How do you bring the energy and excitement of Chicago into the headquarters of the NATO Alliance in Brussels, ahead of the NATO Summit in Chicago this May? That was our challenge this month at United States Mission to NATO.
First we sat down to think what captured the essence of Chicago, and we decided, architecture, music, and food. Perfect. Then we contacted the Chicago Board of Tourism and asked if they could help us. They could. This week, two United airlines flights arrived at Brussels Airport from Chicago carrying one hundred and thirty two authentic Chicago deep dish pizzas, plus cheesecakes, sausages, and eight other food items donated by Chicago restaurants, which we will serve this week to NATO delegations and staff. This week we're also constructing a display of videos and photos of famous Chicago skylines, buildings and tourist attractions in the middle of the NATO press lobby, so NATO staff can see what's awaiting them.
That isn't all. Chicago is also sending us an old blues legend, Lonnie Brooks and his Blues band, and a young but already famous chef, Stephanie Izard, a winner of the Top Chef TV program and owner of the Girl and the Goat restaurant in Chicago. They will both be performing their specialties this Thursday night at Truman Hall, the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, at a blues evening for NATO Ambassadors. Also coming are the Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, and the First Lady of Chicago, Amy Rule, the wife of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, plus journalists and crews from the top Chicago newspapers and TV stations.
To top it off, we had another special visitor from Chicago this week, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, a legend of the American civil rights movement, who spoke to us of democracy and freedom, the values that NATO was created to defend. This is how we will bring the essence of Chicago and America to NATO headquarters this week.