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December 6, 2017: Amb. Bill Taylor and the 2018 Berkley Lecture

Wednesday, December 6, 2017  
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Dear friends,

We're looking forward to seeing a number of IRC members and friends at this evening's American Public Square NATO event at the Truman Library, which the IRC is proud to support. Next week, we hope you'll join us as we welcome Ambassador Bill Taylor, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, as he speaks on the connection of practical peacebuilding to national security. He'll be at the Plaza branch of the KC Public Library from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12. The program is free and open to the public; take a look below for registration information, and please help us spread the word.

Academic WorldQuest will be here before we know it! This annual tournament allows teams of four students from area high schools to showcase their global knowledge while vying for an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national tournament. This year's competition is on Saturday, February 3, at the KU Edwards Campus. Please encourage high-school students, teachers, and administrators you know to sign up; it's free for them to participate!

We are proud to announce the speaker and topic for the 2018 Berkley Lecture. Katherine Charlet is inaugural director of the Technology and International Affairs Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy. She will be joining us on Wednesday, February 7, for a luncheon lecture on the future of cyber conflict, a most timely topic relevant to the work of so many companies and educational institutions in Kansas City. Registration is now open, and program sponsorships are available. Please see below for more information. The January selection for the Book Club, also announced below, will be an excellent primer for anyone planning to attend the lecture.

As we approach the end of the year, feel free to be in touch with your thoughts and suggestions for program topics and speakers for 2018. We hope to hear from you!

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. This week's edition focuses on Jerusalem, the new Cold War, Yemen, EU-Africa migration challenges, and Brexit. Read more »

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 than Sunday, December 10. Read 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!


Free Event
Ambassador Bill Taylor: Practical Peacebuilding for National Security – Tuesday, December 12 – 6-8 p.m. – Plaza Library
Please join us on Tuesday, December 12, as we welcome Ambassador Bill Taylor, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and current executive VP of the U.S. Institute of Peace, to Kansas City at a conversation on how practical peacebuilding supports national security. A reception will precede the program. Thanks to generous support from USIP, the World Affairs Councils of America, and the KC Public Library, this program is free and open to the public, but registration is requested to help with planning. Read more and register »

IRC Member Benefit
Cover to Cover: Haroon Ullah – Thursday, December 14 – 1-1:30 p.m. – via conference call
In Digital World War », seasoned diplomat Haroon Ullah, with deep knowledge of Islamist politics and digital innovation, investigates the unprecedented impact of social media on the discourse of recent events in the Muslim World – from the Arab Spring and its aftermath to ISIS's online recruitment. While he identifies the roles of social media in these events and the use of the dark web, hacking, and digital attacks, he also reveals how political parties, corporations, and governments have learned to exploit digital tools to target and mobilize audiences, to ultimately achieve power and status. This call is offered as a benefit for IRC members and is provided by the World Affairs Councils of America. To check your membership status or register for the call, please contact Matthew ».

Free Event
IRC Book Club: Cybersecurity and Cyberwar – Tuesday, January 16 – 6:30-8 p.m. – Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
The IRC Book Club will consider cybersecurity at its next meeting on Tuesday, January 16, as a lead-up to the 2018 Berkley Lecture. IRC member and technology specialist Michael Arbach will facilitate the session. This program is free and open to the public, though reservations are requested to help with planning. Please join us! Read more and register »

Registration Open
2018 Berkley Lecture: The Future of Cyber Conflict – Wednesday, February 7 – 11:30-1:00 (Registration at 11) – Grand Street Café
The IRC is proud to present Katherine Charlet as the 2018 Berkley Lecturer. Inaugural director of the Technology and International Affairs Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, Ms Charlet will present on cyber security and policy. Tickets ($30, students; $38, IRC members; $45 general admission) are available through January 31. Sponsorships are also available. Read more and register »

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.

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

International Festival », presented by Summit Christian Academy
Tuesday, February 20 – 5 p.m. – SCA Elementary (Lee's Summit)

Discover Global Markets », presented by the U.S. Commercial Service
April 30 to May 2 – Kansas City

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.

Unbound Seeks Volunteers to Help Prepare Holiday Greetings
Join Unbound at their Kansas City headquarters, helping prepare holiday greetings from sponsored friends in envelopes for mailing all across the world. The cards are a vital part of the encouraging relationships built between sponsors and sponsored friends. On your visit, in addition to stuffing letters, your group will have a chance to tour their building, eat lunch with their staff, and learn more about the Unbound program. This is a great opportunity for all, from corporate groups to high school students. Contact their Service Center at » to schedule a time to volunteer.

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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