Complete coverage of the Chicago NATO Summit

What to Expect During NATO 2012

Here's a quick breakdown of what to expect as the city prepares to host this world summit

Thursday, Apr 19, 2012  |  Updated 2:40 PM CDT
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The Executive Director of the NATO Host Committee briefs reporters on where the city stands on its preparation for the NATO Summit in May.

The Executive Director of the NATO Host Committee briefs reporters on where the city stands on its preparation for the NATO Summit in May.

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Oh the things they'll see!

Chicago has a robust weekend full of events planned for visiting dignitaries during the 2012 NATO Summit on May 20-21.

Host Committee Executive Director Lori Healy, Thursday, ran through a smorgasbord of plans for the weekend, and for the run up to the historic weekend in Chicago.

Here's a quick breakdown of what to expect, according to Healy's power point presentation, as the city prepares to host this world summit, and more info is available on the website www.chiagonato.org There is the briefing schedule for those planned between now and the summit and great information for visitors.

Pre Summit Events: 

The Chicago Council on global affairs will host a series of speakers on the topic of NATO leading up to the event.  

Secretary of State Madeline Albright was here in mid-April speaking at Lindbloom high school. Her visit was part of a NATO working with CPS to expose kids to GO Politics.

A full curriculum will be rolled out in May about NATO and GO Politics.

The last week in April, the city is hosting the world summit of Nobel peace laureates that they hope to learn from. Also, the Global University Summit hits Chicago the week after. There will also be the U.S. African Trade summit and the food security summit that week.

A week before, World Sports Chicago will host an athletic event in Washington Park for 11-13 year old Chicago public school students in conjunction with the Chicago Bulls, the  Chicago Fire an athletic event for 11-13 year olds in Chicago public schools.

There will be a tournament of some sort and the children will sign up to play 'for" a country so they learn about it and are exposed to that country. Winners will be recognized at a Bulls and a Fire game.

NATO Weekend: 

The actual summit kicks off at noon on Sunday May 20th at McCormick place and wraps at about 2pm on the 21st.

Hosts expect 5,000 to 7,500 attendees. There are 28 member countries, 22 ISEF partner countries and some additional countries that have been invited.

Chicago is prepared for about 60 country delegations. About 2,000 member of the foreign press here, a vast majority of the media will be staying at the Hyatt Regency.

On Saturday we’re hosting the city's annual kite festival, branded as the NATO Kite festival, kites are culturally significant in Afghanistan.

NATO is providing the flags for the festival taking place at Montrose harbor.

The Cubs are hosting The Young Atlanticists with a lot of the Chicagoland entrepreneurs at Wrigley field that night. That weekend is the Crosstown Classic

On Sunday in addition to the official functions, the president and the secretary general are hosting the leaders of the member countries during a dinner at Soldier Field.

The host committee will have a dinner for the ISEF countries at the Field Museum and a reception for the many delegates that night at Navy Pier.

Monday after everything wraps up there will be a reception for all the international media at Lucky Strike.

NATO Discussion Topics: 

Topics of the summit are set by NATO itself and they'll be published once they are agreed upon. Obviously Afghanistan, the middle east, nuclear proliferation's those are all topics NATO concerns itself with.

Parades, Demonstrations and Motorcades:

There will be motorcades because there are a lot of world leader here but it will be a very compressed time frame those individuals are in Chicago.

But there staff will be here for a long time visiting and taking advantage of the city.

There will be three sanctioned parades: Nurses will stage a march that Friday and again on the 20th. Also on the 20th, the coalition against NATO and the Iraq veterans against the war will march.

Public transportation will be normal with an advanced level of service, CTA will announce those later. Secret service announced the trains would run under McCormick place. Chicagoans will be briefed on a plan when it is rolled out on any commuter/travel issues associated with the event. 

2-3 weeks prior secret service will put out the footprints and a transportation and logistics plan.

What You Can Do to Participate:

Everyone in the business community should sign up for the Chicago public private partnership at preparedchicago.org to receive info on how to participate.

Residents should log onto www.chiagonato.org where they'll find the briefing schedule for events planned between now and the summit, and great information for visitors.

Explore the Culinary Crossroads program. Over 100 restaurants signed up to participate in featuring many of the cuisines of the visiting counties.

Students can submit Welcome to Chicago videos for a contest. Entries due next week.

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