Chicago to host next Nobel Peace Laureates summit

November 17, 2011

Michell Eloy

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday that Chicago has been chosen to host the next World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

The three-day annual event is scheduled for April 23-25, a few weeks before Chicago hosts the G8 and NATO conferences in mid-May.

"I think it's only fitting when you have both the defense ministers, foreign ministers and the heads of state of NATO, and the finance ministers and the heads of state of G8, that the groundwork is being laid by those who've won the Nobel Peace prize, the highest award for their work on finding common ground," said Mayor Emanuel.

Chicago will be the first North American city to hose the the event, which is co-chaired by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. The summit will be hosted by University of Illinois Chicago and is expected to attract high profile leaders and organizations from around the world.

The theme of the summit will be "Speak Up, Speak Out for Freedom and Rights," and will partially focus on youth activism. Organizers of the summit are working with Chicago Public Schools and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to have the Laureates share their stories with CPS through discussions and talks.

"The soul of this summit is getting people involved and getting the people of Chicago and this region and really the United States involved with making a difference in our communities," said Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center. "And that's really what we hope people will be inspired to do, and we're making an enormous effort to bring together as many people as possible in this city and this region to participate in the conference."

A committee member for the summit estimated the event would cost about $1 million. The mayor said funding for the event would come from a combination of public money and private donations.

The summit has previously been held in Paris, Berlin, Rome and Hiroshima.