Chicago Sun-Times | NATO, G8 meetings to be hosted in McCormick Place

Posted on December 8, 2011 by The Chicago Sun-Times

By Lynn Sweet

Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen unveil the NATO Chicago summit logo, highlighting the city's skyline. (NATO photo)

WASHINGTON–The back-to-back NATO/G8 meetings in Chicago will take place in McCormick Place with the dates firmed up on Thursday, between May 19 and 21, NATO, the State Department and the city said.

Planning for the events is ramping up, with logos and a website also unveiled on Thursday. In Brussels, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton–a Chicago native– and NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen waxed on about coming to Chicago. The G8 summit, hosted by President Barack Obama is on May 19-20; the NATO session, run by Rasmussen is on May 20-21.

“Chicago is city which inspires, and I have seen that with my own eyes when I visit Chicago, meeting its dynamic people, enjoying its magnificent skyline. Chicago is a city where great ideas are born, as well as great diplomats, like you, Madam Secretary,” Rasmussen said. Rasmussen offered so much praise for the city Clinton said she was going to call Mayor Rahm Emanuel and tell him.

“And Chicago is a city where many cultures come together, including many cultures of European allies. Chicago is a city built upon diversity and determination. And those values underpin NATO, too. So Chicago is a fitting host for the NATO summit as we endeavor to implement our vision of an alliance ready to tackle the security challenges of the 21st century.”

To that Clinton replied, “Well, that was so magnificently said, Secretary General. And you’re right, I was born in Chicago. I love the city. I think everyone will not only enjoy being there because of the NATO summit but also the attractions of Chicago. And we are all looking forward to welcoming you. President Obama is very excited about being able to host the NATO summit in Chicago, and I am going to call the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and tell him he has a new slogan for the city: the city of diversity and determination. I’m sure that he will be pleased to hear that you coined that, Secretary General.

“So I join you in warmly inviting everyone to come to Chicago in May, when it is absolutely beautiful, for what will be another very significant NATO summit.”

In October, I reported that the McCormick Place complex was the likely venue.The buildings, hugging the Lake Michigan Shore and stretching across Lake Shore Drive, were selected because of the ability to secure the location, the proximity to downtown hotels and the enormous space the venue offered.

The gathering of world leaders, expected to draw some 2,500 journalists to Chicago, will be a chance to throw a global spotlight on the city for visitors and provide historic educational opportunities for students and residents.

NATO unveiled its logo in Brussels on Thursday; the State Department designed the G8 logo. The Chicago G8 NATO host committee’s new web site is

“The NATO and G8 summits present an exciting opportunity to showcase our extraordinary city to the world,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “Hosting these summits puts the spotlight on Chicago as a city on the move and an unparalleled destination for travel, tourism and business.”

“The Chicago G8/NATO Host Committee is making plans for a variety of programs to engage and include residents in the historic events,” Lori Healey, Executive Director of the Chicago G8 NATO Host Committee said in a statement.

“This is really a tremendous opportunity for Chicagoans to show the world how we can come together in support of major events like we have done in the past.”

The Chicago G8/NATO Host Committee, “is working under the auspice of World Business Chicago, a non-for-profit organization focused on economic development which serves as the legal entity leading the private sector G8 and NATO activities and operations.”

It is very rare for one city to host both a G8 and a NATO meeting; the last time was more than 30 years ago. This is the first time a NATO summit in the U.S. has been held outside of Washington

The “Group of 8” consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States