News & Press: Newsletters

Ready for Great Decisions?

Thursday, November 29, 2018  
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Dear friends,

Our friends at the YMCA did a splendid job on Tuesday evening hosting an IRC networking hour, and many in attendance learned that the work of the Y goes far beyond the "gym and swim" we might be familiar with. The North Kansas City Y, in particular, hosts the New American Welcome Center and has a variety of opportunities available for recent immigrants and individuals learning English. We're glad to have the YMCA of Greater Kansas City as part of the IRC network ». If you're interested in organizational membership with the IRC or in hosting an IRC networking hour, please contact Matthew ».

We're in full swing with preparations for the 2019 season of Great Decisions. Using materials prepared by the Foreign Policy Association, groups meet around the Kansas City area to discuss eight topics each year. Topics for 2019 include refugees and global migration, the rise of populism in Europe, and cyber conflict. New participants are most welcome to join an existing group or to start a group at a convenient time and location. We have a variety of resources available in the IRCnetwork, including seasoned Great Decisions leaders who are happy to work with new groups – a perfect idea for the office, your place of worship, retirement homes, schools, and many other locations. Please see below for more information, and visit the IRC website » for information on the topics, current groups, and how to purchase materials.

Thanks for promoting a global perspective in our community.

Kind regards,

Matthew Hughes, Executive Director
 • 816-423-2632

This week, the World Citizen Blog is a review of the book The White Man's Burden»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 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 »

Registration Opening Soon
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 IRCnewsletters, please contact Matthew Hughes »

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

Turkic Food Festival, presented by the Dialogue Institute 
Saturday, December 1 – 11 a.m.-3 p.m. – Dialogue Institute of KC

Holiday Bazaar », presented by the Russian Heritage Society
Sunday, December 2 – 3-7 p.m. – 13000 W. 67th St. (Shawnee, KS)

Over there! (Over where?): The American Public and the War on Terror », presented by the Center for Civilians in Conflict and Open the Government 
Tuesday, December 4 – 6 p.m. – American World War I Museum and Memorial

Cultural Diversity Conference », presented by Kansas Global Trade Services 
Wednesday, December 12 – 8 a.m. – Envision

Kansas City Japanese Film Festival »
Sunday, February 24 –10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. – Alamo Drafthouse

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

UAE Educator Study Tour with WAC Dallas/Forth Worth 
The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and the Embassy of the UAE in Washington, DC will collaborate for a third educator study tour on March 8-17, 2019 to develop an educational program to bring context to the American classroom. The study tour will include opportunities for participants to interact with top UAE government officials, visit internationally renowned museums, participate in cultural activities, visit schools and universities, and more! Application Deadline: WACDFW will close the application process upon the submission of 30 Texas and 30 non-Texas applications or on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 5:30 PM CTApply here ».

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 »

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 Tennessee Podcast

Tennessee World Affairs Council Board Chair Jim Shepherd discusses his impressions of Qatar's government and business relations to the United States, its economic and educational achievements, Al Jazeera, Doha's stunning cityscapes and plans, and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 
Listen to the podcast here ».