Good morning, Friend!

None of us is one-dimensional – countless layered components, influences, and experiences intersect to make up our identities. The commemorations and holidays that line our calendars invite us to pause to recognize the meaning behind those layers.

Just this week, so many layers of identity come into focus and deserve consideration and conversation. We mark the Lunar New Year together with Asian and Asian American communities around the world. We begin Black History Month and take time to celebrate the contributions and absorb the stories of members of the Black and African American communities. And February 1, World Hijab Day, invites us to deeper interreligious understanding and empathy.

Our understanding of the world, our community, and ourselves is richer when a spectrum of voices are at the table. By actively welcoming diverse perspectives, especially ones we haven’t considered before, we can grapple with the stories behind the headlines, the intersections at the heart of identities. We can see the ripples of action and inaction, the three-dimensional realities behind two-dimensional soundbites. We can see the world in full color.

This month, we invite IRC members and friends to consider perspectives that may be less familiar to you. As part of this exploration, bring your whole self, your intersectional identity, to this table so that others can benefit, as well. The IRC has a seat for you and welcomes your ears, your reflection, and your voice in these conversations that matter.

Kind regards,

Matthew Hughes, Executive Director • 816-897-6474

Black History Month Around The World

International News
The Latest from Around the Globe

Violence, protests mark anniversary of Myanmar military coup
nationwide strike in Myanmar on Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the army’s seizure of power, as sporadic protests and violence across the country raised further international concern over the ongoing struggle for power.
Story from NBC News.

Chinese hosts share the Lunar New Year with Olympic athletes, personnel and media
Chinese residents normally ring in the start of the New Year with fireworks, lanterns, balloons, food, and family time. But this year, the holiday is very different. While Tuesday marked the official beginning of the two-week long Lunar New Year in China and the start of the Year of the Tiger, thousands of locals working and volunteering at the Beijing Olympics are celebrating in a new way.
Story from ABC News.

Ukraine announces plan to boost army; US demands Russian de-escalation
Ukraine’s president signed a decree on Tuesday to boost his armed forces by 100,000 troops over three years, as European leaders lined up to back him in a standoff with Russia and the United States demanded immediate Russian de-escalation.
Story from Reuters.

Get Involved
Join a Roundtable

Perhaps you’ve lived in another part of the world, worked there, studied there, traveled there, or just have a general fascination. IRC members are warmly invited to join one or more IRC Roundtables – a chance to connect with other members, talk about current events in regions of interest to them, and help inform IRC programming. Roundtable members will be invited to a quarterly meeting and receive IRC event information and other updates relevant to the regions they select.

Roundtables are open to all members of the IRC, including individual/family members and individuals affiliated with IRC organizational members, like businesses, colleges/universities, and nonprofits. Roundtable membership is included in your IRC membership. Be as involved as your schedule allows, without worrying about whether you can make a meeting or meet a deadline. The point is to connect, explore, and engage. Click here to learn more.

If you’re not yet a member, or if you’re unsure, no problem – join here, or reach out!

IRC News
Limited Great Decisions Books Remain – Place Your Order Today

2022 Great Decisions briefing books and DVDs are now available for sale on the IRC website. We appreciate your help alerting group members and others who might be interested in participating in the coming year, and we remain so thankful for all you do to support civil conversations on issues of international importance through the year.

Sign Up
Upcoming Events
Academic WorldQuest News & Views Series • February 3 – March 3
As part of the IRC’s News & Views Discussion Group, the AWQ mini-series will bring local high school students and their teachers into the international conversation. For each edition, based around 5 of the categories included in the upcoming Academic WorldQuest trivia competition, an expert discussion leader will lead all participants – students, IRC members, and members of the public, to study and think critically about each international topic.

International Film Club: Happy As Lazzaro • Tuesday, February 8
Click to watch film on Netflix. This is the tale of a meeting between Lazzaro, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. Life in their isolated pastoral village Inviolata is dominated by the terrible Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna, the queen of cigarettes. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping. This strange and improbable alliance is a revelation for Lazzaro. A friendship so precious that it will travel in time and transport Lazzaro in search of Tancredi. His first time in the big city, Lazzaro is like a fragment of the past lost in the modern world. Click here to register.

A Novel Experience: Convienece Store Woman • Wednesday, March 23
Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction ? many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual ? and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action… A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine. Click here to register.

IRC Community
Member News
  • The CGSC Foundation’s Simons Center invites the public to attend the last of three virtual presentations in the Cold War Symposium series Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. CT. Bill Eckhardt, an IRC Member, will be a featured speaker. Click here to register.
  • The U.S. Heartland China Association, an IRC Organizational Member, has gathered experts from different countries to share lessons learned under different healthcare systems to shed light on the potential best path forward in global pandemic response. The event will take place on Thursday, February 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. CT. Click here to register.
  • An international peace journalism symposium is being held on Wednesday, March 2 to celebrate the center’s 10th birthday. The event, featuring experts from five continents, is being held via zoom. The symposium is coordinated by Steven Youngblood, associate professor at IRC organizational member Park University,

Do you have news you’d like to share? Send us an email!

Quick Hits
From Our Friends
  • Greater KC People to People is inviting you to a their next Circle of Knowledge Presentation on Togo Sunday, February 27 at 2 p.m. CT. Captain Kwassi Kporliawornou Ledi will discuss various aspects of Togo, a West African nation, and answer questions.  He was born in 1985 in Lome, the eldest of a family of four children. He studied English from age 9 even though the country is French speaking.  As soon as Captain Ledi graduated from the University of Lome, he enlisted, becoming 2nd lieutenant of the Togolese Armed Forces in 2012. Click here to register.
  • The Kansas City Chinese Association (KCCA) premiered the original New Year Performance Film “Nian” (New Year) on Friday, January 28. The film is now available for viewing here.
  • Join the World Affairs Council of Charlotte on Thursday, February 10 with Dr. Jay Bryson, the Managing Director and Chief Economist for Wells Fargo’s Corporate and Investment Bank. Bryon will share his expert insight into the global economic outlook for 2022 referencing domestic and major economies worldwide while addressing challenges stemming from the pandemic. Click here to register.

A World of Art

Max Ernst | How to See the Artist

German painter Max Ernst is often described in textbooks as a key Dada or Surrealist artist, but throughout his long career, he worked across many mediums transforming everyday images into visionary dreamscapes. MoMA curator Anne Umland explores his life and works as a painter, sculptor, collage maker and poet.