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Maduro's Venezuela Thursday at UMKC

Wednesday, November 14, 2018  
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Dear friends,

This evening we looked at the knowledge, skills, and abilities that can help entrepreneurs – and all of us – to work across countries and cultures. These competencies are at the heart of international relations and remind us that international relations start with interpersonal relations. Many thanks to our panelists and all who joined us at the Plexpod in Westport as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Numerous events remain; check them out online ».

If you're available Thursday evening, you can find us at UMKC where we'll be discussing the challenges facing Venezuela and where the country goes from here. You can find more information below on this free program. If there are topics, regions, or countries you'd like the IRC to focus on in a 2019 program, please let us know »; we love hearing from you!

After Thanksgiving, we hope you'll join us at the North Kansas City YMCA for a networking hour. Our friends at the Y – an IRC organizational member – will share more about their work, and it will be a great chance to get to know other members of the community, from north and south of the river. The program is free to attend, but we do ask you to register to help with planning.

April and I will both be out of the office next week, so we won't have a newsletter on Wednesday, and it may take a short time for us to get back with you. On behalf of all of us at the IRC, we hope you and your family will enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. We're certainly thankful for you and all you contribute to this remarkable community.

Kind regards,

Matthew Hughes, Executive Director
 • 816-423-2632

This week, the World Citizen Blog is a review of the book Tropic of Chaos »We welcome blog contributions from IRC members and friends. If you are interested in writing a blog post, please review some frequently asked questions », where you'll also find out how to submit your post.

Each year, groups of students, coworkers, friends, and community members meet around the Kansas City area to discuss some of today’s most critical global issues as part of the Great Decisions program ». Program materials prepared by the Foreign Policy Association include a briefing book with nonpartisan articles, discussion questions, additional suggested readings, and a program DVD to encourage conversation in a safe and welcoming environment. The International Relations Council, a Kansas City nonprofit organization, helps to organize groups around the area and encourages you to join an existing group or start one of your own. Getting involved is easy, and we’re happy to help! Email April Diaz, IRC program coordinator, at » to get started. 

Topics for 2019 include: Refugees & Global Migration • The Middle East: Regional Disorder Nuclear Negotiations • The Rise of Populism in Europe Decoding U.S.- China Trade • Cyber Conflicts & Geopolitics The U.S. & Mexico • State of the State Department & Diplomacy


Registration Closing 
Maduro's Venezuela: Challenges and Implications – Thursday, November 15 – UMKC's Student Union
The challenges of Nicolás Maduro’s president terms in Venezuela encompass sharp socio-political polarization and political and economic hardships. A swift decline of oil prices, a campaign of destabilization, U.S. sanctions, and Maduro’s failure to appreciate the importance of market dynamics are some factors at play. Dr. Steve Ellner will discuss the dynamics within Chavismo and between Chavismo and the opposition in Venezuela, their impacts for Venezuelans, and implications for U.S.-Venezuela and Latin American relations. Read more »

Registration Open
IRC Networking Hour: YMCA 
– Tuesday, November 27 – North Kansas City YMCA
IRC networking hours give IRC members and friends the chance to get to know each other and the work of the IRC's organizational partners. On Tuesday, November 22, please join us at the North Kansas City YMCA as we get to know the international work of the YMCA. Refreshments provided; admission is free with RSVP. 
Read more and register »

Registration Open

IRC Book Club: We Wanted Workers Unraveling the Immigrations Narrative – Tuesday, January 22 – Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
The IRC Book Club gives participants the opportunity to discuss foreign affairs, global topics, authors' perspectives, historical events, and their current local relevance in a respectful, engaging setting. Convened by seasoned Great Decisions leader Jack McLaren, the group meets every six to eight weeks to dig into a different author's work. 
Read more and register »

Registration Open
Academic WorldQuest 2019 – Saturday, February 23 – BEST Conference Center, KU Edwards campus
Join us for this fun and free event, where students, as a team, answer questions on various international topics. The tournament is open to teams of four students in grades 9-12, plus a faculty sponsor, from Kansas City-area high schools. Study materials are provided in advance. 
Read more and register »

Save the Date
Berkley Lecture with Ambassador Paula Dobriansky – Wednesday, February 27 – Grand Street Cafe
Join us for the 2019 Berkley lecture with Paula Jon Dobriansky, an American foreign policy expert who has served in key roles as a diplomat and policy maker in the administrations of five U.S. presidents, both Democrat and Republican. She is a specialist in the areas of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and in political-military affairs. Details for this event will be 
posted here » as they become available. Registration will open by the end of 2018.

