‘Lights of the world’ will be on Dayton during 2025 NATO assembly

When a parliamentary assembly representing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gathers in the Dayton area over Memorial Day weekend 2025, area leaders said the eyes of the world will turn to the city and Ohio.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Dayton), Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and Dayton City Councilman Chris Shaw on Monday jointly announced plans to bring more than 600 delegates and staff members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to the area from May 24-26, 2025.

“This is an exciting event for us to showcase what we know is a wonderful, internationally significant city,” said Turner, who has been involved in the assembly in various roles since 2011.

The visit will mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, the agreement reached in November 1995 at the Hope Hotel and Conference Center, just outside Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, to end fighting between Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia.

“This gives us an added historical significance,” DeWine said. “So Ohio, Dayton, we look forward to being the host here.”

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

The assembly is an inter-parliamentary organization that unites legislators from NATO member countries to consider security-related issues of common interest and concern.

The announcement is the result of relationships Turner built for more than a decade. In January 2011, Turner was appointed chairman of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. In December 2014, he was elected president of that assembly. He now serves as vice-chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the assembly.

In 2022, Turner — who is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — initiated discussions about bringing the assembly to the Gem City in May 2025.

“Today’s announcement is really a tribute to Mike Turner,” DeWine said. “This would not have happened without Congressman Turner.”

Both Turner and DeWine emphasized NATO’s continued importance. The alliance held together to victory in the Cold War against the former Soviet Union and has continued to monitor a troubled region in the Balkans. Serbia’s government remains close to Russia, which in 2022 invaded Ukraine.

“There is still work to be done,” Turner said Monday. “The NATO Parliamentary Assembly wants to look to the (Balkans) area, what we’ve accomplished and what’s yet to be done, and they want to do so right here in Dayton, Ohio.”

“The focus that’s going to be on Dayton is going to be incredible,” Lieberman said.

“We’re going to have the lights of the world on Dayton, Ohio, especially downtown,” Shaw said.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

There was no definitive list of venues to be shared Monday, but Turner said assembly members will likely meet at “scattered sites.” He said Wright-Patterson and the Dayton Convention Center could be among those sites.

Turner also said he expects the event to have a “significant security footprint.”

The assembly will have three days of deliberative work, but the congressman expects participants to begin arriving in Ohio on Wednesday and Thursday before Memorial Day weekend next year.

The last time the assembly met in the United States was 20 years ago in Orlando, Fla.

“I think it’s important for them to see the Midwest,” Turner said. “Many of these people go to ... New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami. To come to the heartland of the United States will give them an impression of America they don’t normally see.”

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