The Group of Eight Summit the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit
Who: The Group of Eight is made up of the leaders of the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Russia. President Barack Obama has invited four African leaders -- from Benin, Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia -- to join food security talks. France and Britain have suggested adding the developing economies of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa.
What: The meetings began in 1975 at a forum instigated by France, where leaders of the six largest economic powers (the G-6) agreed to annual meetings. Canada joined a year later, making it the G-7. Russia was brought into the organization in 1997, six years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The European Union is represented but is not granted the power to act as host of the annual sessions or to serve as the rotating leader.
Why: The leaders deal with global issues such as expanding democracy, fighting corruption, debating climate change issues and making commitments to aid developing nations. This year a major point of discussion is the economic and political crisis gripping Europe. The agenda also includes the Arab Spring in the Mideast and North African, where the United States wants to focus on open trade and investment as well as anti-corruption efforts, promoting democracy and the rule of law and expanding education.
Where and when: Friday and Saturday at the presidential retreat at Camp David. …