News & Press: Newsletters

Introducing News & Views

Wednesday, February 13, 2019  
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Dear friends,

What incredible energy and enthusiasm we saw yesterday at the IRC's most recent networking hour with organizational member RSM. We welcomed a good mix of familiar faces and new friends and enjoyed some great connecting and sharing. We really are so fortunate to have so many international organizations right here in the Heartland, and we thank RSM for their kind hospitality.

At the networking hour, we announced a new IRC program series, and we warmly welcome your participation. Members have told us that they love discussion groups like Great Decisions and the IRC Book Club but would like a space to talk about the latest headlines. News & Views will bring together a small group of community members for respectful, substantive conversation around one of that week’s top international new stories. Facilitated by a seasoned member of the International Relations Council, the group meets in different informal settings around town, like a happy hour on the Plaza, for a guided discussion about a topic and articles that we’ll share just a few days in advance. Individuals of all backgrounds, interests, and perspectives are welcome – we just ask that you bring an open mind, thoughtful questions, and common courtesy. If you're available, please join us for the inaugural News & Views conversation on Thursday, February 28, at Sol Cantina – but do register as our group is limited to 15 participants.

Over the next couple weeks, we'll come together a few other times with different audiences, including two IRC signature events:

  • Around 20 high-school teams from the KC metro area will compete in Academic WorldQuest on Saturday, February 23, at the KU Edwards Campus for a chance to win an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Blue Valley North is looking to defend their 2018 title. Good luck to all the teams, who have been working hard to prepare!
  • Registration is closing next week for the Berkley Lecture with Ambassador Paula Dobriansky on Monday, February 25. Ambassador Dobriansky will be speaking on national security challenges in the next decade and their implications for the U.S. We do have some seats remaining for this lunchtime program at Grand Street Café. You can read more and register on the IRC website ».

As the Brexit deadline draws closer, we're fortunate to have a widely respected expert, Amanda Sloat from Brookings, who will join us on Wednesday, March 13, for a discussion of Brexit and the future of Europe. This program has direct relevance to many businesses and organizations in Kansas City, and we invite you to share event information with your network. You can learn more here ».

We're also looking ahead to WorldQuest, the IRC's beloved global trivia night, on Thursday, April 4, once again at UMKC. If you're eager to sign up your team of eight for dinner, drinks, and friendly competition with great prizes, you'll be glad to know that registration is open » on the IRC website.

We look forward to seeing you soon as we tour the world from right here in KC.

Kind regards,

Matthew Hughes, Executive Director
 • 816-423-2632

This week, the World Citizen Blog helps us get to know a Kansas City nonprofit » with an international impact – founded by high-schoolers. 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.


Austin Thorn, Global Education Intern
Austin Thorn, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, came to Kansas City to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy at the UMKC Conservatory of Music & Dance. Here he hopes to establish himself within the Kansas City community as an individual who serves with music in a unique capacity. He is the vice president and president-elect of the UMKC Association of Music Therapy Students and recipient of the Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship, as well as a proud founder of Phi Gamma Delta at UMKC. He recently participated in a service-learning program in Peru which has ignited an interest in international education and service. Austin practices a variety of instruments including bass trombone, electric bass, guitar, piano, and others. His passion for music and education is supported by traveling and being part of great artistic communities like Kansas City and St. Louis.


Registration Open
Academic WorldQuest 2019 – Saturday, February 23 – 12-4 p.m. – BEST Conference Center, KU Edwards campus
High-schoolers, 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 Closing
Berkley Lecture: National Security Challenges in the Next Decade – Monday, February 25 – 12-1:30 p.m. – 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. 
Read more and register »

New Program Series
News and Views: Community Conversations on the Latest International News – 
Thursday, February 28 – 5-6 p.m. – Sol Cantina
Today, international news stories can change from minute to minute, and lectures and panel discussions can’t always dive in to the latest developments. News & Views, a new conversation-based series from the International Relations Council, brings together a small group of community members for respectful, substantive discussion around one of that week’s top international new stories. We'll announce the timely topic, facilitator, and suggested articles earlier that week to give everyone a chance to prepare for the conversation. Read more and register »

