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December 13, 2017: Registration Open for Academic WorldQuest and the 2018 Berkley Lecture

Wednesday, December 13, 2017  
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Dear friends,

Thanks to everyone who joined us yesterday at the KC Public Library for a conversation with Ambassador Bill Taylor on practical peacebuilding for national security. We appreciate the support of the U.S. Institute of Peace, the World Affairs Councils of America, and the KC Public Library, all of which made this program possible. If you weren't able to be there, we live-streamed the program – which contains some great Q&A exchange with audience members – on Facebook; you can view the recording here ». We are working to make recordings of programs available going forward, so do stay tuned for that.

Since yesterday was our last event for 2017, we're looking forward to events after the holiday break. The Book Club will have one more installment on Tuesday, January 16 – this time on cybersecurity – before Great Decisions groups launch for the 2018 season. Academic WorldQuest is scheduled for Saturday, February 3; interested high schools should sign up online » as soon as possible to ensure adequate preparation time. And the Berkley Lecture on Wednesday, February 7, will cover the future of cyber conflict; registration for individual tickets and sponsored tables of ten is now open. Please help us begin 2018 on a positive note; more information on all these opportunities is available below.

We appreciate your continued support and hope that you are enjoying this special season with friends and family.

Kind regards,
Matthew Hughes, Executive Director • 816-423-2632

Each week, the World Affairs Councils of America publishes a digest of news stories covering topics from around the world. This week's edition focuses on the global climate agenda, Syria, Jerusalem, South Africa, and Venezuela. Read more »

We don't have a new blog post this week, but we invite you to check out past blog posts you might have missed here ». If you are interested in contributing a blog post, please review some frequently asked questions », where you'll also find out how to submit your post.


The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) » is delighted to announce its 2018 Summer Arabic Language and Media (SALAM) program, a fully-funded intensive Arabic language scholarship program. SALAM 2018 will be held at the Sultan Qaboos College for Teaching Arabic Language to Non-Native Speakers in Manah, Oman. This intensive Arabic language program will allow students to gain a deeper knowledge of Arabic, while becoming familiar with Omani history and culture. Deadline: December 31, 2017. Please see here » for eligibility requirements and further details.

IRC members are remarkable individuals and organizations who bring considerable international experience, connections, and curiosity to our network and offer unique perspectives and contributions – in some cases, for decades! To help members get to know one another and to celebrate our members' many efforts, we've started highlighting individual and organizational members in the IRC newsletter and on the website. If you know someone who deserves the spotlight, or if you wish to share your own story, please submit this form ». We look forward to getting to know our IRC members!


IRC Member Benefit
Cover to Cover: Haroon Ullah – Thursday, December 14 – 1-1:30 p.m. – via conference call
In Digital World War », seasoned diplomat Haroon Ullah, with deep knowledge of Islamist politics and digital innovation, investigates the unprecedented impact of social media on the discourse of recent events in the Muslim World – from the Arab Spring and its aftermath to ISIS's online recruitment. While he identifies the roles of social media in these events and the use of the dark web, hacking, and digital attacks, he also reveals how political parties, corporations, and governments have learned to exploit digital tools to target and mobilize audiences, to ultimately achieve power and status. This call is offered as a benefit for IRC members and is provided by the World Affairs Councils of America. To check your membership status or register for the call, please contact Matthew ».

IRC Member Benefit
Know Now: Yemen – Tuesday, December 19 – 1-1:30 p.m. – via conference call
Former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh was assassinated by Houthi forces on December 4, 2017. "No politician has left a greater mark on Yemen's modern history than President Saleh. He was known as a master of establishing and disbanding political coalitions, knowing correctly that no single political power can rule Yemen," Gamal Gasim, Ph.D., professor of Middle East Studies at Grand Valley State University, wrote for Al Jazeera. Please join Dr. Gamal Gasim for a conversation with Michael Van Denend, Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan, about Yemen's political future, including the ramification of President Saleh's death, identifying his successor in the General People's Congress, and the possibility of an uprising in Sanaa. This call is offered as a benefit for IRC members and is provided by the World Affairs Councils of America. To check your membership status or register for the call, please contact Matthew ».

