The Chicago Council Plans Suite of Activities on NATO and G8 Summits


In May 2012, Chicago will host more than 50 country delegations when President Barack Obama welcomes world leaders to his home town for the NATO summit. As one of the two principal partners of World Business Chicago’s Host Committee, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is offering a suite of activities designed to connect the public to the global discourse. The Council's spring programming related to the G8 summit also will go on as scheduled, as the topics remain important to our region, the U.S., and the world. 

Working with local and international partners, The Chicago Council will contribute substantively to the policy discussions informing the summits and provide a public education platform for Chicagoans to consider the pressing international issues. Learn more about the Council's activities at thechicagocouncil.org/2012summits.

The Council was founded in 1922 to serve as an impartial forum in Chicago for world leaders, policymakers, and experts to discuss foreign affairs. With this 90 year history, the Council is an essential resource for Chicagoans interested understanding the most important topics facing NATO and G8 member nations.

Public Education – The Chicago Forum

What is NATO’s relevance to America’s interests? What is the value to the global economy of a summit that brings together leaders of the G8 industrial nations? Through two public program speaker series and a special section on its website, the Council will provide opportunities for Chicagoans to engage in the dialogue.

    • "In Jeopardy? Europe and the Transatlantic Alliance" focuses on the future of the transatlantic alliance, global economic issues, and conflict and security strategies in multiple arenas. Confirmed speakers include: U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ivo Daalder (March 1), British Ambassador to the U.S. Sir Peter Westmacott (March 21), former Ambassador to NATO R. Nicholas Burns (March 28), former NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (April 17),  Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf  (April 23), and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright (May 2).
    • "On the Summits: Perspectives from Global Leaders" gives Chicagoans an opportunity to hear from visiting leaders. Confirmed speakers include: White House officials, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and Ben Rhodes, and ambassadors from Central and Eastern European countries (April 26); Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (May 19); Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski and EU Foreign Affairs Chief Baroness Catherine Ashton (May 20); Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Czech President Vaclav Klaus (May 22).
    • A special section of the Council's website thechicagocouncil.org/2012Summits offers resources, including multimedia content from Chicago Council public programs and information on its international conferences; expert commentaries by Chicago thought leaders; exclusive interviews with Senior Fellow Richard Longworth, a former chief European correspondent with the Chicago Tribune; and a dynamic news feed that is curated daily and draws upon 200+ media and academic sources.

    Leadership Dialogue – Conferences

    The Chicago Council is hosting five international conferences (four in Chicago and one in Washington, D.C.) in advance of the summits for academics, thought leaders, corporate executives, and policy practitioners. 

    • "Smart Defense: Can a Lean NATO Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century?" (March 28-30, 2012) focuses on the challenges confronting the alliance in a time of changing threats and constrained resources. Papers commissioned for this conference will be released in advance of the NATO Summit. The Council is organizing the conference with a consortium of partner institutions from NATO member countries including Canada, France, Turkey, Poland, Germany, and the UK. 
    • "The New Alliance to Increase Food Security and End Hunger" (May 18, 2012 in Washington, DC), the Council’s third annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, takes place the day before the G8 meet and will consider how to extend the commitments made at the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila Italy, where 26 nations and 14 international organizations pledged $20 billion over three years to promote agricultural development. 
    • "Developing Talent to Drive Innovation in a Global Society: 5th Global University Summit Program" (April 29-May 1, 2012) examines the major global social challenges facing higher education in the 21st century. The Council is partnering with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of premier research institutions from the Midwestern United States, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (a CIC-member university). 
    • "Conference on Restoring Global Economic Stability (May 2-4, 2012) assesses challenges confronting the global political economy, including financial turmoil, recessionary fears, macro-imbalances, popular protest over damaged social compacts, and rising political populism. The Chicago Council is partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Initiative on Markets at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and the Center for Macroeconomics at Northwestern University to organize the conference, and will release a summary around the time of the G8 Summit to help inform conversations.
    • "Young Atlanticist Summit" (May 18-21, 2012), organized in partnership with The Atlantic Council, includes 50-75 young leaders, between 26-35 years of age, recruited from all NATO countries and some partner countries. Taking place at the same time as the official NATO Summit, the Young Atlanticist Summit will be a major diplomacy event, and will connect emerging leaders from North America, Europe, and other relevant regions with one another and with today’s Alliance leaders.  

    Media Relations

    A major component of the Council’s G8 and NATO activities is building relationships with the 2,000+ journalists who will cover the summits. 
    • A special section of the Council’s website thechicagocouncil.org/2012summits offers resources, including multimedia content from Chicago Council public programs and information on its international conferences; expert commentaries by Chicago thought leaders; exclusive interviews with Senior Fellow Richard Longworth, a former chief European correspondent with the Chicago Tribune; and a dynamic news feed that is curated daily and draws upon 200+ media and academic sources.
    • The Chicago Council and Community Media Workshop at Columbia College created ChicagoStories.org, a website that provides visiting international journalists with local resources on Chicago’s history, life, culture, ethnic communities, and institutions. The site also features story frames about Chicago for interested journalists. To learn more, please contact Nadine Apelian Dobbs or call 312.821.6847.
    • The Chicago Council, in partnership with The Poynter Institute and DePaul University, hosted a training session on March 19-21 that was geared toward helping reporters in the Midwest learn more about how to bring global stories, like the NATO and G8 summits, home to their local audiences. Council Senior Fellow Richard Longworth guided them on speakers and topics.

Support for The Chicago Council’s NATO and G8 activities has been provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, The Cooper Family Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Abbott, Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, DePaul University, DuPont, Elanco, Finmeccanica, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Land O’Lakes, Inc., ManpowerGroup, Monsanto, NATO, New Venture Fund, Northern Trust, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Saab, and Walmart.

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