Skip to main content

2017 Chicago Forum on Global Cities

This three-day forum brought together leaders in the major pillars of urban life to discuss how they can collaborate to improve their cities, and the world.
Event Date

About This Event

Global cities drive political, social, and economic policies and solve critical world challenges. This three-day forum, hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Financial Times, brought together leaders in the major pillars of urban life – business innovators, education visionaries, cultural luminaries, civic pioneers – to discuss how they can collaborate to improve their cities, and the world.

Featured Event Videos

Six people on-stage during an event Play Video

A panel of experts discusses how cities keep cultures of the past alive, vibrant, and relevant while ensuring resources are available.

Three people in chairs talk on-stage Play Video

Council President Ivo Daalder speaks with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and UL President and CEO Keith Williams about how globalization is affecting cities.

Watch all videos from the 2017 Chicago Forum on Global Cities.

About the Speakers
Demetrius Amparan
Communications Manager, A Better Chicago
Demetrius Amparan joined A Better Chicago in 2016 and is responsible for the planning and execution of the organization’s communications strategy. Prior to joining A Better Chicago, Amparan served as the director of publications and marketing communications for Young Chicago Authors and led the undergraduate division of Valparaiso University’s marketing and communications department.
Editor-in-Chief, POLITICO Europe
Jamil Anderlini headshot
Jamil Anderlini is POLITICO Europe’s Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning journalist, editor, and published author, he joined POLITICO Europe from the Financial Times where he worked as Asia Editor, Assistant Editor, and member of the Editorial Board.
Jamil Anderlini headshot
Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sweden
Carl Bildt is the former prime minister and former foreign minister of Sweden. Subsequently, he served in international functions with the European Union and the United Nations, primarily related to the Balkans conflicts. He was co-chairman of the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia and Herzegovina and later became the special envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the region.
Akel Biltaji
Former Mayor, Greater Amman Municipality, Jordan
Akel Biltaji is currently vice-chairman of Royal Jordanian Airline and has served as mayor of Greater Amman Municipality since his appointment by the cabinet in September 2013 up until the completion of his term on 12 March 2017. His Majesty the Late King Hussein appointed him in 1997 as the country's minister of tourism and antiquities, where he continued to serve in this portfolio until June of 2001.
Brendan Carr
Lord Mayor, City of Dublin, Ireland
Labour Councillor Brendan Carr was elected lord mayor of Dublin at the annual meeting of the Dublin City Council in June of 2016. Some of the priorities for his term include promoting a living wage, introducing a 1% tax on hotel beds in the city for investment in arts and culture, and creating a register of workplaces that offer employment to ex-offenders in an effort to break the cycle of crime.
Henry Cisneros
Founder and Chairman, CityView
In addition to co-founding CityView, Henry Cisneros is also a principal in Siebert Cisneros Shank, a leading public finance firm. In 1981, Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major US city, San Antonio, Texas, and served for four terms. In 1992, President Clinton appointed Cisneros to be Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Helen Clark
Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
Helen Clark headshot
Helen Clark is the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and the former administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). She was the first woman to lead the UNDP and simultaneously chaired the UN Development Group. She continues to be a strong voice for sustainable development, climate action, gender equality, women’s leadership, peace and justice, and action on pressing global health issues.
Helen Clark headshot
Megan Clifford
Director, Strategy and Innovation, Global Security Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory
In her current role at Argonne National Laboratory, Megan Clifford develops and executes strategies with multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional teams to address a range of energy and global security challenges. She also leads Argonne’s Resilient Infrastructure Initiative, bringing together a diverse team of engineers and scientists to drive innovation for a more resilient infrastructure.
CEO, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Headshot of Ivo H. Daalder
Ivo H. Daalder served as the US ambassador to NATO from 2009 to 2013. He joined the Council as president in 2013 and took on the new role of CEO in 2023. Previously, he was a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution and served as director for European affairs on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council. He is the author or editor of 10 books.
