News & Press: Newsletters

Help Us Welcome Our New Program Coordinator

Tuesday, January 21, 2020  
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Dear Matthew,

It's our great pleasure to introduce you to our new program coordinator, Evan Verploegh. He is a recent transplant to the Kansas City area who has spent much of his life in Wisconsin. Most recently, Evan served as event and program coordinator for the Rhinelander, Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, where he oversaw the successful Project North Music, Art, and Environmental Festival. Learn more about Evan on the IRC staff page, and please reach out with a word of welcome.

The IRC World Citizen Blog is back this week with a post on a Kansas Citian's recent visit to Iran, and we're ready for some interesting events over the next few weeks. We look forward to seeing you before long!

Kind regards,

Matthew Hughes, Executive Director • 816-897-6474


We've moved! The IRC has a new home and phone number for the new year. Please visit us at Union Station, write us at 30 W. Pershing Road, Suite 201, Kansas City, Missouri 64108, or call us at 816-897-6474. You can always reach us online at

We are looking for volunteers to support numerous IRC programs and initiatives. Read more on our IRC Committees & Planning Teams page.

Great Decisions briefing books and DVDs have arrived. For more information on Great Decisions discussion groups, including how to order materials, click here. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to Matthew at 816-897-6474.

We have almost a complete set of Great Decisions briefing books from past years in the office! If you have one of these books that you'd like to donate to the IRC's collection – 1973, 1977, 1986, 2012 – please contact Matthew.

Academic WorldQuest, the IRC's annual competition for high schools, is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, February 19. New this year, schools are welcome to register multiple teams; the winning team from our area will head to Washington, D.C., cost-free for the national tournament. Sign up a school team »

This week, the World Citizen Blog takes us inside Iran from the perspective of a Kansas City visitor. For more information about the World Citizen Blog, or to learn how to submit a post of your own, visit the IRC website.

Jon McGraw, Buttonwood Financial Group, LLC
During his 30 year career, Jon has been involved in impactful financial strategy. Today, in his primary role as President of Buttonwood Financial, his team is focused on the financial success of hundreds of families. Serving in the role of Family CFO, Buttonwood proactively coordinates and implements strategy for tax, insurance, investments, cash flow, business, education, estate and more. Though other entities such as Buttonwood Art Space, 31w31: Non-Profit Village, and The Buttonwood Foundation, Jon enjoys his ability to positively impact the arts and local nonprofit community.

For Jon, the IRC matters because the more we know about each another as human beings, rather than as governments or through the lens of politics, the better we can empathize and assist one another to succeed. 

Kevin Guo, Events Intern
Kevin Guo is a junior at the University of Kansas. He is a double major in Global and International Studies and Economics. His passions include international relations, focusing on economics and trade. Kevin has extensive international experience, serving as a student ambassador and peer advisor to KU’s international program, the Academic Accelerator. Kevin has further served KU as an orientation leader, welcoming international students to campus. He is thrilled to pursue his degree in the United States and spends his free time traveling the country, developing a deeper understanding of U.S. customs and culture. Fluent in Mandarin and English, Kevin continues to be amazed by languages’ subtle nuances.


Registration Open
News & Views: The Global Impact of Aging Populations – Thursday, January 23 – 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Prospero's Books (Westport)
Join us from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 23, for the first News & Views conversation of the new year. Melissa Miller, senior manager of the World Trade Center–Kansas City, will facilitate a discussion on the global impact of aging populations. We'll share preparatory materials in advance. To ensure active participation, this program is limited to 15 attendees. Read more and register »

Registration Open
IRC Book Club
From Cold War to Hot Peace – Tuesday, January 28 – 6:30-8 p.m. – 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. In January, the Book Club will discuss From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia by Amb. Michael McFaul. Read more and register »