Free Event
IRC Book Club: Cybersecurity and Cyberwar – Tuesday, January 16 – 6:30-8 p.m. – Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
The IRC Book Club will consider cybersecurity at its next meeting on Tuesday, January 16, as a lead-up to the 2018 Berkley Lecture. IRC member and technology specialist Michael Arbach will facilitate the session. This program is free and open to the public, though reservations are requested to help with planning. Please join us!Read more and register »

High-School Program
2018 Academic WorldQuest
 – Saturday, February 3 – 12-4 p.m. – KU Edwards Campus
High-school students are invited to put their global knowledge to the test in the annual Academic WorldQuest competition, a flagship program of the World Affairs Councils of America. Each year since 2006, the IRC has offered high-school students the chance to showcase their knowledge of world affairs, geography, history, and world events. Each area high school may enter one team of four students plus a faculty sponsor. Participation is entirely cost-free for schools. The winning team will receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the students and their sponsor to participate in the national Academic WorldQuest competition in late April. The 2018 Kansas City–area tournament will be held on Saturday, February 3, at the KU Edwards Campus.  Read more and register »

Registration Open
2018 Berkley Lecture: The Future of Cyber Conflict – Wednesday, February 7 – 11:30-1:00 (Registration at 11) – Grand Street Café
The IRC is proud to present Katherine Charlet as the 2018 Berkley Lecturer. Inaugural director of the Technology and International Affairs Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, Ms Charlet will present on cyber security and policy. Tickets ($30, students; $38, IRC members; $45 general admission) are available through January 31. Sponsorships are also available. Read more and register »

An incredible network of experienced professionals, travelers, and internationalists in the Kansas City metro area make up the IRC community. With this in mind, the IRC Speakers Bureau facilitates connections between these experts and local organizations, schools, and businesses who are interested in having them speak or present at their events. Many current IRC members are eligible to join the Speakers Bureau as speakers, and the service is free for IRC member organizations. Click here » to learn more, sign up to be a speaker, or request a speaker for your upcoming event.

Great Decisions groups give internationally minded individuals throughout the metro area an opportunity to connect as they explore topics of global significance. Groups affiliated with the IRC set a regular meeting time and location, often over a meal, and use materials prepared by the Foreign Policy Association to lead dynamic discussions. More information about the Great Decisions program, including how to order materials and where and when groups meet, is available here ». Topics for 2018 include the waning of Pax Americana, Russia, China: economic power and geopolitics, media and foreign policy, Turkey: a partner in crisis, the U.S. defense budget, South Africa, and global health.

To purchase 2018 materials (for delivery in January 2018), please click here »


Have an idea for an IRC topic, program, or speaker? We'd love to hear from you! Please complete this form » as often as ideas come to you, and share it with others who might be interested. We may contact you for more information, and you may see your idea in a future IRC program or publication.

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.

Kansas City Folk Festival », presented by Folk Alliance International
Sunday, February 18 – Westin Crown Center

International Festival », presented by Summit Christian Academy
Tuesday, February 20 – 5 p.m. – SCA Elementary (Lee's Summit)

Discover Global Markets », presented by the U.S. Commercial Service
April 30 to May 2 – Kansas City

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.

Please click here » to visit the IRC Volunteer Center for more information on one-time and ongoing opportunities to support the IRC and other international initiatives.

KC Scholars Seeks Volunteers to Review Applications
KC Scholars will need more than 200 community members to review essays and recommendations. This is a great way to become part of a large movement in KC and help more Kansas Citians go to and complete college. Applications open at » on January 1 and are due by February 2, 2018. Volunteers will commit 18-20 hours between mid-March and early April. Only 2.5 hours are in-person at a training. The rest of the time is spent wherever you like  by reviewing applications online. You can review from anywhere! For more information: » or 816-581-5700.

Unbound Seeks Volunteers to Help Prepare Holiday Greetings
Join Unbound at their Kansas City headquarters, helping prepare holiday greetings from sponsored friends in envelopes for mailing all across the world. The cards are a vital part of the encouraging relationships built between sponsors and sponsored friends. On your visit, in addition to stuffing letters, your group will have a chance to tour their building, eat lunch with their staff, and learn more about the Unbound program. This is a great opportunity for all, from corporate groups to high school students. Contact their Service Center at » to schedule a time to volunteer.

KC Public Library Seeks Volunteers
Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment is a division of the Kansas City Public Library’s Outreach Department, dedicated to connecting refugee and immigrant patrons and community members to resources for their success. RISE seeks volunteers for the following programs:

  • English for Citizenship Preparation: assist instructor in weekly classes, two hours/week for 12 weeks, one-hour volunteer training session required
  • Citizen Interview Mentor Sessions: work one-on-one to prepare patrons for naturalization interview, one to two hours/week, flexible scheduling, two hours of volunteer training required
  • English-Language Learning: lead small classes (life skills, basic English speaking/reading/writing), two hours/week, one hour of training required

Contacts: Julie Robinson », RISE manager (816-701-3587); Jane Lee », citizenship coordinator (816-701-3673); Katie Taylor », English language coordinator (816-701-3712); Rita Edmonds », RISE VISTA (816-701-3546)

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