News of: Friday, May 30 2008,
Job Cohen, the Mayor of Amsterdam, has been awarded the Martin Luther King Award. He is the first non-American citizen to receive the award.
Cohen received the award in the Heineken Music Hall, from Martin Luther King's nephew Isaac Newton Farris. It is the first time a non-American citizen receives the award.
Cohen receives the award because in 2001 he performed the first gay marriage, and because of his endeavours to bring ethnic communities closer together.
Together with the city aldermen and city council, Cohen distinguished himself in 2005 by preventing escalation after the murder (by a fundamentalist Muslim fanatic) of film director Theo van Gogh in November 2004. He led the city’s people in a street protest meeting, calling for unity and tolerance. Ever since the murder, which saw Cohen himself targeted by the assassin (who was arrested immediately), the mayor made an enormous effort to involve all inhabitants of Amsterdam – from all communities indiscriminately, in a tolerant, peaceful and open society without discrimination.
Cohen said he was honoured to receive the prize, saying Martin Luther King was one of first heroes.
Job Cohen, former mayor of Amsterdam