Ahmed Aboutaleb (Beni Sidel, Morocco, 1961) has been mayor of Rotterdam since 2009. He was previously State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment for the Labour Party (PvdA) in the fourth Balkenende cabinet (2007-2008) and alderman in Amsterdam (2004-2007). At the age of fifteen, Aboutaleb came to the Netherlands with his mother and sisters for family reunification (his father was already living and working in the Netherlands). The family lived in The Hague where he attended, successively, LTS, MTS, and HTS [lower vocational technical school, technical secondary school and Technical College]. He graduated in 1987 in telecommunications. Ahmed Aboutaleb is a great lover of poetry. 1985 - 2007 In the mid-1980s, he started his journalism career. He was a moderator at RVU television, a programme developer at Radio Stad Amsterdam, Radio Noord-Holland and a reporter for Radio Veronica, NOS Radio and RTL4 news. In 1991, he switched over to government. He worked at the Ministry of Welfare Health and Culture, the Social Economic Council (SER) and the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). In 1998, he became director of FORUM Institute for Multicultural Development and, in 2002, the director of the sector Social Economic and Cultural Development (MEC) of the municipality of Amsterdam. Rotterdam Mayor Aboutaleb is a great advocate of the values that are enshrined in the Dutch Constitution: freedom of religion, freedom of expression and the principle of non-discrimination. He sees his city as a breeding ground for social and economic renewal, where residents and businesses from all over the world feel at home and take initiative. A city where it is not your origin that counts, but your talent, education and ambition.