Summary Report of the Great Lakes Economic Forum

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From April 26-28, 2015, the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) hosted its first Great Lakes Economic Forum in Chicago, Illinois.

The idea behind the event was simple: create a space where business, government, legislative, academic and non-governmental leaders from around the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region could come together each year to share ideas in shaping regional economic policy, boosting the region’s competitive edge, and securing its long-term success.

Collectively, the presentations and cross-cutting panel discussions, which were punctuated by keynote addresses by the Governor General of Canada, the Governor of Illinois, the Mayor of Chicago, the United States and Canadian Ambassadors, and the Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, served to remind us that our success as a bi-national economic region is built on a long tradition of hard work, discovery, ingenuity, perseverance, and renewal.

While there will always be a healthy level of competition between the eight American states and the two Canadian provinces that form this region, we were also reminded that in today’s borderless, knowledge-based, global economy, we will never be as strong apart as when we are working together in pursuing common economic goals.

In this regard, the discussions at the Forum, which are summarized in this report, combined with the Vital Commons agenda prepared by the Mowat Centre for Public Policy Innovation at the University of Toronto and the Brookings Institute, begin to set the foundation of an ambitious but practical work plan for the region.

I welcome your feedback. More important, as CGLR begins to mobilize leaders on both sides of the border and across key sectors, we need your involvement in the the insightful research projects, thought-provoking events, and targeted advocacy that will be carried out to drive this agenda forward.

Mark Fisher
President and CEO

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