Registration Open
Brexit and the Future of Europe 
– Wednesday, March 13 – 5:30-8 p.m. – CBIZ on the Plaza
Since the June 2016 Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom has entered uncharted territory as it prepares to leave the European Union on March 29. As the new year dawned, there were questions about whether Brexit would happen, in what form, and how it would affect politics and economics. Amanda Sloat from the Brookings Institution will discuss the latest developments and discuss what Brexit means for the UK, US, and Europe. Read more and register »

IRC Member Benefit 
Cover to Cover: Featuring Amb. Bill Burns 
– Thursday, March 21– 1-1:30 p.m. – via conference call
Over the course of more than three decades as an American diplomat, William J. Burns played a central role in the most consequential diplomatic episodes of his time. In The Back Channel, Burns recounts, with novelistic detail and incisive analysis, some of the seminal moments of his career. The IRC is pleased to be able to offer this opportunity as a benefit for IRC members. To check your membership status or register for the call, please contact contact Matthew ».

Registration Open
WorldQuest 2019 – Thursday, April 4 – 6-9 p.m. – 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. Read more and register »

Registration Open
Closing the Global Gap: India – Wednesday, April 17 – 12-1 p.m. – Johnson County Community College
"Closing the Global Gap" is a series of conversations designed to address perceptions and realities of working and living across culture and language. The series is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by Johnson County Community College and International Relations Council. The series should stimulate meaningful conversations based on personal experiences in foreign countries from academic and business points of view. Each program will feature a JCCC faculty member or student as well as a professional from the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Closing the Global Gap: India will look at the role of women in responding to social and environmental issues in India, as well as the day-to-day struggles and experiences of people living in this diverse country. 
Read more and register »

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The program involves reading the Great Decisions briefing book » and meeting to discuss the most critical international issues facing the United States and the global community.

Below is a listing of some of the upcoming groups that are open to the public. Feel free to drop in to any groups of interest to you! Questions regarding these groups? Please email April » for help.

Refugees and Global Migration – Tuesday, February 12 – 6-8 p.m. – Dinner Group
Princess Garden Restaurant (8906 Wornall, Kansas City, MO 64114)

Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics  – Thursday, February 14 – 2-3:30 p.m – JCCC Group
Johnson County Community College, CoLab, OCB 107 (12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park, KS 66210)

Refugees and Global Migration – Thursday, February 14 – 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. – Waldo Group (Thursdays)
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center (4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110)

Nuclear Negotiations – Tuesday, February 19 – 6:30-8 p.m. – Waldo Group (Tuesdays)
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center (4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110)

The Middle East: Regional Disorder – Thursday, February 21 – 6-8 p.m. – Overland Park Group
Johnson County Library – Leawood Pioneer (4700 Town Center Drive, Leawood, KS 66211)

The Middle East: Regional Disorder – Thursday, February 28 – 12-1 p.m. – Downtown Group
Stinson Leonard Street Law Firm (1201 Walnut St., Suite 2900, Kansas City, MO 64106)

The Middle East: Regional Disorder (Guest Facilitated by Brian Steed) – Thursday, February 28 – 2-3:30 p.m. – JCCC Group
Johnson County Community College, CoLab, OCB 107 (12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park, KS 66210) 

For a full listing of 2019 group meetings, visit the IRC website ».


