World Citizen
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   

 

Globe-Trotting Career

Posted By IRC, Monday, October 22, 2018

As I come to the end of my six-month stay in Hanoi, I contemplate what led me to embark on my global-trotting career path. Over the past three years since graduation, I’ve lived in five countries. It began with a summer internship with the Naval Heritage Command (National Museum of U.S. Navy) in Washington, D.C. It was July 2013, and this was my first work experience in another country, let alone another continent! Whilst there, I was lucky to meet a number of inspiring young people from across the U.S., Canada, and the UK. Several years later, the achievements of these individuals are truly exceptional; one became a consultant in a top UK firm, another was recently the Assistant Attorney General of Chuuk state, Micronesia.

I’m sharing my experiences now because I don’t think that there has ever been a more important time to promote international ties through exchanges, study abroad programmes, and internships. It sometimes seems as though countries are more intent on closing borders and drawing lines, instead of fostering connections between the individuals in different locations, who together, form international communities. For a British citizen abroad, updates on Brexit and ongoing news of the migrant crisis in Europe remind me that we’re living through both a divisive and decisive time in international relations. As a historian, however, I am reminded that this has often seemed to be case, and previous centuries sought their own solutions to issues which still pose a global risk today.

Cross-cultural exchange exposes us to different mindsets and allows us to develop a sense of world-views which exist beyond the place we consider home. This encounter with the unfamiliar enriches our personal lives in the form of unexpected aspirations, a passion for new things, or even the chance to do activities and make connections which may never have otherwise become available. It also appears that these kinds of exchanges may be particularly beneficial for social mobility, something which both the UK (see Steven Hutt's article from the British Council in China) and the U.S. (the non-profit Project Rosseau is a great example) are striving to increase.

As a microcosm, I’ll illustrate how another internship, in the summer of 2014 - a year after coming to the U.S. for the first time - changed my life. I spent just over two weeks at the Zhuhai campus of Beijing Normal University (on the south coast of the Chinese mainland, just opposite Hong Kong) and worked on a short research project with Chinese students. I became interested in Chinese characters and how different they were from the Roman alphabet. I also started to really think about what it was like to live in a culture which was informed by a history and literature which was completely unknown to me, namely the historic influences of Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

Fast-forward four years and the effects of these couple of weeks is astounding. My internship in Zhuhai was the first time that I had ever been to Asia, and it gave me the courage to become a teaching assistant with the British Council in Greater Noida, near New Delhi. Whilst there, I realised just how useful it would be for me to learn a foreign language myself, and why not Mandarin Chinese?

This became a reality when I applied for, and was accepted into a British Council scholarship at Shandong Normal University, Jinan (the “normal” here simply emphasises that this university focuses on training teachers). I enjoyed the experience so much that I’ve endeavoured to keep up with my language learning, and have since undertaken Chinese lessons in Bangladesh and Vietnam (where a knowledge of Chinese characters has been useful in understanding Vietnamese history and modern day ancestor-worship).

In short, the effects of my initial international work experience, the confidence gained from subsequent trips, and the skills gained from studying in China have changed the direction of my career. Ultimately, during my time abroad, I developed as a person in ways that academic study at university could only partially achieve. My hope now is to encourage more organisations - and educational institutions especially - to develop international ties and to encourage more people to go beyond what they know in order to realise more clearly what they could be. Ultimately, languages barriers are surmountable, and cultural differences serve only to educate individuals on the values of tolerance, plurality, and strength in diversity.

Studying Mandarin Chinese with my Korean classmates in June 2016.

Has your interest in internationally focused internships increased as a result of Nikita's post? Consider applying for an International Relations Council internship for the spring 2019 semester. Application information is available on the IRC website », and the deadline to apply is Friday, October 26.


About the Author

Nikita Hayward graduated from the University of Oxford where her studies focused on the relationship between history and English literature. She has taught in India with the British Council, and spent a semester learning Mandarin Chinese in Jinan, China. Last year she worked for a semester at the Asian University for Women, in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and has since moved to Hanoi, Vietnam.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

German Immigration

Posted By IRC, Monday, October 8, 2018

As many as 58 million U.S. residents have German heritage, and a lot of immigrants from Deutschland settled in the Midwest. As recently as 1980, German was the third most-spoken language and could still be heard in many small communities in Kansas and Missouri. Up to 5 million arrived between 1840 and 1910, mostly in three large waves: the first from 1840-1857, the second from 1864-1873, and the last from 1880-1893.

