Chicago Council on Global Affairs

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Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Founded 1922
Headquarters Chicago, IL
Products Public programs and private events featuring world leaders.
Web site

The Chicago Council on Global Afairs (CCGA), until recently the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, is best known for bringing world leaders to speak on key topics of the day at its Chicago functions and forums. It was established early last century with the aim of placing the U.S. at the forefront of the global diplomatic stage.


The CCGA was formed in February 1922 as the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations by 23 men and women at a time of intense isolationism in the U.S.[1] Its founders believed that the recently-ended World War I required Americans to reassess their traditional avoidance of foreign issues. Following WWII the CCGA formed a youth group, embraced television, began sponsoring missions abroad and in 1970 launched its biennial Atlantic Conference.

The Council today hosts task forces, conferences, studies and leadership dialogues as well as holding forums and gatherings to discuss global topics. It has also shifted its traditional trans-Atlantic focus more towards leaders and topics from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Key People[edit]


Marshall M. Bouton has served as president of CCGA since August 2001 after 20 years at the Asia Society in New York, where he was executive vice president and chief operating officer.[2] Bouton has served in several government positions including special assistant to the U.S. ambassador to India and is co-author of "The Foreign Policy Disconnect: What Americans Want from Our Leaders but Don't Get", published in October 2006.[3]

Recent Controversy[edit]

In 2007 the CCGA was sucked into in the "Israel lobby" maelstrom after it suddenly withdrew an invitation it had extended to two authors who had written a book criticizing the influence pro-Israel lobby groups exert over U.S. foreign policy, Harper's reported.[4] CCGA President Bouton, in a letter to one of the authors, explained that he could not allow the two to present their views without a speaker from 'the other side' present. The CCGA "badly tarnished its name with this reprehensible conduct," the Harper's writer concluded.