Hazel McCallion (Mississauga, Canada); In third place: Alvaro Arzú (Guatemala City, Guatemala)

In 2004: Winner: Edi Rama (Tirana, Albania); Runner-up: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico City, Mexico); In third place: Walter Veltroni (Rome, Italy)