 

Most left the northern harbors of Bremen and Hamburg, never to see their homeland again. Many believe that a majority of those who emigrated from Germany were poor laborers, but research suggests that’s not likely. At the time, average fares from Bremen to New York City, the most affordable rates during the first wave, averaged around 33 to 35 Thalers ($23) for adults. By comparison, a farm laborer would average around 24 Thalers a year, making it very tough for a person of that standing to afford one ticket, let alone as much as 100 Thalers for a family of five or six. The journey would be between 14 days for a steamship, which was far less common, or via sail ship for around a total of 45 days. Families came in groups to preserve familial links. It was incredibly common for multiple generations and entire family trees to settle close together, many having land that bordered one another.

 

The motivations to leave were varied, but most had to do with the changing economy and land ownership. Due to poor economic conditions in modern-day northeast Germany (then East Prussia), a surplus of farm laborers moved into the North Rhine Westphalia and Bavaria regions, and new technological advances, like the threshing machine, were making some jobs obsolete. To make matters worse, the agrarian economy in these regions was shifting into one that was far more industrial. Land in these areas was becoming more scarce because farms were becoming smaller when the custom of splitting the land amongst heirs happened generation after generation. By the third wave of immigration, those leaving agrarian life were highly unlikely to remain on the farm. Many Germans hoped to move to an American city and earn enough money to buy a farm and settle there, but the reality was that, by this time, the American economy had become far too industrialized. After this third and final large wave, German immigration to the U.S. declined steeply.

 

For those seeking information about their German ancestors, there are many good resources. In addition to many pay sites,  numerous free resources exist, such as ship manifest information at The National Archives and The Library of Congress. The Kansas City area also has a fantastic resource, the Midwest Genealogy Center, which is part of the Mid-Continent Public Library system. The MGC offers over 50,000 square feet of resources, access to vast online databases, and connections with researchers that are available for hire, should the task prove overwhelming.

 

About the Author
Jason Rose is a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Business Administration and Spanish and is the community intern at the IRC for Fall 2018.

200

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Member Spotlight: Lowell Jacobsen

Posted By IRC, Monday, October 1, 2018

Lowell Jacobsen is the Elizabeth Harvey Rhodes Professor of International Business at Baker University. Jacobsen spends the majority of his time teaching classes on international business and economics. He is proud to be teaching at Baker University, as it is one of the oldest universities in Kansas. His involvement with the IRC began in 1986 when he was approached by Dr. Eliot Berkley, the founder and long-time executive director of the organization. Lowell remains involved with the IRC and has served 12 years on the board including on the board's finance and education committees.

 

In 2012, Lowell received the Mike Wood Presidential Merit of Citation for the “wise stewardship of endowment funds resulting in continued stability of the IRC.” In addition to this, he more recently received the Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching at Baker.

 

Outside of the IRC and teaching at Baker, he has many global experiences. Jacobsen’s research and teaching has taken him to both Asia and Europe over previous years. He has a variety of visiting professorships include the Chinese University of Hong Kong, La Universidad de Cordoba, and St. Andrews University. In 2002, he had a Fulbright fellowship that supported his research of European Union enlargement. Through this fellowship, he was able to study in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. He has extended this research to a current focus on extending the intellectual roots of business strategy with archival work in the Universities of Cambridge, London, and Oxford.

 

To find out more information about the internationally focused programs at Baker, visit www.baker.edu.

 

The IRC spotlights our members and their diverse work and interests in the international space. To learn more or to indicate interest in being spotlighted in an upcoming post, please visit: http://www.irckc.org/page/MemberSpotlight ».

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Book Review: Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies

Posted By IRC, Monday, September 24, 2018

Using his background in medicine and anthropology, Seth M. Holmes creates a vivid description of the struggles of the Triqui, an indigenous group from Oaxaca, Mexico, living and working in the United States. Throughout the reading, Holmes follows a group of Triqui migrants, from Mexico to the farms in Washington and then to California. Holmes touches on many themes throughout the book; most prominent is how hierarchical structures affect the health and healthcare of many migrants. He uses fieldwork and first-hand experiences to give life to issues some might not see. He describes the aching pain from bending over in the hot sun for hours picking fruit and the exhaustion that comes from days of travel to reach the border.

 

Many migrants are unable to make enough by farming in their home state, so they cross the border to work on berry farms. In the United States, they face anti-immigrant sentiments, damage to the body from hard labor, and lack of healthcare. Many of the Triqui speak their own indigenous language and little Spanish or English, making it difficult to find translators. On top of this, many of the migrants move around every few months, making it difficult for records on their health and injuries to be kept. The United States relies on migrants for cheap labor, but Holmes argues the country doesn’t do enough in terms of protection for them.

 

Holmes acknowledges the difficulty in this. For example, he talks about the farm owners and their attempt to keep their business afloat and provide for the migrants that work for them at the same time. This book would be a good read for those interested in migrants in the United States, healthcare, and the impact of trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The book is easy to follow, as it is not full of jargon, and new terms are explained fully.