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 »

Mid-America Trade Summit, presented by the International Trade Center
Wednesday-Thursday, November 14-15 – University of Missouri, Columbia

An Evening with David Harris: CEO of the American Jewish Committee, presented by the Truman Library 
Wednesday, November 28 – 5:30 p.m. – Truman Library

The German Army and the Kaiser's Abdication », presented by the World War I Museum and Memorial
Wednesday, November 28 –  6:30 p.m. – J.C. Nichols Auditorium

North American Strategy for Competitiveness Regional Update in Kansas City », presented by EDC-KC 
Friday, November 30 – 10 a.m.-12p.m. – NASCO Offices

For a complete listing of events, please see the KC Community Calendar »


Nominations for Annual Peace Builder Award
This event recognizes one individual and one organization who have demonstrated long-term contributions to peace-building efforts within our community. Award recipients are chosen through a nomination process, with final selections by a review committee. Please submit nominations by December 15, 2018 for consideration by the Award Selection Committee. 
Click here for more information »

SevenDays: Make a Ripple, Change the World Essay Scholarship Application 
Kindness is contagious! Calling all High School seniors. What are you doing to make the world a better place through kindness? Do a project, then tell the world about it. SevenDays® is giving five scholarships each in the amount of $1,000 each! 
Click here to view application ».

Rotary Grants for Undergraduate International Exchange Travel
Rotary District Scholarship Committee District 6040 provides District Grant Scholarships and Global Grant Scholarships. 
District Grant Scholarships » provide a stipend of $2,500 for one or two semesters of undergraduate or graduate level coursework abroad. Global Grant Scholarships » provide up to $70,000 for graduate-level studies at a university outside the United States. The number of scholarships funded is dependent upon Annual Fund/SHARE contributions from clubs and individuals three years prior to the current Rotary year. All scholarships are grants and must meet the terms and conditions of The Rotary Foundation. Questions about District and Global Grant Scholarships should be sent to D6040 Scholarship Sub-Committee Chairperson, Brad Kleindl,

State Department Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program
Applications are now being accepted for the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program at ». Applications are due Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by 7:00pm CST. The CLS Program is a fully-funded intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 15 critical languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu. The scholarship program includes international airfare, tuition, and all program costs, as well as meals and living accommodations (often with a host family). Participants are selected based on their commitment to language learning and plans to apply their language skills to their future academic or professional pursuits. CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness. Questions about CLS? Email

SQCC: 2019 Summer Arabic Language and Media Program
WACA partner Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center » is now accepting applications for the 2019 Summer Arabic Language and Media (SALAM) program, a fully-funded competitive scholarship program to study intensive Arabic in the Sultanate of Oman. The SALAM scholarship allows students to gain a deeper knowledge of Arabic, while becoming familiar with Omani history and culture. The program dates are June 14 - August 8, 2019, and the application deadline is December 31, 2018. To submit an application, or for more information, please visit the SALAM page » on the SQCC website.

World of 7 Billion Video Contest
Back by popular demand, the World of 7 Billion student video contest helps you bring technology and creativity into your middle and high school classes. The contest challenges students to create a short video connecting world population growth to one of three global challenges: preserving biodiversity, sustainable resource use, or human rights. Students can win cash prizes (featuring 80+ new prizes this year!), and participating teachers will receive free curriculum resources. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2019 – use this lesson plan »to get started now! Full contest guidelines, resources for research, past winners, and more can be found here ».

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 ».

These are just a sampling of international volunteer opportunities in Kansas City. Visit the Volunteer Center » for more one-time and ongoing opportunities to support international initiatives.

Global FC Seeks Volunteers for Multiple Opportunities
Global FC » exists to bridge diverse cultures to come together. Using soccer as a vehicle for transformative impact, the nonprofit supports under-served youth and families including refugees in the Kansas City area with the tools to overcome obstacles to success. They are currently seeking volunteers for numerous positions, including: coaches, assistant coaches, team managers, team mentors, mentors, drivers, tutors, as well as general volunteers. To find out more about these incredible opportunities to impact youth in life transformational ways, contact: Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake at mariya@branch-global or Ella Munthali at
Citizenship Preparation Program - Teachers Needed
The Citizenship Preparation Program at Catholic Charities is now recruiting volunteer teachers! They are looking for enthusiastic volunteers who have at least some experience (or education related to) teaching English language learners and are able to commit to teaching every Monday or Thursday night from 6-8 p.m. at the Kansas City Kansas Public Library from the weeks of October 8 to December 17. Lead teachers are responsible for preparing materials, facilitating lessons from the curriculum, and monitoring tutors and students during class. It’s about a 4-hour commitment per week, including class time. There are two required trainings prior to teaching: Volunteer Onboarding and Training and Teacher Training. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Kristin Selby at

Global Prep Squad
Global Prep Squad is a student-run cultural consulting firm made up of international studies students from Summit Technology Academy. If you or your employees are traveling, please consider contacting Global Prep Squad and ask them for a personalized “culture map” to use as a guide for working in your destination culture. »