NATO, G-8 in Chicago: Leslie Fox to head host committee

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WASHINGTON–Leslie Fox has been tapped to run the host committee for the NATO/G-8 summits to be held in Chicago next May, I have learned. Fox is a veteran events executive who managed the Chicago host committees for the 1996 Democratic National Convention and the 1994 World Cup.

The G-8 economic sessions will run May 15-22 and the NATO meetings overlap May 20-21. I’m told that the McCormick Place complex is a likely main venue in part because of the ability to secure the location.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is lining up a host committee to help bankroll and plan activities related to the summits — a chance to showcase the city to heads of state and their spouses. The events present the city with massive security and logistical issues.

Fox will be Chicago’s key liasion to the White House, State Department, Secret Service and other U.S. entities involved in the meeting of global leaders. In later phases, she will also be the city’s link to representatives of NATO and the G-8 involved in planning the May sessions. Fox is close to Emanuel and to White House chief of staff Bill Daley.

Fox worked with Emanuel in former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s 1989 campaign. Bill Daley was a co-chair of the 1996 Chicago convention when Fox ran the host committee.

Last Friday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen laid out four NATO goals for the Chicago meeting in a speech at the European Policy Centre in Brussels.

The four Chicago goals are dealing with Afghanistan, finding NATO’s right balance of “conventional, nuclear and missile defense,” identifying “a package of specific military capabilities” and bolstering missile defenses without antagonizing Russia.

“So in Chicago, I am confident that you will see a NATO alliance demonstrating its strong solidarity even in difficult economic times. An alliance that is committed — capable — and connected,” Rasmussen said.

While the situation could well change by the time of the summits — especially in regards to Afghanistan and Libya — Rasmussen in his “look ahead” said, “The backdrop to our NATO summit in Chicago is the global economic crisis.”

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