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Marshall Bouton to leave Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Marshall Boutwill step down as president Chicago Council Global Affairs early 2013. Boutwho’s returning his home state Massachusetts has served

Marshall Bouton will step down as president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in early 2013. Bouton, who’s returning to his home state of Massachusetts, has served as president since 2001 and has been an influential figure on the global stage.

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Founded in 1922 as The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the council is an independent and nonpartisan organization, and one of the oldest in the United States.

Long known for its studies of American public opinion on foreign policy, the Chicago Council has expanded its contributions to national and international discussions on issues such as migration, agricultural development and food security, and energy and climate change.

Updated: July 9, 2012 6:12AM

Marshall Bouton will step down as president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs early next year and move to back home to Massachusetts to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.

Lester Crown, chairman of the board of the council, said a search for a successor will begin immediately, led by Henry Bienen, president emeritus of Northwestern University.

“Marshall Bouton has led the Chicago Council through a decade of enormous transformation,” said Crown. “Marshall’s vision, energy and execution have taken the organization to new heights of impact and relevance in Chicago and well beyond. Under his direction, the council has not only greatly strengthened its historic role as Chicago’s forum for the discussion of world affairs, it has also become a widely respected contributor of information and insight to the national and international discourse on the great issues of our time.”

Bouton, 69, said in an interview with the Sun-Times Thursday that among the work he’s most proud of during his tenure is expanding the scope and reach of the council, which now spends 50 percent of its time and budget as a think tank. He has been president since 2001.

“Our work ranges from food security to immigration to global cities and back again to the core traditional foreign policy, national security issues,” he said.

He added he’s also pleased that the council has expanded its reach “beyond the very important core community of people strongly involved in foreign policy to bring in more young people and more people from the new immigrant communities in Chicago and make it a more inclusive place.”

Bouton, who chairs an advisory board for the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, said he plans to involve himself more deeply in that work, do some teaching, consulting and project development work and remain involved in work on food security issues, which he pursued at the council.

Bouton also plans to maintain ties to Chicago.

“I love Chicago, and I will be back here,” he said. “I’m planning to develop some activities that will enable me to come to Chicago on a regular basis. I’ve spent two decades out of the five decades of my adult life in Chicago, so I have a deep connection to this city, and I have no intention of letting that drop.”

In a written statement, Bouton said of the council, “It has been an enormous privilege for me to be associated with this esteemed organization. With the unstinting support of our chairman, a superb board and talented and dedicated staff colleagues, I have been proud to lead the council through a decade of challenge and change.”

The organization — formerly called the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations — was founded in 1922 to locally influence the discourse on global issues.

Bouton previously was director for policy analysis for Near East, Africa and South Asia in the Department of Defense, special assistant to the U.S. ambassador to India and executive secretary for the Indo-U.S. Subcommission on Education and Culture. He has written several books and articles on India, Asia and U.S. foreign policy.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

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