A first delegation, led by Jim Thomson, former Democrat Governor of Illinois and Lance Pressel, President of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, was received on 7 December 2011 by Christian Sautter, Deputy Mayor of Paris responsible for Employment, Economic Development and International Attractiveness, in the presence of Karine Bidart, Director General of Paris Développement (Paris Development), the Paris economic development agency. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the policies for supporting the creation of new businesses and jobs which have been implemented in Paris and Chicago.
The delegation, composed of representatives of the business world, including Howard Tullman, a close associate of the Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, also included officials from the States of Wisconsin and Indiana.
In parallel, a second delegation from Chicago, composed of experts on social issues, visited the City of Paris from 5 to 11 December 2011 as part of an exchange programme begun in 2010. Pierre Schapira, Deputy Mayor responsible for International Relations, European Affairs and the French-speaking world received them to the City hall. The object of this mission was to study the systems for combating poverty and improving child welfare set up by the Paris authorities (Centre d’Action Sociale de la Ville de Paris [City of Paris Social Welfare Centre] and Direction de l’Action sociale, de l’Enfance et de la Santé [Department of Social Welfare, Childhood and Health]) and their partners. They also visited a district social services centre and a community social welfare centre, family mediation, child welfare and fostering organisations and centres which house and accommodate homeless people. The delegation also visited the children’s court. This exchange followed a first visit to Chicago on the same themes in November 2010 by a delegation of experts from Paris led by Valérie de Brem, Deputy General Secretary of the City of Paris and Geneviève Gueydan, Director of Social Welfare, Childhood and Health.
Both delegations were received with the support of the Paris Chicago Committee, which is presided in Paris by Mrs. Renée Johnson and in Chicago by Mr. Brett August.