Headshot of Ivo H. Daalder
Caroline Daniel
Partner, Brunswick and Former Editor, FT Weekend
Caroline Daniel is a partner at Brunswick and former editor of FT Weekend, consulting editor of FT Live/FT Conferences, and FT assistant editor. Previously, Daniel was the FT White House correspondent, a features writer and reporter for the New Statesman, a reporter for the Economist, and a political researcher for Gordon Brown.
Patricia de Lille
Executive Mayor, City of Cape Town, South Africa
Patricia de Lille was elected as the Executive Mayor of Cape Town in 2011 and was re-elected for a second term in August 2016 with a two-thirds majority. Under her leadership, Cape Town is widely been regarded as the best-run metro in South Africa and has received close to 90 international awards including being listed at number on the prestigious New York Times’ list of 52 Places to Go in 2014.
Robert Doyle
Lord Mayor, City of Melbourne, Australia
Robert Doyle was elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016 and is the serving Lord Mayor of Melbourne. He's a principal at The Nous Group, a management consultancy business based in Melbourne, and since 2007 has been chairman of Melbourne Health (The Royal Melbourne Hospital). He is president of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and a trustee of the Shrine of Remembrance.
US Business Editor, Financial Times
Headshot for Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson is the US business editor of the Financial Times, leading its coverage of US business in an age of populism, policy upheavals, and shifting expectations of corporate America. He manages a team of reporters while writing news, analysis, and commentary and helping develop new offerings for the FT’s core audience such as Moral Money, its awards-winning ESG newsletter.
Headshot for Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
Rahm Emanuel
55th Mayor of the City of Chicago
Rahm Emanuel served as the fifty-fifth mayor of the city of Chicago from 2011 to 2019. During that time he attracted numerous companies to Chicago and helped build the next generation of start-ups while investing in the infrastructure, public transportation, open space, and cultural attractions that make Chicago a great place to live, work, and play.
Richard Florida
Professor and Author, The New Urban Crisis
Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading urbanists. He is a researcher and professor, serving as the director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, global research professor at New York University and a visiting fellow at Florida International University.
Jeanne Gang
Founding Principal and Partner, Studio Gang Architects
Headshot of Jeanne Gang
Jeanne Gang, a 2011 MacArthur Fellow and member of the 2011 class of the Council's Emerging Leaders Program, is the principal architect of Studio Gang Architects, a Chicago-based firm that has been recognized internationally for its innovation in design. She also serves as an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
Headshot of Jeanne Gang
Theaster Gates
Founder, Rebuild Foundation; Director, Arts and Public Life, University of Chicago
Theaster Gates makes work focused on racism and poverty in America, and works to make change in downtrodden communities. His practice is grounded in African-American history and culture, and in his own experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Slavery, industrial exploitation, and the Civil Rights Movement feature prominently in his sculptures, installations, and performances.
Misha Glenny
Former Central Europe Correspondent, Guardian and BBC
Misha Glenny is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and keynote speaker. His best-selling book, McMafia, is about the globalization of organized crime and was broadcast as a major drama series by the BBC and AMC. His book Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio, a biography of the man who ran the largest favela in Rio for five years as head of the cocaine cartel, is in production as a feature film.
Claudia Romo Edelman
Former Nonresident Fellow, Global Migration
Council expert Claudia Romo Edelman
Claudia Romo Edelman is a former nonresident fellow for global migration at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She now serves as a special advisor for UNICEF—after serving as UNICEF's global chief of public advocacy for three years—and has been seconded to the executive office of the secretary-general of the United Nations for international migration.
Council expert Claudia Romo Edelman
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Former Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Services, London
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was appointed as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service on September 12, 2011. Previously, he was the acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. He has vast experience in crime investigation and strategic leadership of major public events, public disorder, and organized crime—particularly involving the use of firearms.
Mark S. Hoplamazian
