For the last 65 years, the International Relations Council has brought Kansas Citians together for important and often challenging conversations. While global in scope, the conversations so often have a local resonance and almost always have deep personal significance for members of our community.
For them, Russia, Iran, South Africa, Venezuela, and Mexico aren't highlights from the news cycle or remote academic concepts: these places are home or family or friends or stories. For them, these aren't conversations that can be shelved: they are ongoing realities, lived day in and day out. Maybe you've had that experience yourself with an IRC program or two.
We do our best to sustain the conversation and to bring to the table voices that will help our community most clearly understand tangled realities.
These conversations, especially when we've been intentional about the voices at the table, end up doing so much more than informing about current events. They evoke empathy, engagement, and an expanded worldview. They lead us through messy complexities and conflicting perspectives. They inspire us to understand the big picture without missing the details.And, at their best, they strengthen our human connection, even when we don't always agree.
The anguish of recent events has highlighted what is a daily lived reality for so many and one of the most challenging conversations our country has faced. Now more than ever, our community needs empathy, engagement, and an expanded worldview to combat systemic racism in the pursuit of ending inequities and cultivating peace. And now more than ever, conversations that build bridges and humanize communities are needed as we seek to understand roots and realities we must meet together.
Below you'll find program offerings for the weeks ahead. We invite you to give some thought not just to those programs that sound appealing but also to those that might challenge you to move beyond what's familiar. And we invite you to let us know the topics and issues that matter to you. Join us in conversations that matter, and let's make sense of the world together.
Matthew Hughes, Executive Director