Keynote Speaker: Mohamed Ridouani

Mayor | City of Leuven

Title of keynote: People are the solution, not the problem 

Date: 29th of May 2019

Abstract: Leuven is an open and connected city with many opportunities and where people have possibilities to get ahead. As mayor, I see it as my endeavour to nourish that openness and to create more opportunities to bring people together.  

I am a mayor for everyone, no exceptions. Leuven must grow further into a green empowering city where we embrace diversity as a force of positive change. In Leuven we care for each other, no matter what background, in openness and solidarity. 

People are the solution, not the problem. I believe in a city where you work together for the future, with everyone who feels involved. Time and time again I see that this works. We have to use each talent, from every background, in our city to come up with smart solutions. 

A society that gives room to dialogue and meeting and that cherishes openness and empathy between the various communities and cultures is stronger and more futureproof. The opposite – a society that thrives on polarisation, on division, even on hate is no option, if we want a prosperous future. 

These times demand leaders that connect, not divide. Leaders that can, in a firm fashion, bring everyone together and get them to cooperate to make society better. That’s only possible if we consciously choose for openness and connectivity, with attention for everyone, away from polarisation, division and hate.  

Mohamed Ridouani (39) is Mayor in the city of Leuven and was previously responsible for Education, Economy and Urban Development. 

Mohamed Ridouani is Leuven born. His parents migrated from Morocco to Leuven in the early 70’s. He graduated as a master in economics and completed a post graduate in international relations. He started his career as a business consultant at Deloitte. In 2007 Mohamed was elected to the city council for the Flemish Labour Party. He was immediately appointed as Deputy Mayor and therefore he left the business world to fully focus on his political duties. 

Together with the knowledge institutions in Leuven, Ridouani aims to reinforce the sustainable and innovative character of the city. 

He’s the inspirer of Leuven 2030, in which more than 300 companies, organizations and citizens are united to turn Leuven into a sustainable and CO2-neutral city by the year 2030. 

Ridouani is also the founder of the education council which conjoins everyone in the educational field to attain the best tuition possible for every child in Leuven. 

Ridouani also initiated Leuven MindGate, an economic platform with 400 members that will boost Leuven as the world’s hotspot for health, technology and creativity. 

Mohamed Ridouani was elected Mayor in October 2018. He stands for positive change and aims to turn Leuven into one of the most caring, green and prosperous cities in Europe, in cooperation with the citizens.