Chicago Takes Center Stage
Enlarge image (© Federal Government / Bergmann) Chicago is often referred to as the "Second City", a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reference to New York City. New York City has more inhabitants than Chicago. True. New York City has the United Nations. True. But does Chicago have something that New York City does not have? Yes. Chicago can boast as having been the first city outside Washington D.C. to host a NATO summit. In fact, the 2012 Chicago NATO summit was the largest gathering of NATO countries and partner countries in the history of the alliance. Suffice it to say that the moniker "Second City" might need to be revisited.
Enlarge image (© Federal Government / Bergmann) As to be expected, the Federal Republic of Germany was well represented during the two-day summit in Chicago on May 20 and 21, 2012. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and Federal Minister of Defense Thomas de Maizière all made the trip to Chicago. They were joined by their respective partners from Berlin, Brussels, and Washington D.C. including permanent representative to NATO Ambassador Martin Erdmann and Ambassador to the United States Peter Ammon. Members of the German press were also on location to follow the events. The German delegation was comprised of over 130 individuals.
Enlarge image (© Federal Government / Bergmann) In order to get a better feel for the city before the summit began, the German delegation took part in an architectural boat tour along the CHicago River. The tour was led by the world-renowned and Chicago-based architect Helmut Jahn, designer of the James R. Thompson Center and most recently the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago. The delegation found some time on the boat to have bilateral talks with their guests.
During his inaugural visit to Chicago for the NATO summit, Foreign Minister Westerwelle met with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to discuss a variety of topics involving the United States and Germany. Chancellor Merkel met with the President of Turkey, H.E. Abdullah Gül, and the President of Poland, H.E. Bronislaw Komorowski
The Consulate General participated in events leading up to the Chicago NATO summit. These included a youth soccer and basketball tournament sponsored by World Sport Chicago and the Chicago NATO Host Committee and "Passport on a Plate", a culinary program to increase Chicago Public Schools' students' global knowledge.