News & Press: Newsletters

High School Champions and March Programs

Wednesday, February 27, 2019  
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Dear friends,

The last few days have seen some great reasons to bring the IRC community together. Fifteen schools from around the metro area convened on Saturday at the KU Edwards Campus to compete in the 2019 Academic WorldQuest competition. Congratulations to all our scholars and coaches and especially to the top-place teams:

  • 3rd place – Blue Valley West;
  • 2nd place – The Barstow School; and
  • 1st place – Shawnee Mission East, whose four students and faculty sponsor, Brenda Fishman, will go on to Washington, D.C., for the national tournament in late April. This is the third win for Shawnee Mission East in the history of the Kansas City Academic WorldQuest competition.

On Monday, we gathered at Grand Street Café for the 2019 Berkley Lecture with Ambassador Dobriansky, whose presentation toured some major areas of interest and challenge regarding national security in the next decade. Thanks to everyone who attended and helped make both events possible!

Tomorrow, we'll inaugurate the News & Views series with a conversation on Venezuela. This new program keeps the discussion group intentionally small and invites participants to share perspectives on current events. We do have one or two spots left for tomorrow's gathering; if you're interested, please sign up since space is limited. We have registration for the March News & Views conversation open below, as well.

We have two experts joining us in March for programs on Brexit and Iran, and we'd love to see you at one or both. Amanda Sloat from Brookings will talk with us on Brexit and the Future of Europe on Wednesday, March 13. Our thanks to CBIZ and Burns & McDonnell for their support in making this program possible. And Ambassador Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Ambassador to just about everywhere, will be with us on Wednesday, March 27, for a program on Iran and the Larger Middle East, sponsored by Polsinelli, the Persian Community of Kansas City, and the UNA of Greater Kansas City. Registration is open for both, and more information is available below.

WorldQuest tables are going fast – we're already up to 19 of 32 tables filled! If you haven't registered your team yet, we encourage you to sign up today ». This is a great event for colleagues, friends, and groups of faculty and is always a fun time.

Thanks for all you do to support this vibrant community. We hope to see you soon!

Kind regards,

Matthew Hughes, Executive Director
 • 816-423-2632


This week, the World Citizen Blog is 
a reflection on traveling abroad from IRC intern Austin Thorn ». 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.


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 »

Registration Open
News and Views: Community Conversations on the Latest International News – Thursday, March 14 – 5-6 p.m. – Location on the Plaza (TBD)
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 »

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
A U.S. Perspective on Iran and the Larger Middle East 
– Wednesday, March 27 – 5:45-8 p.m. – Polsinelli
Iran remains an enigma to many in the West over concerns about their nuclear weapons program, domestic governance issues, and destabilizing behavior in neighboring countries. The United States has recently changed course in its Iran policy, withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal and implementing crippling new sanctions to constrain the Iranian regime. Ambassador Thomas Pickering will explore 2019 realities in Iran, the Middle East, and U.S. strategy in the region. He will discuss the role diplomacy can play at a time of change and escalating tensions in the Middle East.
 Read more and register »

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
U.S.-Taiwan Relations as the Taiwan Relations Act Turns 40  – 
Wednesday, April 10 – 5:45-8 p.m.  – Helzberg Auditorium

Signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on April 10, 1979, and reaffirmed several times since, the Taiwan Relations Act is the primary guiding document for bilateral relations between the United States and Taiwan. 40 years later to the day, in light of continuing developments on Taiwan, it is worth examining the state of relations with the United States' 11th largest trading partner (3rd largest import partner for Kansas, 6th largest for Missouri). 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.

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) 

The Middle East: Regional Disorder – Tuesday, March 5 – 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, March 7 – 6 p.m. – Centered Spirit Group
Centered Spirit Cultural and Holistic Center (8131 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114)
The Middle East: Regional Disorder – Tuesday, March 12 – 6-8 p.m. – Dinner Group
Princess Garden Restaurant (8906 Wornall, Kansas City, MO 64114)

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 »

A Conversation with Former Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, presented by KU Department of Economics
Friday, March 1 – 3-5 p.m. – Spencer Art Museum

Mahjong and Desserts », presented by KC Merlions
Saturday, March 2  – 4-6 p.m.  – Coffee Talk

Business Essentials: Protecting Intellectual Property », presented the U.S. Commercial Service
Tuesday, March 5 – 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. – Union Station

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

Trade on Tap », presented by EDC KC 
Wednesday, March 6 – 4:30-6:30 p.m. – International Tap House

Webinar: A New NAFTA - USMCA », presented by Scarbrough
Thursday, March 7 – 1:30 p.m. 

