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WORLD MAYOR 2016
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ESSAYS BY
• Mayor of Aleppo
• Mayor of Amstelveen
• Mayor of Athens
• Mayor of Gdansk
• Mayor of Lahr
• Mayor of Mechelen
• Mayor of Schwäbisch Gmünd

PROFILES OF
• Mayor of Amstelveen
• Mayor of Athens
• Mayor of Cologne
• Mayor of Gdansk
• Mayor of Grande-Synthe
• Mayor of Lahr
• Mayor of Lampedusa
• Mayor of Lesbos
• Mayor of Mechelen
• Mayor of Schwäbisch Gmünd



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Henriette Reker
Mayor of Cologne, Germany
Awarded tenth place in World Mayor 2016

14 February 2017: Henriette Reker has been Mayor of Cologne (population 1.1 million) since October 2015. Standing as an independent but backed by the centre-right Christian Democrats, the pro-business Liberals and the Green Party, she won almost 53 per cent in the first round of the mayoral election. She is the city’s first female mayor.

One day before the election, while attending a campaign meeting, Henriette Reker was attacked and stabbed in the neck. Initially her condition was thought to be critical but after doctors operated and described her as stable, it was decided for the election to go ahead. The candidate from the Social Democratic Party suspended his campaign out of respect for his rival.

Germany’s federal public prosecutor pronounced the attack as political motivated after the attacker admitted to hating refugees. Prior to being elected Mayor, Reker was one of Cologne’s deputy mayors with special responsibility for refugees. When, in July 2016, her attacker received a 14-year prison sentence, Mayor Reker commented that she hoped he would come to understand that hate and violence don’t solve anything.

During the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, when Germany allowed hundreds of thousands of displaced people from Syria into the country, Henriette Reker attracted nation-wide attention for her un-orthodox measures of housing refugees. Her department bought hotels and commandeered public buildings, some of them listed, to accommodate families. She also campaigned against discrimination and racism.

Typical tribute:
Since becoming Mayor of Cologne in October 2015, Ms. Reker has continued her work in support of refugees. She has set up a department at the Mayor's Office tasked specifically with coordinating all refugee matters across the various municipal agencies and offices. She has also established an Ombudsperson for Refugees who is independent of the city administration and deals with any complaints refugees might have. On many occasions Ms. Reker emphasises the talents that refugees bring with them and the opportunities they offer to society, while not denying the challenges that also exist. Her approach is human and practical and she sets a very positive example in difficult times. MORE

Further reading:
TRIBUTES