News & Press: Newsletters

Explore Megaregions & the Future of Transportation in January

Wednesday, December 19, 2018  
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Dear friends,

The IRC is fortunate to have an enthusiastic and committed board of directors » who share their talents and propel our mission to raise a global perspective in Kansas City. This month, we extend our sincere thanks to Lyn Lakin (six years of service, including as president and vice president), Amy Bretall (three years of service, including as vice president), and Randy Schultz (three years of service); their generosity has done so much to strengthen the organization. In January, we will welcome four new board members – Andrea Allison-Putman (YMCA of Greater Kansas City), Merleen Leonce (KCMO Health Department), Dan Mahanty (Center for Civilians in Conflict), and Aaron Mann (Terracon). We look forward to introducing these new board members to you in the coming weeks.

We've just opened registration for a January program on megaregions and the future of transportation (Wednesday, January 23, at the KU Edwards Campus) that should be a fascinating look at where the Kansas City region may be headed. We'll be joined by experts Ron Achelpohl, MARC's director of transportation and environment; Dr. Bradley Lane of the KU School of Public Affairs & Administration; and Drew Thompson of Black & Veatch. Registration is now open. We hope you'll join us.

Earlier that week, the IRC Book Club will come together for its last meeting before the launch of the new Great Decisions season. The January selection, We Wanted Workers, looks at the origins of the immigration debate, and the discussion will offer a chance to engage related issues in a thoughtful and thorough way. The Book Club is free and open to the public; we just ask that you register in advance.

We are in search of sponsors for two IRC signature events in February – Academic WorldQuest and the Berkley Lecture. Information on both is available below. If you or your company is interested in sponsoring either, please let Matthew know ». As always, we appreciate your consideration.

With just over a week left in the year, we invite you to consider the IRC as a beneficiary of your year-end giving. If you've been meaning to make a charitable contribution, now is the time. Donations can be may securely online, by mailed check, or by credit card over the phone. Your support makes possible the quality programming you enjoy year-round and offers the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to a stronger global perspective for our region.

All of us at the IRC offer our best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.

Kind regards,

Matthew Hughes, Executive Director
 • 816-423-2632

Gifts above and beyond membership are critical to sustaining the breadth and diversity of the IRC's programs in the community. Your year-end donation sustains the non-partisan, educational conversations you value and makes possible new opportunities to connect Kansas City to the world. Please 
give today » to support programs that bring a global perspective to our community.



Nuclear weapons have not gone away, and the Trump administration has brought a new urgency, if not a new approach, to dealing with them. The President has met with Vladimir Putin as the New Start Treaty with Russia comes up for renewal in 2021, the first presidential summit ever with Kim Jong-un occurred to discuss denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and President Trump has decertified the Obama nuclear deal with Iran. To what degree should past nuclear talks guide future U.S. nuclear arms control negotiations? Can the art of the deal apply to stabilizing our nuclear future.

Discuss this topic and many more in a Great Decisions group »Getting involved is easy, and we’re happy to help! Email April Diaz, IRC program coordinator, at » to get started. 


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
Megaregions and the Future of Transportation – 
Wednesday, January 23 – BEST Conference Center, KU Edwards Campus
As the population continues to grow, the rise of megaregions places new demands on infrastructure, food supplies, and public services, requiring innovative solutions. The transportation of a growing number of people and goods in and between dense megaregions stands out as a particularly complex issue with local implications. The proposed Missouri Hyperloop route is just one of a number of solutions that deserve attention to help us understand the realities of megaregions and what this will mean for the greater Kansas City area. This program will explore the challenges and opportunities of megaregions and the future of transportation. Audience members are encouraged to bring their questions for what promises to be a fascinating conversation. 
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.

Save the Date
WorldQuest 2019 – Thursday, April 4 – UMKC's Pierson Auditorium
Spring will soon arrive and, with it, WorldQuest, the IRC's much-anticipated annual trivia night! Join fellow world enthusiasts on Thursday, April 4, for friendly competition and fabulous prizes – all to support a worthy cause. Your ticket covers parking, dinner, drinks, and trivia. Additional contributions (in advance or that evening) are most welcome and will support the IRC's global-education efforts. Registration will open soon »

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 »

33rd Annual World Peace Meditation », presented by the GKC Interfaith Council and Rime Buddhist Center 
Monday, December 31 –  6 a.m.-8 a.m. –  Rime Center

Multicultural Festival, presented by Blue Valley School District 
Wednesday, January 30 – 5-7:30 p.m. – Hilltop Conference Center

Know Your World Presentation: Albania & Tanzania », presented by Greater Kansas City People to People 
Sunday, January 13 – 2-4 p.m. – Church of the Resurrection Leawood

The Century of Immigration (Part of Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series) », presented by the Kansas City Public Library
Monday, January 14 – 6:30 p.m. – KCPL Central Library

Migrant Education Program Family Engagement, presented by Shawnee Mission School District 
Wednesday, January 23 – 5:30-7 p.m. – Center for Academic Achievement

Tibetan New Year Celebration », presented by Rime Buddhist Center & Institute of Tibetan Studies 
Tuesday, February 5 – 5-8 p.m. – Rime Center

Promise and Prejudice (Part of Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series) », presented by the Kansas City Public Library
Monday, February 11 – 6:30 p.m. – KCPL Central Library

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 »

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.

Call for Proposals: Beyond Discourse: Critical and Empirical Approaches to Human Trafficking
On April 4 and 5, the University of Kansas will host an interdisciplinary symposium examining human trafficking research.All papers related to human trafficking research are welcome, including but not limited to: Empirical Approaches to Illicit and Criminalized Industries, Tracking Consequences of the Carceral Framework, Innovations in Critical Media Analysis, Ethics of Representation and Storytelling Against Narrative Tropes, Long Shadow of the Mann Act: Historical Precedents and Alternatives, Politics of Fieldwork across Ideological Difference, Survivor-Led Research Initiatives & Collaboration, and Translating Critical Research to Policy Makers and Other Stakeholders. Please join in the call for proposals by submitting a brief CV and a 250-350 word abstract for a panel, paper presentation, or roundtable contribution addressing these issues to by January 7. Invitations will be distributed and registration open from January 15. For more information, please visit the symposium 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

World Affairs Council of Philadelphia: Travel the World 2019
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia has been organizing Travel the World lifelong learning tours for more than 35 years. These trips offer all the highlights of touring plus access to political leaders and local experts who give behind-the-scenes views and briefings that make the trips special and unique. On many tours, experts on global politics accompany the groups. 2019 destinations include Southern Africa, Cuba, Israel, the Arctic, Mongolia, and more. Read more here ».