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Upcoming Events

Virtual Great Lakes Economic Forum Dialogues Slated for Fall 2020: Upcoming Events Address Water, Food Systems, Circular Economy, & Energy

July 9, 2020 | By |

“Seek first to understand,” said Stephen Covey, in his groundbreaking work, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Then to be understood.” Some thirty years later, it’s still true, and the purpose of establishing a series of dialogues for the Great Lakes Region.

Starting in September, the Council of the Great Lakes Region will take the sessions originally intended for the Great Lakes Economic Forum, the 2020 in-person event in Chicago which was postponed due to Covid-19, and convert them to virtual round-table discussions.  Even in the midst of a global pandemic, CGLR remains committed to providing a forum in which leaders from business, government, non-profits, and academia can gather to bring diverse perspectives to focus on increased understanding of issues toward developing shared solutions.

The list of issues of highest interest to participants—all of whom will have an opportunity to contribute their expertise—will form the basis of the specific sessions. The following topics are the ones we anticipate will be of highest interest:

  • Water–specifically the impact of climate change on water levels from historic lows to historic highs in the span of a decade and the resulting implications on infrastructure, commerce, and property of one of the world’s most important fresh water basins.
  • Sustainable Food Systems—from farm to fork—and the requirements of every member of that vast system in one of the world’s most prolific producer of food and vegetables, and the required capital and materials, to grow, process, and distribute food for a hungry region and a hungry world.
  • Circular Economy—specifically the importance of curtailing the proliferation of plastic waste in the Great Lakes waterways, while at the same time identifying the necessary infrastructure, policy, and end markets to create a truly circular and sustainable system. 
  • Energy—specifically pathways for affordable, accessible, sustainable solutions throughout the Great Lake region, from the western tip of Minnesota to the eastern shore of Quebec.

If you are interested in attending and/or presenting at these sessions, or if you have a recommendation for another dialogues regarding the issue areas<link to issues>, please contact Laura Asiala ( 

The schedule for the fall events will be posted by August 1, 2020.


International Joint Commission Boards Host July 17 Webinar: High Water Levels in Great Lakes

July 9, 2020 | By |

Interested in learning more about the historically high water levels in the Great Lakes? Attend the free webinar Friday, July 17 12:00 pm-1:30 pm (EDT) hosted by the International Lake Superior Board of Control, the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board and the International Niagara Board of Control.  The webinar will provide an overview of why the Great Lakes are at their current levels and how the International Joint Commission’s boards play a role in balancing the interests of all stakeholders impacted by water levels in the Great Lakes. While the event is virtual and free, registration is required:

GreenBiz offers Free Virtual Conference for Circular Economy: Circularity 20 August 25-27, 2020

July 9, 2020 | By |

Accelerating the Circular Economy is critical to the world, and it is critical to the Great Lakes Region. Given the global pandemic, GreenBiz will host their annual Circular Economy Conference—Circularity 20—completely online, August 25-27, 2020, opening broad participation to a convening to do just that. The completely virtual conference will feature engaging and informative plenaries, breakouts, tutorials, tours, networking opportunities and a solutions-oriented showcase.

This time of unprecedented challenges requires systemic solutions and radical new ways of doing business. Circularity 20 will empower participants to employ circular economy principles that navigate disruption, increase resilience, respond to shifting consumer demand and unlock new business opportunities. Join industry-leading speakers and more than 10,000 professionals participating from around the world to learn, connect and accelerate the circular economy.  For more information and free registration, see

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to Serve as Honorary Chairs and Co-Hosts of the Next Great Lakes Economic Forum

March 5, 2020 | By |

The Council of the Great Lakes Region welcomes Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to serve as the honorary chairs and co-hosts of the next Great Lakes Economic Forum (GLEF). Originally scheduled to take place in Chicago from June 16-18, 2020, the conference was postponed due to the global pandemic and will be rescheduled when appropriate and safe to do so.

POLITICO, the most robust global newsroom specializing in politics and policy, intends to serve again as the exclusive media partner for the in-person event, which will help promote the event across its digital platforms and amplify the conversations at the conference to influential audiences in the U.S, Canada, and the binational Great Lakes economic region.

Launched in Chicago in 2015, the ordinarily-annual event has quickly becoming the foremost gathering of corporate, government, political, academic, and non-profit leaders from across the eight Great Lakes states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec who want to engage in conversations about the strategic significance of the Great Lakes economy and develop collaborative action plans that will build the future competitiveness and sustainability of this vital region to the United States, Canada, and North America.

The theme of the conference – Powering Forward in the Great Lakes Economic Region: Our Prosperity. Our Sustainability. Our Future. – signifies the importance of the region’s workforce, industries, innovators and entrepreneurs, transportation and energy infrastructure, natural resources, farming and food systems, and higher education institutions to both countries, the region’s economic and ecological recovery, and the region’s ability to lead a new economy underpinned by inclusive, sustainable development. It has also served to inform a series of virtual events, beginning in June 2020.

Great Lakes Leaders support this cross-sector, collaborative approach:

“The Great Lakes are a vital economic and natural resource for our entire nation, and I’m thrilled to host the next Great Lakes Economic Forum in Illinois. The collaboration among the private and public sectors, leading education institutions and non-profit organizations will foster forward-thinking solutions to create jobs, build prosperity and secure a sustainable future for all of us. I’m excited to see this forum bring big ideas forward to spur economic growth in our region and preserve the largest body of freshwater on our planet.” – JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois

“The Great Lakes are an economic engine and indispensable resource to the City of Chicago —and the entire region. Leaders of all levels of government share a responsibility to protect the Great Lakes from environmental dangers and promote the recreation and sustainable growth that they generate for thousands of cities and towns.”- Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago

“The Great Lakes region is an economic engine of North America. We are thrilled to include leading POLITICO journalists from Illinois, Canada, and Washington, DC, in shaping the Forum’s important discussions about building a shared future that is both prosperous and sustainable.” – Luiza Savage, Executive Director, Cross-Platform Content, POLITICO

“The Council of the Great Lakes Region is honored to be partnering with Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot to host the next Great Lakes Economic Forum,  and to be working with them to create a new decade of collaboration that will position the binational Great Lakes economic region as the most prosperous, innovative, sustainable, livable, and welcoming region in the world.” – Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region

For More Information
To attend, sponsor, or cover the next Great Lakes Economic Forum, contact:

Mark Fisher
President and CEO
Council of the Great Lakes Region


Great Lakes Economic Forum 2019: Cleveland

January 30, 2019 | By |

The Great Lakes Region, which is shared by the United States and Canada and comprised of eight states and the Canadian provinces on Ontario and Quebec, is the economic engine of the North America. Read More