Chicago hosts the NATO Summit MASTER IT
Independent Films, Documentaries, Politics
Chicago, USA, is getting ready to host NATO’s 25th Summit on 20 and 21 May. The city expects thousands of visitors from all over the world for this event
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defense in response to an attack by any external party. The NATO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium.
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Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
A few weeks before the NATO Summit, streamers are flying in the streets of Chicago.
On 20 and 21 May, Chicago is going to be at the centre of attention. More than 60 heads of state and government will meet to discuss crucial matters of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.
And so the leaders of the member nations of the organization created by the 1949 Washington Treaty will meet in Chicago this time. There was a good reason for this choice.
The decision was made by the American President, Barack Obama.
« He wanted to demonstrate how much the United States valued NATO, how committed we were with the future of NATO, how much it was integrated in his plans with the future of American policy. So he decided that we will be hosting the summit and he decided to do it in his hometown. That's why it's very personal and of course special to him and also represents, I think, the diversity of the United States and the diversity that frankly represents many of the NATO members states who have very significant diaspora populations here. »
If there is one place in the United States where Europeans can feel at home, it’s Chicago. Its population of over 2.6 million includes immigrants from Romania, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and Italy as well as other NATO nations diasporas. A melting-pot which enriches the culture, the streets and the architecture of the city.
Near one of Donald Trump’s famous towers, there are industrial constructions from the 19th century alongside European-style buildings. The legendary jazz music of Chicago draws on mixed African-American sources and European influences. French and Italian styles of cooking mingle with American flavours, as a result of which Chicago is famous worldwide for its culinary talents. Chicago appeals to Americans just as much as Europeans.
It therefore has plenty to attract and please an international public.
« As the third largest city in the United States, it's a very important global destination. Chicago is a wonderful spot for NATO to convene such an important meeting. Chicago has all the other things that a great global destination offers. So, a great hotel capacity with 34 000 rooms downtown, a great culturally deep community with great art and cultural institutions »
Another of the city’s assets is McCormick Place where the NATO Summit will be held. This symbolic place, was built in 1960 and destroyed by fire in 1967. The McCormick Centre was then rebuilt to a completely different design.
4 km from Chicago city centre, near Lake Michigan, the McCormick Centre is vast. It includes more than 250,000 m2 of exhibition space. International conferences and meetings have been held there regularly for years and it is well-known as the largest convention centre in the United States, welcoming three million visitors every year.
In a few weeks, it will be taking on the NATO colours, but for the moment no major works are planned in the meeting or exhibition rooms, as the infrastructures are already in place.
However, the streets around the buildings will be renovated and some will be repaved. The security of the surrounding area is being handled by the secret services and the Chicago police, who are not disclosing any details. The McCormick Place staff will deal with the logistics during the Summit.
« For really almost two and a half days we will be serving over 19 400 meals not only to the delegates themselves and to the staff which will be here for NATO but also to the international press that is also assembled here to cover this event. We will have 24-hour service providing breakfast, lunch and dinner »
A financial centre with a powerful industrial sector, the city is developing from year to year.
The host committee is planning numerous culinary, sports and cultural events to show visitors the diversity of the city during the NATO Summit.
They expect long-term financial effects.
« We anticipate that there will be significant numbers of temporary jobs created from that event and that's why we're working on the economic impact. We know that there will be hundreds of jobs created. We want to see what really translates to long term. As you know if you live in a NATO partner country and you know nothing about Chicago, we want to know for several years if there's a business there that wants to come here and set up a new shop.
Al Capone made the city notorious, but today it is clear that the gangsters’ days are over and Chicago is rich in resources, thanks in particular to the transatlantic links.
On 20 and 21 May, the Windy City, as it is known, will have the wind in its sails!
Laetitia Chadenat for NATOchannel in Chicago
Year of Production: 2012
Country: United States