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Member Spotlight: Letitia Harmon


Letitia Harmon has been a member of the IRC since 2014 and has served as a conversation leader for the IRC's News & Views program series. Letitia's academic career began at University of Washington in Seattle where she studied International Relations. Since then, from Kuwait, where she worked to address penal code reform to support women, to education programs in a refugee camp in Kenya and work in India and Nepal, Letitia has supported human rights efforts around the world. Letitia has been generous with her time in a volunteer capacity, as well. Besides contributing to the International Relations Council, [...]

Member Spotlight: Letitia Harmon2021-06-04T10:54:00-05:00

A Peek Behind the Washington Curtain


I went to Washington from the heart of the Midwest from Kansas City, where I've named my car Dorothy and where, as you know, we don't really have swamps, real or fabled. I, like many other student interns, had no idea what to expect last summer. I researched and I prepared, but when I arrived on the doorstep of Washington I really only knew just how badly I wanted to excel. I was set to intern at the Association of Diplomatic Studies & Training (ADST), a nonprofit which records the oral histories of diplomats and their family members, facilitates the [...]

A Peek Behind the Washington Curtain2021-06-07T13:03:11-05:00

What Five Geopolitical Books Can You Recommend Reading While Social Distancing?


Mental health professionals with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the European Union's Mental Health Europe, have similarly emphasized the importance of maintaining good mental health and positive wellbeing to better cope with the current COVID-19 threat, and the uncertainty it's creating for the future. But, the mental health professionals have a prescription for us to assiduously follow during these trying times: Take periodic breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories about COVID-19, including on social media, as hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting  Get plenty of exercise and sleep Make time to unwind Engage [...]

What Five Geopolitical Books Can You Recommend Reading While Social Distancing?2021-06-07T13:05:18-05:00

Vietnam on a Whim


Ever listen to someone's future plans and think to yourself, "Wow, they're out of their mind"?   That's what I thought when Dylan told me that he was going to go to Vietnam to teach English for a year. I remember telling him "Wow man, you're crazy." At that point, I was drowning in my own thoughts of what I would do come graduation, but I could tell you with 95 percent confidence that traveling to Vietnam was not in the cards for me.  Graduation came and went and I was working during the summer as an intern in New [...]

Vietnam on a Whim2021-06-07T13:09:02-05:00

Taking a Moment to Stop and Listen


It is safe to say that taking a solo trip abroad is a daunting, yet rewarding experience. It is a challenge I decided to take following graduating from undergrad. While traveling abroad alone is not unique as more and more recent graduates seek similar travel experiences, one particular encounter I had while walking in Germany has stuck with me ever since. I was in Freiburg, Germany as one of my stops on my trip. While looking to do touristy things as any good tourist does, I heard of a gondola which takes riders up a hill in the Black Forest [...]

Taking a Moment to Stop and Listen2021-06-07T13:11:55-05:00

Sister City Jazz exchange program with Hannover, Germany


Kansas City and Hannover, Germany are two of the world's great hubs of jazz, both declared UNESCO Cities of Music. The connection doesn't stop there, Kansas City and Hannover are linked as Sister Cities. The Sister City Association of Kansas City supports and promotes communication, cooperation, and understanding for innovative programs which bring people together through tourism, education, music, and cultural awareness on the international level. We organize cultural exchanges between Kansas City and sister cities by hosting some interesting events. Last year's "Wunderbar Together" campaign celebrated the year of German-American friendship. Films and programs highlighted German icons past and [...]

Sister City Jazz exchange program with Hannover, Germany2021-06-07T13:13:34-05:00

From China to Vietnam, with Love


I was fortunate enough to visit my girlfriend's home country during the winter break. Vietnam is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia, just a five hour flight away from the city where I was born in Shanghai, China. This is a very large step in anyone's relationship, but especially in the Chinese and Vietnamese culture.     Vietnam's culture and history are very diverse. On the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, you can see the results of the fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, and the buildings that were left over during the French colonial period in the city center. [...]

From China to Vietnam, with Love2021-06-11T11:07:22-05:00

New Americans Welcome Naturalization Ceremony


The New American Welcome Center (NAWC) and the North Kansas City YMCA are so happy to say congratulations to 174 new American citizens from over 55 different countries. These students took the oath of allegiance at the North Kansas City YMCA on January 15, 2020, and successfully completed their journey to citizenship! It was an honor to be a part of this amazing day. Two members of the North Kansas City YMCA were a part of this ceremony and received their citizenship in front of their friends and family. Our community is truly stronger and more vibrant for all of the [...]

New Americans Welcome Naturalization Ceremony2021-06-11T11:07:34-05:00

No Iranaphobia For Me


We tend to fear what we know little about, especially if we choose to have limited sources for gaining knowledge about the world. Recently, having returned from a two week trip to Iran sponsored by Global Exchange, I was delighted and privileged to learn more about this rich and ancient history and to witness first-hand the warmth and engagement of the people. Since having made the decision to go last February, I must say that I did have some trepidation as the verbal exchange between the U.S. and Iran seemed to be heating up in intensity over the summer months. [...]

No Iranaphobia For Me2021-06-11T11:07:43-05:00

A Kansas Citian’s Visit to Iran


This blog was written in early October 2019, before the events of recent days. "Where are you from?" This was the quizzical look on the Iranian people's faces and what they really meant was, "if you are from the U.S., how did you get a visa to come to Iran?". We said yes, we are from the U.S. "We love Americans" was the constant rejoiner. To that, we said, "We apologize for what our administration has done to your people." On September 26th, a group of four of our Global Exchange Tour arrived in Tehran for a 14-day tour of [...]

A Kansas Citian’s Visit to Iran2021-06-11T11:07:50-05:00
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