Greeting world leaders at the NATO summit
As a member of the Chicago 2012 NATO Hosting Committee, headed by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s wife, Amy Rule, I was proud to be one of the Chicagoans who greeted heads of state who attended the NATO summit.
Andris Berzins, president of Latvia, was one of the first international leaders to arrive in Chicago for the summit, and on Friday, May 18, he met with some of the city’s approximately 10,000 Latvians as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Later that night, I attended a reception for Mr. Berzins at the Richard Driehaus Museum, which was also attended by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, as well as Latvia’s ambassador to the United States, Andrejs Pildegovics.
On Saturday, I attended a reception for Serzh Sargsyan, president of Armenia. Unfortunately, Mr. Sargsyan didn’t make it to the event, but the dinner still took place with the official delegation. But, as with all Armenian dinners, it was a great party!
Finally, on Sunday night, I was part of the opening night welcoming reception for all of the world leaders, held at the gorgeous ballroom at the end of Navy Pier. It was amazing to be gathered in one spot with so many people from such diverse backgrounds and nationalities.
As I stood in the ballroom overlooking the Chicago skyline, I was truly proud to be a Chicagoan. All of the security, transportation and planning were very well handled and organized, and we really proved that we do live in one of the best cities in the world.
I know events like this one help make the world a stronger, more peaceful place where countries collaborate with each other for the good of all. The entire NATO experience will be something I will cherish for years to come.