Strategic, Coordinated Approach can Advance Chicago’s International Interests, Report Urges

June 7, 2017

Chicago’s civic, educational, business and cultural leaders need to work together at home and abroad not only to enhance their own international interests but those of the city itself, according to a new report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “Chicago’s Global Strategy,” being introduced today at the 2017 Chicago Forum on Global Cities, offers a blueprint for an explicit and coordinated strategy to enhance the city’s stature and competitiveness in the globalizing world. 

"With global cities on the front lines of the world’s most vexing problems and some of its most innovative solutions – coupled with the political paralysis crippling many national governments – leading global cities will invest in and enact a focused strategy for international engagement,” said Ivo Daalder, president of the Council on Global Affairs. “This report frames how Chicago can further its global profile and serves as a model for other cities around the world.”

Cities like Chicago already are forming international networks to address global issues like immigration and climate change. From the international initiatives of the Global Parliament of Mayors to the C40 coalition on climate change, city leaders are sharing best practices and innovations to tackle the urgent challenges they face at home. The Council report urges Chicago’s leading institutions from the education, commercial, civic, and cultural pillars to collaborate in an unprecedented effort to unify the city around a common goal: to advance Chicago’s interests globally and in turn to create new opportunities to benefit the residents of Chicago.

"Chicago is a great global city that attracts international talent, investment and visitors while sharing our products, ideas and culture with the world," said Rahm Emanuel, mayor of the City of Chicago. "This report and the Council's leadership in helping advance its recommendations will be a guidepost and complement to the City's international agenda and interests. A deliberate global strategy will better position Chicago to maintain our leadership on the global stage, address complex common challenges facing cities around the world and continue to grow our economy."

For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and that number is expected to reach two-thirds by 2050. Some of these cities, including Chicago, rank above the rest and are considered global cities – the hubs of the urbanizing world and increasingly influential players on the world stage. Their banks and markets finance the global economy and their corporations run it. Their universities imagine the future and train the next generation of leaders. They have the best restaurants and an array of cultural icons, making them targets for both tourists and terrorists.

At the Forum, hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Financial Times, civic, business, academic, and cultural leaders from around the world will share best practices in developing solutions to today’s global challenges. They will also discuss the effectiveness of urban networks around the world. More than fifteen mayors from cities including Amman, Cape Town, Dublin, Melbourne, and Toronto are participating in a roundtable discussion with Mayor Emanuel today about innovations in financing a global city. The Council is also convening scholars and practitioners to discuss the development of a new City Diplomacy Index.

The report examines the elements of a global strategy, defines Chicago’s strengths and weaknesses globally, and identifies the essential lines of effort for successful global engagement, including:  

  • Ensure effective and efficient cross-sector collaboration
  • Build Chicago’s policy-relevant leadership role on the global stage
  • Establish a more effective international narrative for Chicago
  • Promote a global mind-set among Chicagoans

For the full report, click here.

To watch the live stream of the Chicago Forum on Global Cities, visit, and follow @ChicagoForum and #GlobalCities2017 for updates.

Chicago’s Global Strategy,” was developed by a task force of leaders representing civic, educational, cultural and business sectors. Members include Ivo Daalder, Michael Moskow, and Glenn Tilton of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Douglas Druick, formerly of the Art Institute of Chicago; Mark Hoplamazian of Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Steven Koch of the City of Chicago; Terry Mazany of the Chicago Community Trust; Samuel Scott of Chicago Sister Cities International Program; and Adele Simmons of the Global Philanthropy Partnership. Generous support for the report on Chicago’s Global Strategy is provided by the Chicago Community Trust.

Generous support for the Chicago Forum on Global Cities is provided by AbbVie and UL as Lead Sponsors; Grant Thornton, Hyatt Hotels Foundation, Motorola Solutions, United Airlines and USG as Supporting Sponsors; and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.