News & Press: Newsletters

Join an IRC Committee in the New Year

Wednesday, January 2, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Dear friends,

Welcome to 2019! On behalf of the IRC's board of directors and all of us here in the office, I hope the year ahead will offer exciting possibilities and be a time of health and happiness for you and your loved ones. We have a wonderful year in store at the IRC, and we're so glad to include you in our community.

So many volunteers work diligently to make possible the IRC programs and events that raise a global perspective in our wider community. We'll be updating our board list soon to include newly elected members, but do get to know our officers for 2019 » – Jeffrey Bell (president), Holly Nielsen (vice president), Carrie Sherer (secretary), and Nancy Messer (treasurer). If you see them or our other board members at an upcoming event, please do say hello and share your thoughts on what sort of programs you'd like to see the IRC offer.

Individuals often ask how they can get more involved in the IRC. One great way is to join an IRC committee. The education, finance, membership development, and program committees actively contribute in a variety of ways to the operations and impact of the organization and include board members and IRC members who are not part of the board. You can read more about these committees on our website ». If you're interested in being part of a committee, please contact Matthew » by Friday, January 11. Committees will meet again in late January. We'd love to have you!

Registrations continue for our January programs, including the Tuesday, January 22, Book Club conversation on We Wanted Workers, a selection on the history of the immigration debate. The next day we'll be at the KU Edwards Campus for an expert panel discussion on megaregions and the future of transportation – a topic particularly relevant to the future of Kansas City and the larger Midwest. Please see below for more information, and join us if you can.

Thanks for journeying with us into this new year. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Kind regards,

Matthew Hughes, Executive Director
 • 816-423-2632

This week, the World Citizen Blog is a 
reflection from outgoing board president Lyn Lakin ». 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.

The board of directors of the International Relations Council relies on active committees to develop strategies and action plans for the work of the organization. Meeting five times a year and charged with ongoing projects, committees include a variety of perspectives and are intentionally comprised of a mix of board members and IRC members who are not part of the board. Joining a committee is an excellent way to become more involved with the IRC, and we welcome the participation of new and seasoned IRC members. For more information on joining a committee, please contact Matthew Hughes, executive director, at »
, or read about committees on the IRC website »Please note that all committee members should be individual members of the IRC or be part of an IRC member organization and be prepared to commit to a year of volunteer service with the IRC.


Mass migration, and the problems associated with it, have directly abetted the rise of populist parties in Europe. Opposition to immigration was the prime driver of support for Brexit, it brought a far-right party to the German Bundestag for the first time since the 1950s, and propelled Marine Le Pen to win a third of the vote in the French presidential election. In addition to calling for stronger borders, however, these parties are invariably illiberal, anti-American, anti-NATO and pro-Kremlin, making their rise a matter of serious concern for the national security interests of the United States.

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. 


We'd like to express our thanks to the following individuals and organizations for joining or renewing their membershipwith the IRC in the month of December. If you would like to learn more about becoming an IRC member
please visit our website » for more information.

Individual and Family-Level Members

Kathie Allison (Patron)
Toni Blackwood
Chelan David
Sara Engber
Tyrel Floyd
Moulton and Jean Green (Family)
Lee Greif
Laura Harsch
Richard Held
Michael and Blair Hyde (Family)
Carolyn Kadel (Family)
Monique Lewis
James Malouff
Ben and Elaine Mann (Family)
Briana Osborn
John Phillips
Lawrence Rouse (Emissary)
Norbert Russ (Family)
Sana Saleh
Jack Shelton
Nan Wilson


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 »

Die Vermessung der Welt - Film », presented by Shawnee German-American Club 
Saturday, January 12  – 2-5 p.m.  – Lutheran High School of Kansas City

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

Sister City Spotlight Series: Arusha, Tanzania », presented by Sister Cities Association of KCMO
Tuesday, January 29 –  5-6:30 p.m. – Mesob Restaurant

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

Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturation (Part of Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series) », presented by the Kansas City Public Library
Monday, March 11 – 6:30 p.m. – KCPL Central Library

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


Public Intellectuals Program (PIP)
Generously funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, PIP is designed to identify outstanding members of the next generation of American China scholars, enrich their understanding of policymaking processes in both the United States and China, help them establish useful relationships both within academia and with policy practitioners, and nurture their ability to engage with the public at a national, regional, and local level. The program is open to Ph.D. academics in all disciplines; a limited number of slots are available for established professionals and policymakers. Must have demonstrated expertise on China, several years of experience teaching or in a professional field, and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.  Preference given to candidates between 30 to 45 years old, and to those living in the United States or Greater China. The application period for PIP VI closes Sunday, February 3. For questions regarding application, please email or call 212-645-9677, ext. 12.

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 ».