 

About the Author
Gianna Cado is the digital resources intern for the International Relations Council. She is currently a sophomore at University of Missouri-Kansas City, majoring in Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Anthropology.

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Event Recap: Sarah Margon, Washington Director of Human Rights Watch

Posted By IRC, Monday, September 17, 2018

On Thursday, September 13, the event hosted by the International Relations Council, “An Evening with Sarah Margon,” took place in the heart of Kansas City at Stinson Leonard Street Law Firm. As the Washington director of Human Watch Rights, Ms Margon serves as the organization’s main point of contact with the U.S. government and provides strategic and advocacy guidance, including legislative and policy development. Interviewed by Christina Arnone, a lawyer from Stinson, Ms Margon responded to diverse questions regarding foreign policy and international relations.

After enjoying some food and refreshments during the reception, the audience was ready to listen to the speaker to gain insight on what is going on around the world in a relaxed and informative atmosphere. She addressed issues ranging from Iran and the global refugee crisis to human rights in Africa.

In addition to providing an overview of human rights issues in 2018, she also elucidated the operations of Human Rights Watch, an organization that has a presence in 90 countries, including the U.S. In order to decide the countries to focus most strongly on, Human Rights Watch researches the places where the most atrocious human violations happen and raises awareness. Ms Margon also touched on the subject of funding for Human Rights Watch and said that they do not receive any funds from governments and are supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide.

After the interview, the audience had the opportunity to ask questions, which Ms Margon answered impartially and with expert knowledge. Various topics from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Puerto Rican natural disaster were explored.

The "Evening with Sarah Margon" was a great moment that encouraged people from our community to understand international issues, while bringing awareness on other parts of the world to people of Kansas City.


About the Author
Grace Komoe is the Fall 2018 events intern for the IRC and is a junior at Park University studying Political Science and Legal Studies.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Book Review: Should We Fear Russia?

Posted By IRC, Monday, September 10, 2018
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2018

The book Should We Fear Russia? by Dmitri Trenin focuses on the prospective threat Russia poses to other countries. The author takes the reader through Russia's past and present and addresses the root causes for other countries' widespread fear of Russia. This book stands out from other books about Russia because Trenin is from Russia and writes from his point of view, and it is important to include Russian voices in the discussion to create a better understanding of the country many people fear. In the end, Trenin believes that the fears many hold about Russia's place in the world are well-rooted in the country's history, albeit unnecessary and detached from the actual threat Russia poses.

Trenin breaks the book into four sections: the first section discusses fears of Russia and a brief history of Russia’s past after the cold war; the next section addresses goals of Russia and how those goals impact other countries; the third section discusses ways other countries keep Russia "in check"; and lastly, the fourth section offers comments on modern Russia and how other countries currently relate to Russia. Throughout the book, Trenin offers a thorough explanation of Russia’s past and how it connects to present realities and perceptions.

Overall, I found this to be a thought-provoking book that makes a complex situation more accessible for the average reader and world citizen. My recommendation to the author would be to release a new edition in light of the news attention Russia has received over the past year for its alleged influences on the last U.S. presidential election.


About the Author

Emily Hattan is a student at Florida Southern College studying Criminology and Psychology.

 

 

 

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Member Spotlight: Fred Baehner

Posted By IRC, Monday, September 3, 2018
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2018

Fred Baehner is the publisher of IBNewsmag », a monthly magazine that covers 15 states and provides small- to medium-sized enterprises with practical information to stimulate international trade. Other international endeavors of Baehner have included working in international business with his company, InterMark3, Inc.; serving as the president for the International Trade Council twice; and receiving security clearance to be an advisor for the U.S. Trade Representative, as well as serving on its industry trade advisory committee (a position and clearance only held by 30 other people in the U.S.). Baehner also has been a member of the International Relations Council since 1994 and still remembers receiving phone calls from Eliot Berkley, founder and long-time president of the IRC. 

Baehner currently serves as a board member of the Pan-American Association of Kansas City, which works to educate people about the importance of the Americas and the intertwining of its countries. He is also working to develop support for the International Fashion Exchange of Kansas City. In the past year, one of his major accomplishments includes co-hosting the Discover Global Markets event in Kansas City, which attracted more than 300 participants and 26 companies from 16 countries. On the horizon, he is looking forward to expanding IBNewsmag to other countries.

 

The IRC spotlights our members and their diverse work and interests in the international space. To learn more or to indicate interest in being spotlighted in an upcoming post, please visit: http://www.irckc.org/page/MemberSpotlight ».

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Event Recap: Ethnic Enrichment Festival

Posted By IRC, Monday, August 27, 2018
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2018


Kansas City’s 39th Annual Ethnic Enrichment Festival was held in beautiful Swope Park on August 17-19. On display were a host of activities from more than 60 unique cultures, including musical and dance performances, plentiful activities for children, and a wide variety of cuisines.

