Mayor of Mechelen wins World Mayor Prize
16 February 2017
The mayor of Mechelen (Belgium), Bart Somers, has been awarded the 2016 World Mayor Prize, for his work in the field of refugees and migrants. Wolfgang G. Müller, Mayor of Lahr (Germany) and Georgios Kaminis, Mayor of Athens (Greece) are also on the podium.
Six other mayors also made it to the 2016 World Mayor Honours List.These are all mayors who, with their communities, “have made exceptional efforts to welcome refugees and integrate migrants.” Several of the mayors on this list have signed CEMR’s call for a real common European Asylum policy.
The organisers pointed out that with more than 128 different nationalities, Mechelen is one of the most diverse cities in Europe but it is also a city where first and foremost everyone is a citizen of Mechelen. They stressed that, apparently, none of the young Muslims in the commune had gone to fight in Syria or Iraq.
Bart Somers said: “Everyone should integrate. The 21st century reality is a reality of diversity and multiculturalism”. “What counts is not your origin, but your future,” he added.
The international World Mayor Project has been honouring exceptional mayors since 2004. The aim of the Project, founded and run by the London-based City Mayors Foundation, is not just to raise the profile of mayors, who have made significant contributions to cities nationally and internationally, but to involve as many people as possible from all parts of the world.
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