December 3, 2018 | By Iain Whitaker

Podium Notes: Happy Birthday Illinois

 

On December 3, 2018, Illinois turns 200. It’s a significant milestone and one that generated a short but robust debate within the Council’s Programs team over whether it should be marked with some kind of event. “What’s the global angle?” skeptical colleagues asked. Geographically speaking it’s a fair question. Find the State Capitol building in Springfield on Google Maps then scroll out: you’ll have to spin that little wheel on your mouse one and a half revolutions before you even see another country (Canada, inevitably).

Yet this patch of the Great Plains has had an outsize influence on the world, and on the occasion of the bicentennial it seems worthy of a recap:

Global Leaders. Perhaps Illinois' greatest gift to the world are the locally-raised leaders who have left an indelible mark upon it. Ronald Reagan, Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and the Adlai Stevenson political dynasty are just some of the state's history-making children. And although they were born elsewhere, Illinois shaped the formative years of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama's lives, so we claim them both too.

Global Feeders. Journey from the swirling confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to the shores of Lake Michigan and you'll pass a lot of corn and beans. Illinois is the third largest exporter of agricultural goods among US states, and number one for processed foods. The state is feeding people and livestock in almost every country, and as the number one producer of ethanol, we’re keeping their cars running too.

Global Innovators. An inordinate number of multinational corporations call the Land of Lincoln home, including Abbott, ADM, Boeing, Caterpillar, Deere, McDonalds, Motorola, United Airlines, and Walgreens. Their products and services have brought people closer together, changed how they work, and boosted their body mass. All said, the Land of Lincoln has really excelled at creating an environment where people want to make stuff: the cast steel plow, barbed wire, the cell phone, Playboy, the Wienermobile, the skyscraper, and the Solo cup are just a small assortment of Illinois' multifarious gifts to the world. And let’s not forget Fermi Lab and Argonne National Laboratory, where they are engineering solutions that just might save us all from climate change, cyber-attack, or assorted other global catastrophes in waiting. 

..and Educators. More than 10,000 international students from 110 countries attended the University of Illinois last year. The state’s universities have long been magnets for students from across the world, and these schools have stacked up a mountain of patents and Nobel prizes as they created everything from nuclear fusion and Freakonomics, to Lyrica, and the first consumer web-browser. Today Illinois’ universities have gone truly global. For example the University of Chicago now operates centers in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, France, India, and the United Kingdom.

Home to the world. Illinois has offered a home to people from all over the world. It’s often said that Chicago is home to the largest populations of Assyrians, Czechs, and Poles outside of their homelands, as well as many other nationalities. In a more literal sense Illinois actually contains the world: We have a Peru and a Lebanon, an Ottawa, Paris, and a Vienna. The southernmost portion of the state contains the towns of Cairo, Palestine, and Thebes and is known as “Little Egypt”. There’s even an unincorporated community called Passport in Richland County. Illinois may not have any land borders, but it has its own Passport.

So Happy Birthday Illinois, and thank you for your enduring global contributions. The Council won’t be throwing you a party, but someone on staff might well be getting one of these goodies in the Secret Santa.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.

Archive




| By Madeleine Nicholson

Fragile States and Pandemics: Why Preparedness Cannot Happen in a Vacuum

The second largest Ebola outbreak in history is raging on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and international response has been comparatively quiet. Given the DRC’s recent historical similarities to Sierra Leone, the country that suffered the most cases and deaths during the 2014 outbreak, it is imperative that the world take notice and provide a rapid and holistic response.


Wait Just a Minute: Karen Donfried

German Marshall Fund president and former member of the National Security Council, Karen Donfried answers questions on a post-Merkel Germany, if Russia can be contained without the United States, and why Americans should care about European affairs.




| By Brian Hanson, Lesley Carhart, Adam Segal

Deep Dish: Chinese Cyber Attacks and Industrial Espionage

The massive Marriott records breach was the latest in a series of economic espionage cases attributed to China. Top cybersecurity experts Lesley Carhart and Adam Segal join this week's Deep Dish podcast to discuss the evolving tactical and policy challenges involved in managing international cyber space.


Wait Just a Minute: David Sanger

David Sanger, national security correspondent and senior writer for the New York Times, answers questions on cyberattacks: why they've become the new weapon of choice for foreign adversaries, the most likely suspects behind the next cyberattack, and who he'd most like to interview on the subject.



| By Victoria Williams

Top 8 Most Watched Programs in 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we invite you to look back at the most watched Council programs of 2018.


| By Brian Hanson, Gregory Johnsen

Deep Dish: The War in Yemen

The war in Yemen has created one of the greatest unseen humanitarian tragedies in the world. It finally drew public attention after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, which triggered a debate about US involvement in the war.



| By Ivo H. Daalder

This Week's Reads: Russia's Crimea Campaign Enters the Kerch Strait

A recent incident between Russia and Ukraine in the Kerch Strait may seem minor, but the stakes are real. If this action by Russia goes unpunished, it could pave the way for Russia to take more territory in eastern Ukraine to establish a land-bridge between Russia and Crimea, which President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed in 2014.


| By Iain Whitaker

Podium Notes: 20 Eye-Opening Stats From the Council's 2018 Programs

Trade wars, false missile warnings, "babble fish earbuds", and Germany's World Cup whimper: 2018 was a year that sometimes defined description, at least in words. But the numbers tell a story of their own, so here's a smattering of startling stats mentioned on the Council's stage in 2018. To view the full clip, click on the numbers! (These figures were stated by guest speakers and have not been verified by the Council)