President and CEO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Mark S. Hoplamazian was appointed to the board of directors in November 2006 and named president and chief executive officer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation in December 2006. Prior to being appointed to his present position, Hoplamazian served as president of The Pritzker Organization (TPO), the principal financial and investment adviser for Pritzker family business interests.
Valerie B. Jarrett
Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama
Valerie B. Jarrett was the longest-serving senior advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the administration’s advocacy for workplace policies that empower working families—including equal pay, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility, and affordable childcare—and led the campaigns to reform our criminal justice system, end sexual assault, and reduce gun violence.
Linda Jojo
Executive Vice President and CIO, United Airlines
Linda Jojo is executive vice president and chief information officer for United Airlines, responsible for the strategy and operations of United’s technology platforms and infrastructure. Prior to this role, Jojo held the position of executive vice president and chief information officer for Rogers Communications, Canada’s leading wireless, cable, and media company.
Martin Kimani
Director, National Counter-Terrorism Center, Kenya
Ambassador Martin Kimani, PhD, EBS, is the director of the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Kenya, and the President's Special Envoy for Countering Violent Extremism. Prior to this role, he was Kenya's permanent representative and head of mission to the United Nations at Nairobi, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
Nonresident Fellow, Global Cities and Women and Global Development
Council expert Niamh King
Niamh King is a nonresident fellow on global cities and women and global development at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. King previously served as the Council's Vice President for Programs and Strategic Content. Prior to joining the Council, she held positions with Intel, the European Commission, FÁS, and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Council expert Niamh King
Ian Klaus
Founding Director, Carnegie California
Council expert Ian Klaus
Ian Klaus is a leading scholar on the nexus of urbanization, geopolitics, and global challenges, with extensive experience as a practitioner of subnational diplomacy. Klaus co-led and served as the series editor for the Summary for Urban Policymakers, a landmark report that distilled over 8,000 pages of IPCC science into 80 pages of accessible, policy-relevant material for urban policymakers.
Council expert Ian Klaus
Khalid Koser
Executive Director, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund
Khalid Koser is also a non-resident senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution; associate fellow at Chatham House; research associate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies; non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute; and extraordinary professor in conflict, peace, and security in the faculty of humanities and sciences at the University of Maastricht.
Adriana Krnáčová
Mayor, City of Prague, Czech Republic
Adriana Krnáčová has been the mayor of Prague since November 2014. A businesswoman by background, Krnáčová is the first woman to serve in this position. Prior to becoming mayor of Prague, she served as the deputy interior minister for public administration and legislation at the Czech Ministry of the Interior.
Gerald Lawless
Chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council
Gerald Lawless joined Dubai Holding in 2016, having served for eighteen years at the helm of the Jumeirah Group, assuming a new leadership position responsible for tourism and hospitality. At Dubai Holding, Lawless advises on strategic tourism and hospitality projects within the company's portfolio.
Steve Levitt
Professor of Economics, University of Chicago
Steve Levitt is the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he directs the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory. In 2006, he was named one of Time magazine's “100 People Who Shape Our World.” Levitt co-authored Freakonomics, which spent over 2 years on the New York Times Best Seller list and has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
US National Editor, Financial Times
Headshot for Edward Luce
Edward Luce is the Financial Times' chief US commentator and columnist based in Washington, D.C. Prior to that role, he was the Financial Times' Washington bureau chief and South Asia bureau chief based in New Delhi.
Headshot for Edward Luce
Patricia McCarney
CEO, World Council on City Data
Leading the WCCD, Patricia McCarney is building a globally standardized database that invites cities to assemble data in conformity with ISO 37120. She's also a professor of political science and the director of the Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto, Canada. Previously, she served as associate vice president, international research and development, at the University of Toronto.
Mary Miss
