International Leaders to Initiate New Dialogue in Chicago on Global Cities

March 24, 2015
Leaders from the world’s global cities – London, Shanghai, Rio, Dubai, Sydney and others – will converge in Chicago May 27-29 to discuss how the increasing influence and concentration of resources of global cities can help solve some of the 21st century’s biggest challenges, including education, inequality, security and climate change.

Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, UN Development Program Administrator Helen Clark, Paulson Institute Chairman Henry Paulson and Council on Foreign Relations Co-Chairman and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin will join dozens of other international thought leaders at the inaugural Chicago Forum on Global Cities. This three-day, invitation-only forum, hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Financial Times, will bring together leaders from the major pillars of urban life: business innovators, education visionaries, cultural luminaries, civic pioneers – to discuss how they can collaborate to improve their cities and the world.

The Chicago Forum on Global Cities will facilitate a new international dialogue around the key elements of urban life and other relevant topics, including: how urbanization and climate change are converging in challenging ways; how leading cities can help develop solutions addressing the scarcity of resources; how immigration trends affect global cities; how inequality is affecting underprivileged communities; how cities are driving the global economy; how mayors are leading the fight against terrorism and 21st century security threats; how cities are implementing their own foreign policies; and how a global city’s arts and culture offerings contribute to international diplomacy. Participants also will discuss the potential of international partnerships between global cities.

“Global cities shape our world and our future,” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “The Chicago Forum is a unique gathering, which for the first time ever brings together all the leaders that make global cities truly global – mayors and maestros, entrepreneurs and university presidents.”

Prominent speakers also include Khoo Boon Hui, former president of INTERPOL; Jozias Van Aartsen, mayor of The Hague; Ory Okolloh, director of investments at Omidyar Network; Saskia Sassen, Columbia University professor; Wim Pijbes, general director of the Rijksmuseum; and Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

“The caliber and diversity of our speakers make the Chicago Forum on Global Cities the place to be for elevating the conversation about cities," said Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times. "At this important meeting, we will find ways to tackle shared challenges and enable global cities to continue acting as influential agents of change.”

Generous sponsorship for the Chicago Forum on Global Cities is being provided by AbbVie, Aon, The Boeing Company, Hyatt Hotels Foundation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Motorola Solutions, Northern Trust, UL, United Airlines and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

A list of confirmed speakers and panel topics are available on a new website – – the go-to source for the most up-to-date information on the inaugural Chicago Forum on Global Cities. Updates will be made on an ongoing basis.

About The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922, is an independent, non-partisan organization committed to educating the public—and influencing the public discourse—on global issues of the day. The Council provides a forum in Chicago for world leaders, policymakers and other experts to speak to its members and the public on these issues. Long known for its public opinion surveys of American views on foreign policy, The Chicago Council also brings together stakeholders to examine issues and offer policy insight into areas such as global agriculture, the global economy, global energy, global cities, global security and global immigration. Learn more at and follow @ChicagoCouncil for updates.

About the Financial Times
The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community, the FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of 720,000 (Deloitte assured, Q4 2014). Mobile is an increasingly important channel for the FT, driving almost 50 per cent of total traffic. FT education products now serve two thirds of the world’s top 50 business schools. For news about the FT follow @FTPressOffice.