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November 22, 2017: We're Thankful for You

Thursday, November 23, 2017  
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Dear friends,

As we mark Thanksgiving this week, we hope you know how thankful we are for you and all you do to support the work of the International Relations Council. Whether you've just found the IRC or are a longtime member, your gifts of time, talent, and financial support do so much to make our work possible, and we're most grateful. With your help, we look forward to continuing conversations about what's going on around the world and how it connects to our community here.

Last week's World Affairs Councils of America conference in Washington, D.C., was an opportunity to connect with and learn from many of the other 90+ councils around the country and engage some of 2017's critical topics. University of Kansas undergraduate Kaitlyn Johnson joined us thanks to WACA's generous support. As a result of our time in D.C., we're incubating some exciting ideas for the year ahead. Stay tuned!

We have a few programs before the end of the year, and we hope to see you at one or more of them:

  • A Rainy Day Books author talk with Khizr Khan on Thursday, November 30Read more and register »
  • NATO: Truman to Trump – an American Public Square program at the Truman Library on Wednesday, December 6Read more and register »
  • "Practical Peacebuilding for National Security" with Ambassador Bill Taylor on Tuesday, December 12 – an evening program at the Plaza branch of the KC Public Library. Please save the date; more information available soon.

We invite high-school students and teachers who have not already registered for the 2018 Academic WorldQuest competition to find more information here » and register for the February tournament. Registration will be closing in December.

We wish you a wonderful celebration and day of rest with friends and family this week. Thank you for being part of this dynamic community and these meaningful conversations.

Kind regards,
Matthew Hughes, Executive Director • 816-423-2632

Each week, the World Affairs Councils of America publishes a digest of news stories covering topics from around the world. There is no digest this week as the WACA office is closed for Thanksgiving.

We don't have a new blog post this week, but we invite you to check out past blog posts you might have missed here ». If you are interested in contributing a blog post, please review some frequently asked questions », where you'll also find out how to submit your post.

Experience a new world and expand your horizons – study abroad in high school! The U.S. Department of State offers full scholarships to high school students to study abroad for one academic year. Create long-lasting friendships with people around the globe, promote mutual understanding, learn a new language, and develop leadership skills. Find out more at the U.S. Dept. of State high school study abroad webpage ».  Deadlines for the three programs are as follows: 
1. Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) with Germany, deadline is December 11, 2017
2. Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad (YES Abroad), deadline is December 5, 2017
3. National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), deadline is November 2, 2017.


Global and Multicultural Education, a Kansas City nonprofit organization, seeks nominations for its annual Peace Builder Awards. Nominations should be submitted no later thanSunday, December 10Read more and nominate »

IRC members are remarkable individuals and organizations who bring considerable international experience, connections, and curiosity to our network and offer unique perspectives and contributions – in some cases, for decades! To help members get to know one another and to celebrate our members' many efforts, we've started highlighting individual and organizational members in the IRC newsletter and on the website. If you know someone who deserves the spotlight, or if you wish to share your own story, please submit this form ». We look forward to getting to know our IRC members!


Registration Open
Rainy Day Books Author Talk: Khizr Khan – Thursday, November 30 – 7 p.m. – Unity Temple on the Plaza
Khizr Khan will present his new hardcover, An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice. A book signing will follow the presentation; a stamped admission ticket is required for the book signing. The ticket price of $27 plus Kansas sales tax includes an autographed hardcover, one admission ticket, and one guest admission ticket, if needed. This event is co-presented by Rainy Day Books and the IRC. Read more and register »

Registration Open
NATO: Truman to Trump – Wednesday, December 6 – 6:30-9 p.m. – Truman Library (Independence)
What is NATO’s role in the post-Cold War era? What are the United States’ obligations vis-a-vis other NATO members? Should NATO membership continue to expand? Is NATO up to the challenges of 21st-century security? The IRC is proud to sponsor this American Public Square program. The event is free and open to the public, though registration is required. Read more and register »

Save the Date
Ambassador Bill Taylor: Practical Peacebuilding for National Security – Tuesday, December 12 – 6-8 p.m. – Plaza Library
Please join former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and current Executive Vice President of the U.S. Institute of Peace Bill Taylor as we explore the role of practical peacebuilding in fostering national security. The event will be free and open to the public, though registration is requested to help with planning. A free reception will precede the program.