A brief walk from Pavilion Road yielded great views of the events at the pavilion stage. Featured on stage were folk dancers from Iran, the St. George Serbian Choir, the Scottish St. Andrew Pipes and Drums, and a vibrant, colorful ethnic fashion show displaying an array of the attire parading around the grounds. One of the many highlights on Saturday was the colorful and joyous Folkloricas Viva Panama, who closed the day’s activities at the pavilion. Sunday’s performances were quite impressive, particularly the voluminous, rhythmically precise Indonesian Gamelan Genta Kasturi and the soulful, powerful vocals of the Three Little Birds/Jahration singers.

The food at the festival is an annual treat, and this year was no exception. Many started their day with a rich, delicious Turkish coffee or a Malaysian Air Badung. Visitors to the festival were introduced to Ethiopia’s Key Siga Wot stew and the tastiest Venezuelan Arepas north of Caracas. Others stayed cool with a mango shake from Pakistan or shaved ice from the Hawaii booth.

The Ethnic Enrichment Festival is a wonderful reminder each year of Kansas City’s diverse population and shows how the various cultures and ethnicities help to construct this unique metropolitan area. Upon arrival, kids received a complimentary passport book and had it stamped for visiting each of the booths. Crafts were featured at the Kids World Tent both Saturday and Sunday.

It was a pleasure meeting so many new people and seeing so many familiar faces at the International Relations Council booth. We send our sincere thanks to the festival's planners, the Ethnic Enrichment Commission – an IRC organizational member – for their decades of work to promote multiculturalism and international awareness in our community.

 

About the Author
Jason Rose is a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Business Administration and Spanish and is the community intern at the IRC for Fall 2018.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Book Review: Capitalism without Capital

Posted By IRC, Monday, August 20, 2018
Updated: Friday, August 17, 2018

In the modern world many citizens worry about the economy and how the American gross domestic product (GDP) often feels like it is seconds away from a monumental crash. Capitalism without Capital by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake looks at how, in the world's poorer countries, a slowing of GDP often correlates with how the country measures intangible investment. 

 

The same kind of thought can be transferred to major markets that are growing in the Midwest of the U.S., such as online shopping and ride sharing. For online mogul Amazon, the Midwest has become a focal point for movement of their actual tangible capital, like the products they sell on their website (an intangible asset).

 

Intangible investment is present in everything involved with business that is not physical, including every piece of code, organizational counseling, marketing, research and development, and brand recognition. However, it is not a simple addition of money spent, because that would look at the input and not the possible output that these investments would payout.

 

The book is an excellent exploration of the implications that come with an ever-increasing market for intangible goods and how the ideas and patents that are created in our intangible era are just as important as the actual capital found in businesses of the past. The authors also explore the idea of scalability, or the spike that is commonly seen in intangible heavy industries.

 

 

About the Author
Chris Boyce is a student at Rockhurst University studying Business and Accounting.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

A City of Culture and Connection

Posted By IRC, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

When I was seeking a new school to continue my education, a must-have for me was a place with culture. I was looking for a place that extended beyond its city limits, one that I would have opportunities for growth. I found that here in Kansas City. Many towns and cities have sister cities, another place across the world with which they’ve established a link, usually for the purpose of cultural exchange. Kansas City, however, has 13 sister cities. These are found all over the globe, in places such as Spain, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, and Taiwan, and others.


You can find evidence of other cultures' influence throughout Kansas City’s landscape. Much of the Country Club Plaza has architecture found in our sister city, Seville, while the Dragon Boat Festival is a result of our relationship with Xi’an, China.

These cultural exchanges and takeaways have added unforgettable culture and life to the businesses of Kansas City. We strive to forge relationships with cities that have industries in technology like we do, and focus towards building ties with cities that have similar museums or universities. These sister cities and their affiliated organizations greatly contribute to making Kansas City an exciting place to live and provide numerous experiences.

Students, artists, musicians, and even professionals can benefit from these international relationships. Local universities offer many different options in the form of student exchange programs, the ability to study abroad, and even travel courses. Likewise, international professionals and students from sister cities have come to Kansas City to teach and learn here as well.

If you want to see a bit of the culture yourself, head on down to the Country Club Plaza and view the “Kansas City Sister Cities International Bridge.” Built in 2000, this bridge promotes international understanding by creating connection between the cities all over the globe. It’s a great place to visit with your family and take in all that Kansas City has to offer.

 

About the Author
Melissa Donley is a senior at Avila University majoring in Graphic Design and was the marketing intern at the IRC during summer 2018. 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 3 of 9
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9