As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is set to hold its 25th annual summit in Chicago in May, Windy City PR pros are preparing for the media deluge that will come with the event.

nato chicago
The Chicago Exhibit at NATO headquarters.
The NATO summit is set to descend on Chicago May 20-21, drawing more than 50 heads of state, scores of other officials and more than 2,000 members of the global media.

Members of Chicago’s host committee along with its Convention and tourism Bureau on March 22 presented a multimedia exhibition on the city at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

“This exhibit showcases the world class diversity of Chicago,” said Ivo Daalder, U.S. Ambassador to NATO. “While Chicago is here today, in two months NATO will be in Chicago.”

The Publicity Club of Chicago is planning an April 11 PR education event to help the city’s communications pros capitalize on the frenzy.

“The goal is to inform PR professionals how to best break through the media clutter around NATO,” said Carlyle Fallon, a VP at Edelman who is organizing the event.
Nadine Apelian Dobbs, former head of media relations for the Council on Foreign Relations, is now a media consultant for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs for the NATO summit and will speak to the Pub Club event.

She’ll be joined by Edelman senior VP/PA Deb Fiddelke, who is also a Chicago NATO Host Committee member and worked the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics, as well as Jonathan Eyler-Werve, director of the Chicago Summit Project at Community Media Workshop, who intends to get global media to write about Chicago’s different communities. [event details]

While positive press is on the minds of the Chicago delegation in Brussels, the city is also bracing for expected protests that will accompany the event. The Chicago Sun-Times reported March 21 that all 11,570 officers on the city’s police force will have a new face shields that fit over gas masks if needed.
The protests might not be as large as expected, however, as the city will miss out on an expected two-pronged publicity jolt after plans to hold the upcoming G8 economic summit days before the NATO event were scrapped earlier this month in favor of Camp David in Maryland.