Founder, City as a Living Laboratory; Artist in Residence, New York City Department of Design and Construction
Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design, and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time. Her installations focus on social, cultural, and environmental sustainability to reveal history, ecology, or aspects of sites that have gone unnoticed.
Denis Mizne
CEO, Lemann Foundation
Denis Mizne is the CEO of the Lemann Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to ensuring that every Brazilian student has a world-class education. Born and raised in São Paulo, Mizne founded the Sou da Paz (I am for Peace) campaign in 1997 to raise awareness about the alarming levels of gun violence, particularly among youth.
Charles Montgomery
Founder and Principal, Happy City
Charles Montgomery is principal of Happy City, a Vancouver-based consultancy that draws on research in psychology, neuroscience, and public health to help create happier, healthier, more resilient places. His acclaimed book, Happy City, Transforming Our Lives through Urban Design, examines the intersection between urban design and the emerging science of happiness.
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Cities
Council expert Robert Muggah
Robert Muggah is a specialist in cities, security, migration, and new technologies. He cofounded the Igarapé Institute—an independent think and do tank devoted to data-driven safety and justice across Latin America and Africa, where he is currently the director of research. In addition to serving as a nonresident senior fellow at the Council, Muggah is a fellow or faculty at six other institutions.
Council expert Robert Muggah
Distinguished Fellow, Global Cities
Council expert Michael A. Nutter
As the former mayor of Philadelphia, Michael A. Nutter maintains active involvement in critical areas of education, media, public policy, political campaigns, the corporate community, and academic institutions across the country. Along with being a fellow at the Council, he also chairs the Airbnb Mayor’s Advisory Council, an international group of former mayors providing advice on local government issues.
Council expert Michael A. Nutter
Distinguished Fellow, Global Cities
Council expert Claudio Orrego
Claudio Orrego is a distinguished fellow for the Global Cities team at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. From March 2014 through March 2018, he was the governor of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, and prior to that, he was elected as the presidential candidate for the Christian Democrat party.
Council expert Claudio Orrego
Ella Overkleeft
Cofounder, Night-Mayor Foundation
Ella Overkleeft is a creative producer with an emphasis on social and urban development. She is the co-founder of the Night-Mayor Foundation in Amsterdam. In this role she has spoken for TEDx and visited cities like Moscow and Athens. She is at the forefront of social and cultural development in nightlife and beyond.
Eduardo Paes
Former Mayor, City of Rio de Janeiro
Eduardo Paes served as mayor of Rio de Janeiro from 2009 to 2016. During his second term, he was elected chairman of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group in 2013 and was championed for hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. He has dedicated his entire career to public service, beginning in 1993 when appointed deputy mayor of the Jacarepaguá and Barra districts in Rio at the age of twenty-three.
R. David Paulison
Former Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Chief R. David Paulison is a leader in emergency and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, having completed seven years of federal service. Paulison is a proven organizational leader who won widespread praise for his restoration of FEMA as a competent, credible agency, and he became the first FEMA administrator to be sworn in as deputy secretary for Homeland Security.
Carlo Ratti
Director, SENSEable City Lab, MIT Urban Planning
Carlo Ratti is an architect and engineer by training and teaches at MIT, where he directs the Senseable City Lab. He is also a founding partner of the international design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati. His work has been exhibited in several venues worldwide, including the Venice Biennale, New York’s MoMA, London’s Science Museum, and Barcelona’s Design Museum.
Oussama Rifahi
Board Member, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture
Oussama Rifahi is a board member of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture and its executive director from 2010 to 2016. He started his career as engineer in the oil and gas industries, moving on to take management roles in aerospace and renewable energies. Rifahi worked on the development of tourism and culture strategies and led feasibility studies for contemporary museums across the world.
Fernando Romero
Director and Founder, FR-EE / Fernando Romero Enterprise
Fernando Romero is recognized as one of the leading architects of his generation and part of a new vanguard that is upending traditional approaches to design. The concept of translation embodies his approach to architecture, transforming context, conditions, and moments into buildings, places, and objects with structured identities.
