The Chicago Council on Global Affairs today announced it has received a $1.5 million grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to explore the increasingly influential role global cities have in shaping political, social, and economic policies and addressing critical world challenges.
“More than ever before, the world’s leading cities are driving national and global politics and the global economy,” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “With countries today at times polarized and paralyzed, global cities—those with the most significant concentration of business, education, civics, and culture—are the key actors shaping policies and advancing practical solutions to some of today’s most crucial challenges.”
To analyze this sea change and influence the way global cities approach this new reality, the Council is launching a major research and engagement initiative—the Global Cities Project. The project focuses on how global cities will drive policy decisions and international relations, and builds on the Council’s work on global cities, global agriculture and food security, the global economy, global immigration, global water, global security, global energy, and public opinion.
“We are proud to support the growing effort to study the impact that cities around the world will have in shaping our collective economic and political future,” said David Hiller, president and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “Those of us who live in Chicago understand how critical this effort will be to addressing the challenges cities face and how local leaders can develop models for change that have the potential to affect people around the world.”
Over the next three years, the grant will support a range of studies and efforts geared toward bringing leading international scholars and practitioners to Chicago; engaging civic leaders and experts to address common concerns and issues; and carrying out research questions to help city leaders identify innovative approaches to effectively address global policy challenges such as resource management and the water-energy-food nexus, unemployment and inequality, immigration, climate change, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, pandemics and public health, and security threats, among others.
“With this generous funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, we can convene a wide range of thought leaders to explore how global cities can drive economic growth, shape political and social policies, and solve problems in areas where national governments sometimes fail,” said Michele Wucker, vice president of studies at The Chicago Council.
The Global Cities Project will lead up to and build on the inaugural Chicago Forum on Global Cities, a three-day international conference that the Council will convene in May 2015 together with the Financial Times to bring together leaders from the four defining pillars of urban life—CEOs, mayors and community leaders, heads of cultural institutions, and educators—to wrestle with these issues. The Council will release more information on the Chicago Forum in the coming weeks.