Sponsorships Available
Berkley Lecture: U.S. Interests and Policy in a Turbulent Middle East – Wednesday, February 5 – 11:30-1:00 – Grand Street Café
The IRC is proud to present Dr. Paul Salem as the 2020 Berkley Lecturer. President of the Middle East Institute, Dr. Salem will present on U.S. interests and policy in a turbulent Middle East. Tickets ($30, students; $40, IRC members; $50, general admission) are available through January 31. Read more and register »

Registration Open
Global Experience
: Closing North American Skies – The People and Stories Behind Come From Away – Tuesday, February 11 – 6-7 p.m. – Little Theatre
Join us before the Kansas City opening night of the Broadway musical Come From Away for a panel conversation with individuals connected to the stories behind the show. Panelists include Canadian Consul General John Cruickshank; Lt. Gen. Eric “Rick” Findley (RCAF, NORAD’s Director of Operations on September 11); Capt. Beverley Bass, American Airlines’ first female captain; and a cast member from the show. Free and open to the public. RSVP required. Show tickets not included. Read more and register »


How to Put Artificial Intelligence to Work for You, presented by the International Trade Council
Friday, January 24 – 7:30 a.m. – RSM (South Plaza)

Chinese New Year celebration, presented by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Sunday, January 26 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Nelson-Atkins

Uncertainty with Tariffs & Impacts to Supply Chain Strategy, presented by World Trade Center–Kansas City
Wednesday, January 29 – 8-10 a.m. – KC Chamber Board Room (Union Station)

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust, presented by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education
Thursday, January 30 – 7 p.m. – KU Edwards Campus

13th Annual Peace Builder Award Luncheon, presented by G.A.M.E.
Saturday, February 1 – 11:30-1:00 – Grand Street Café

Open House: Once We Were Refugees & The Tamale Kitchen
Saturday, February 1 – 2-4 p.m. – 5001 Independence Ave., KCMO

2020 Chinese New Year Gala, presented by KCCA
Saturday, February 1 – 4:30-9 p.m. – Carlsen Center (JCCC)

Circle of Knowledge: Bosnia and Herzegovina, presented by Greater KC People to People
Saturday, February 9 – 2-4 p.m. – Central Resource Library (OP) – RSVP

Kansas City Shakespeare Competition, presented by the English-Speaking Union
Sunday, February 16 – 2:30 p.m. – Plaza Library

Conversation with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, presented by the KC Area Peace Corps Association
Saturday, March 7 – 6-8:30 p.m. – Nonprofit Village (31 W. 31) – With any questions

2020 Asian Cultural Festival, presented by MAACA
Saturday, May 30 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Overland Park Convention Center


Lighton International Artist Exchange Program Grants
Calling all artists! Application deadline: February 17, 2020 for travel and residency occurring within the timeframe of March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021. Max. grant amount: $6,000. LIAEP seeks applications from dedicated artists who create work of exceptional quality and whose work and career are at a level that can benefit from international exchange with peers. Learn more at

National Conventions: On-Site Student Seminar Opportunity
The presidential election is only 10 months away, but the major political parties will first convene in Milwaukee and Charlotte for the National Conventions. The Washington Center's Internship and Academic Seminars program will host two-week academic programs held on-site at both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention. Open to college undergraduate and graduate students, these seminars feature a blend of academic lectures, panel discussions, small group meetings, and site visits. During the week of the conventions themselves, participants will gain hands-on experience through fieldwork assignments; working with political groups, media organizations, or a host committee. Housing is guaranteed in the host city. Application Deadline: Wednesday, March 25 Read more »

Young Artists and Authors Showcase Competition
The Sister City Association of Kansas City (SCAKC) invites Kansas City students to enter the Young Artists and Authors Showcase competition. The 2020 theme is “One World: Out of Many, We Are One.” Deadline for submissions is March 9, 2020. Students should be between 13 and 18 years old on May 1, 2020. Essays and Poems: Essays should be 500 words or less; Poems 200 words or less. Art should be two-dimensional, unframed and no larger than 24 inches x 36 inches. Most media are encouraged: pencil, ink, paint, collage, etc. For more information, write to


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