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Chicago NATO/G-8 host committee bringing "Taste of Chicago" to Brussels

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WASHINGTON--Members of Chicago's NATO/G-8 Host Committee are traveling to NATO Headquarters in Brussels next month to bring them a "Taste of Chicago" in advance of the May summits in the city.

The idea is to showcase Chicago during a "Summit Kickoff" for NATO, to be held March 22. The event is being planned by the Chicago Host Committee and the U.S. NATO mission, headed by Ivo Daalder, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO.

The activities include: the opening of a Chicago exhibit at NATO headquarters; "authentic Chicago specialties" to be served at a reception and in the NATO cafeteria (Steamed hot dogs? Italian beef? Deep dish pizza?) and a U.S. military band on site to play Chicago themed songs.

A dinner for NATO officials will be prepared by Stefanie Izard, the executive chef at Girl and the Goat with a performance by Chicago's Lonnie Brooks Blues Band.

The delegation--to number about ten--will be led by Lori Healey, executive director of the host committee. This will be Healey's second visit to Belgium to lay groundwork for the summits.

In January, Healey, Don Welch, with Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, Michelle Boone with the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and other officials made an advance trip to Belgium to plan for the March event. World Business Chicago paid for the trip.

Next week, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will be in Washington for meetings, including a session at the State Department with representatives from NATO's member counries; the opening of a seminar organized by NATO's Allied Command Transformation and a "town hall" session with students at the National Defense University.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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