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 »

UNA Women Book Club », presented by UNA Women of Greater Kansas City
Tuesday, February 12 – 6-8 p.m. – Travois

Discussion Group Series: International Trade in the 21st Century », presented by the Dole Institute of Politics
Wednesday, February 13 – 4-5:30 p.m. – Dole Institute, Lawrence

Mahjong and Desserts Anyone? », presented by KC Merlions
Saturday, February 16 – 4-6 p.m. –Coffee Talk

Sister Cities Chinese New Year Celebration », presented by the Sister Cities Association
Tuesday, February 19 – 5-8 p.m. – American Jazz Museum

Discussion Group Series: International Trade in the 21st Century », presented by the Dole Institute of Politics
Wednesday, February 20 – 4-5:30 p.m. – Dole Institute, Lawrence

Refugee and Immigrant Forum
Thursday, February 21 – 5-6:30 p.m. – JVS

Negotiating Trade with China », presented by the World Trade Council of Wichita 
Thursday, February 21 – 6-9 p.m. – Wichita Marriott Hotel

4th Friday: Intellectual Property in the Global Marketplace », presented by the International Trade Council 
Friday, February 22 – 7:30-9 a.m. – Husch Blackwell

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

Worldview and Identity Workshop, presented by GlobalFC 
Monday, February 25 6:30-8 pm. GRACEWAY

Discussion Group Series: International Trade in the 21st Century », presented by the Dole Institute of Politics
Wednesday, February 27 – 4-5:30 p.m. – Dole Institute, Lawrence

Discussion Group Series: International Trade in the 21st Century », presented by the Dole Institute of Politics
Wednesday, March 6 – 4-5:30 p.m. – Dole Institute, Lawrence

Goethe! 2019 German Film Festival », presented by Hanover Committee of the Sister City Association of Kansas City
Saturday, March 9 – 1-4 p.m. – Penn Valley Community College

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 »

Articles for Peace Journalist Magazine
Peace Journalist magazine seeks articles for its April 2019 edition. Articles should be 500-1,500 words about peace and media projects, workshops, seminars, courses, and so on. The magazine is journalism and media focused, so they do not seek articles about general peace projects. The deadline for submissions if March 4. Feel free to submit photos as well.Questions should be directed to Steven Youngblood at

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.

Host Families Needed for Academic Exchange Program
AYUSA Global Youth Exchange is now accepting host family applications for the 2019-2020 school year.  AYUSA is an academically focused high school program with stringent testing and interview requirements for students who wish to study in the USA.  Students are required to maintain a C or better in every class, and are required to take American History, English, math and science classes.  Students are expected to follow all program and family rules, and be contributing members to the host school and community by presenting a positive attitude and completing community service when possible.  Students are provided health insurance while on program.  It is not required that host families have high school aged kids living in the home.  Please consider sharing your America and making a student's dreams come true!!  If you're interested in hosting, contact Kerri Craven or visit for more information

UMKC Avanzando Program needs mentors! (Spanish not required)

In the fall of 2011, the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) implemented Avanzando, a program designed to support Latinx students in reaching their academic and career goals. They are working in partnership with the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund (HDF) to improve retention, increase graduation rates, and ensure successful transitions into the workforce and/or graduate/professional school. Last year, Avanzando provided support to over 70UMKC Latinx students including many HDF scholarship recipients, and they expect the program to grow significantly in the coming academic year. An Avanzando mentor commits to and takes an active role in developing a meaningful relationship with a scholar throughout her/his academic career and fosters an environment where the scholar feels free to share successes, concerns and challenges. Sign up here »

Great Decisions: Teacher Training Institute
The Foreign Policy Association is seeking high school teachers with demonstrated commitment to international education to take part in its annual Great Decisions Teacher Training Institute. Teachers chosen will reflect geographically diverse high schools from around the continent and will be chosen on a competitive basis. Join us for four days of strengthening skills in teaching global affairs, exploring ways to expand international studies in the classroom, building professional support networks, and developing International Studies curricula. Click here for more information »

Interpreter Training
Are you bilingual? Interested in becoming an interpreter? Join Bridging the Gap for an interpreter training. Register today for Thursday or Saturday classes. Thursday sessions start February 21 and last from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturday sessions will start March 23 and go from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. To register and for more information, contact Catherine Anderson at; 816-629-8908.