President and CEO, UL Solutions Inc.
Headshot of Jennifer Scanlon.
Jennifer F. Scanlon is president and CEO of UL Solutions Inc. Prior to UL Solutions, Jennifer was most recently president and CEO of USG Corporation. She also sits on the board of Norfolk Southern Corporation and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and is chairperson of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Headshot of Jennifer Scanlon.
Carl J. Schramm
University Professor, Syracuse University
In 2012, Carl J. Schramm was appointed university professor at Syracuse University. Previously, he served as president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Under his decade-long leadership, the Kauffman Foundation grew into a global institution, becoming the largest private funder of economic research related to growth and innovation.
Julia Stasch
President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
With a broad background of leadership in the business, governmental, and philanthropic sectors, Julia Stasch has served as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's president since March 2015. She joined MacArthur in 2001 as vice president for US Programs, responsible for major work related to justice, housing, education, community and economic development, and social and economic policy.
Fernando Straface
Secretary-General of Government and Foreign Affairs, City of Buenos Aires
Since December 2015, Fernando Straface has been the secretary-general of foreign affairs of the City of Buenos Aires. He is one of the founders and former executive director of CIPPEC, the top think tank in Argentina. Straface is also a member of Debates International and has been a driving force for the first-ever presidential debate in Argentina, held in 2015.
Chair of the Editorial Board and Editor-at-Large, US, Financial Times
Gillian Tett headshot
Gillian Tett is chair of the editorial board and editor-at-large, US of the Financial Times. She writes weekly columns covering a range of economic, financial, political, and social issues. In 2014 she was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards. In addition, Tett’s past roles include US managing editor, assistant editor, and capital markets editor.
Gillian Tett headshot
Thomas Tighe
President and CEO, Direct Relief
Thomas Tighe has served as President and CEO of Direct Relief, a nonprofit humanitarian medical organization. Direct Relief, established in 1948 and funded entirely with private support, provides medical assistance to locally run health programs around the world. Since Tighe’s arrival, the organization has furnished more than $4 billion in essential medicines, equipment, and supplies.
John Tory
Mayor, City of Toronto, Canada
John Tory is the 65th mayor of Toronto. Among Tory’s top priorities are tackling transit and traffic congestion. He has responded to Toronto’s transit crisis by getting on with the Scarborough subway and beginning work on the SmartTrack line: a surface subway that would provide all day, two-way service across the city and help relieve the congested Yonge subway.
Jay Walder
President and CEO, Motivate
Jay Walder is the president and CEO of Motivate, a company that operates the largest bike-share systems in the United States—including Divvy in Chicago—and powers over 56,000 bike share bikes across four continents. Walder has more than thirty years of international experience in public transportation, including senior roles at three of the world’s largest transit systems.
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Cities
Council expert Karen Weigert
Karen Weigert is the director of the Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility at Loyola University. In 2011 she was appointed chief sustainability officer for the city of Chicago, working to guide the city's sustainability strategy and implementation, and bringing innovative and practical solutions throughout the work of the city.
Council expert Karen Weigert
Keith E. Williams
President and CEO, UL LLC
Keith Williams is president and CEO of UL. Under his tenure, UL has reorganized and optimized its operating structure, expanded geographically, extended its services, and successfully managed the integration of more than thirty acquisitions. Williams has championed UL’s global expansion with a focus on Asia, a region in which he has broad expertise.
Martin Wolf
Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times
Martin Wolf was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 for services to financial journalism and was joint winner of the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism for 1989 and 1997. He won the Ludwig Erhard Prize for economic commentary for 2009 and the 33rd Ischia International Journalism Prize in 2012.
Phillip Woolley
Partner, Manchester, Grant Thornton
Phillip Woolley is a partner leading Grant Thornton UK's Insight and Analytics practice. The team supports clients in extracting value from their own and external data sources and providing market-leading insight on customers and place. The team consists of data scientists, developers, financial modelers, economists, and researchers supporting clients in a range of sectors.