4th Annual Women in International Business Luncheon », presented by ITC of Greater Kansas City 
Friday, March 8 – 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. – Webster House

German Film Festival: Goethe!», 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

Sister Cities Association: Xi'an and Yan'an, China », presented by the Sister Cities Association 
Tuesday, March 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, March 20 – 4-5:30 p.m. – Dole Institute, Lawrence

German Film Festival: Gerhard Richter Painting, presented by the Hannover Committee
Thursday, March 21  6 p.m

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


WACA Essay/Video Contest on Qatar
Open to high school students across the country, the challenge is to submit an 800-word Memorandum OR a 5-minute Video to “Advise the Secretary of State: Measures to Strengthen the U.S.-Qatar Strategic Partnership.” A panel of educators and experts in student exchange programs will judge the entries. The top 10 contestants will win an all-expenses-paid Doha Study Tour on June 21-27, 2019. Contest winners will also be eligible for scholarships to attend the WACA 2019 National Conference in Washington, DC on November 6-8, 2019. The 10 high school student winners will be joined by the 4-member champion team of the Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2018-2019 Academic WorldQuest National Competition, the team's teacher, and two WACA chaperones. Please submit your original essays and videos to Liz Brailsford The deadline for submissions is March 29, 2019.

Summer 2019 Academic Internship Program in Washington, DC
The Fund for American Studies is accepting applications for the Summer 2019 Academic Internship Program in Washington, DC. Programs include: An internship placement; courses for credit in economics and government; exclusive lectures, briefings and professional development seminars; and on-campus housing in the heart of Washington, DC. The final application deadline is March 12. More information on the program may be found at

Barbara Dolci Scholarship
Global Ties KC is once again offering a $500 scholarship to a student who is pursuing opportunities related to international affairs. The scholarship is open to all students and will be awarded at our Annual Celebration the evening of May 16th. The scholarship is intended to be used for study abroad, furthering studies in the international field, and service and international travel related to education and humanitarian aid. Click here to read more ».

WACA-Liaison America Scholarship Opportunity
The World Affairs Councils of America is delighted to announce the Liaison America Trent Argo International Scholarship for a 30-day study tour in Brazil for one lucky student ambassador. This scholarship will be an immersive experience in culture, language, education, and international affairs in the city of Goiânia, one of the richest agricultural districts and a key player in the production of sugar, rum, coffee, tobacco, cotton, cattle, hides, and castor oil. Goiânia is located the state of Goiás, where Brasília, the capital of Brazil, is also located. Goiás is a strong, well-structured state that is growing both socially and economically. The scholarship recipient will have the opportunity to meet with university students, business and government leaders, and others who are making a positive change locally and globally. Email Matthew Hughes » for application instructions. Apply by Tuesday, March 12.

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


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 70 UMKC 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 »


Assistant Professor, Japanese Language
Johnson County Community College seeks an assistant professor of Japanese Language. For more information and to apply, visit the 
JCCC careers page »


English as a Second Language at the NKC YMCA 
Classes begin early March and run for 10 weeks. There is $30 fee however scholarships may be available if needed.  This 10 week session is taught 2 times per week, the classes will go on a field trip, there are conversational coffee hours in between, and we the session ends with a graduation ceremony! For more information, contact April Osegueda at 816.300.0531 or

Liaison America Student Exchange Programs for Councils Webinar
WACA will host a webinar led by Liaison America so that Council leaders and program staff can learn more about he opportunity to partner with Liaison America in hosting one of their groups of Brazilian high school students. These are exceptional students with a diverse set of talents who will share their culture and projects during their educational exchange programs in the United States. Email Drew Lorelli to register.

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. This event will occur July 8-12, 2019. Click here for more information »