High-School Program
2018 Academic WorldQuest – Saturday, February 3 – 12-4 p.m. – KU Edwards Campus
High-school students are invited to put their global knowledge to the test in the annual Academic WorldQuest competition, a flagship program of the World Affairs Councils of America. Each year since 2006, the IRC has offered high-school students the chance to showcase their knowledge of world affairs, geography, history, and world events. Each area high school may enter one team of four students plus a faculty sponsor. Participation is entirely cost-free for schools. The winning team will receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the students and their sponsor to participate in the national Academic WorldQuest competition in late April. The 2018 Kansas City–area tournament will be held on Saturday, February 3, at the KU Edwards Campus. Read more and register »

An incredible network of experienced professionals, travelers, and internationalists in the Kansas City metro area make up the IRC community. With this in mind, the IRC Speakers Bureau facilitates connections between these experts and local organizations, schools, and businesses who are interested in having them speak or present at their events. Many current IRC members are eligible to join the Speakers Bureau as speakers, and the service is free for IRC member organizations. Click here » to learn more, sign up to be a speaker, or request a speaker for your upcoming event.


Great Decisions groups give internationally minded individuals throughout the metro area an opportunity to connect as they explore topics of global significance. Groups affiliated with the IRC set a regular meeting time and location, often over a meal, and use materials prepared by the Foreign Policy Association to lead dynamic discussions. More information about the Great Decisions program, including how to order materials and where and when groups meet, is available here ». Topics for 2018 include the waning of Pax Americana, Russia, China: economic power and geopolitics, media and foreign policy, Turkey: a partner in crisis, the U.S. defense budget, South Africa, and global health.

To purchase 2018 materials (for delivery in January 2018), please click here »


Have an idea for an IRC topic, program, or speaker? We'd love to hear from you! Please complete this form » as often as ideas come to you, and share it with others who might be interested. We may contact you for more information, and you may see your idea in a future IRC program or publication.

Does your business or organization have an upcoming event that could be of interest to IRC members? To have your event considered for inclusion in future IRC newsletters, please contact Matthew Hughes.

Living Voices: La Causa », presented by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education
Tuesday, November 28 – 7-8:30 p.m. – Guadalupe Center (KCMO)

Cornucopia: The Hunger for Energy Resources in South America », presented by the Linda Hall Library
Wednesday, November 29 – 3-4 p.m. – Linda Hall Library

NAFTA 2.0: Negotiations and Beyond », presented by the World Trade Center Kansas City
Thursday, November 30 – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – KC Chamber Board Room (Union Station)

Economic Outlook 2018 », presented by Institute for Supply Management–KC
Thursday, November 30 – 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Porto do Sul (Overland Park)

Harnessing a Global Workforce », presented by the KC Chamber
Wednesday, December 6 – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – KC Chamber Board Room (Union Station)

Kansas City Folk Festival », presented by Folk Alliance International
Sunday, February 18 – Westin Crown Center

Do you know of a volunteer opportunity that would allow IRC members to work with individuals from a variety of countries and cultures or that focuses on international topics or global issues? To have the opportunity considered for inclusion in the Volunteer Center or future IRC newsletters, please contact Matthew Hughes.

Please click here » to visit the IRC Volunteer Center for more information on one-time and ongoing opportunities to support the IRC and other international initiatives.

KC Public Library Seeks Volunteers
Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment is a division of the Kansas City Public Library’s Outreach Department, dedicated to connecting refugee and immigrant patrons and community members to resources for their success. RISE seeks volunteers for the following programs:

  • English for Citizenship Preparation: assist instructor in weekly classes, two hours/week for 12 weeks, one-hour volunteer training session required
  • Citizen Interview Mentor Sessions: work one-on-one to prepare patrons for naturalization interview, one to two hours/week, flexible scheduling, two hours of volunteer training required
  • English-Language Learning: lead small classes (life skills, basic English speaking/reading/writing), two hours/week, one hour of training required

Contacts: Julie Robinson », RISE manager (816-701-3587); Jane Lee », citizenship coordinator (816-701-3673); Katie Taylor », English language coordinator (816-701-3712); Rita Edmonds », RISE VISTA (816-701-3546)

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