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December 20, 2017: We're Hiring!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017  
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Dear friends,

2017 has been a remarkable year for the IRC, and we are ready to add to our team! The International Relations Council, a Kansas City nonprofit membership organization, seeks a program coordinator to develop, implement, and evaluate programs and events; contribute to organizational communications and marketing; serve as an ambassador for the organization in the Kansas City community; and support other IRC initiatives. This position reports to the executive director. A posting for the role is available here ». We invite you to share this opportunity widely with your network and note the priority application deadline of Friday, January 5, 2018.

The end of the year has brought changes to our board, as well. Board members Dr. Brad Kleindl (Park University) and Shelly Ma (IRC treasurer) have completed their time on the board, and we're most grateful for their years of service. At the same time, we are excited to welcome to the board Dr. Karenbeth Zacharias from the University of St. Mary and Nancy Messer from NAIC, who will also serve as IRC treasurer in 2018.

Each year, we invite IRC members to serve on committees alongside board members to help guide the organization. In 2018, we'll have openings on four committees: corporate (membership), education, finance, and programs. If your skills and interest lie in any of these areas and you would like to serve on a committee, please be in touch ». Committee membership is open to anyone who is a member of the IRC or whose organization is an IRC organizational member. Committees meet every other month, beginning in January.

We've just added an IRC networking hour to the January calendar; we hope you can join us on Tuesday, January 9, in Lee's Summit as we learn about the Missouri Innovation Campus from representatives from the University of Central Missouri and Summit Technology Academy. Please see below for more information.

Please do continue to share information about the upcoming book club meeting, Academic WorldQuest, and Berkley Lecture. They'll be here before we know it!

The IRC offices will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, December 25 and 26, but we'll be back on Wednesday. For those celebrating, we wish you a splendid holiday!

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 President Trump's national security strategy, Catalonia, Myanmar, Jerusalem, and 2017 in review. 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.

From Sara Pedram, director emerita of Global and Multicultural Education: G.A.M.E. is pleased to announce the selection of Matthew Hughes, executive director of the International Relations Council, as the recipient of their annual Peace Builder award! Since 2007, GAME has honored one individual and one organization who has demonstrated outstanding performance in the area of global and intercultural understanding and has actively shown a commitment to creating a more just and equal global society. Congratulations to Matthew for this well deserved recognition! The 11th annual Peace Builder Awards Luncheon is on Saturday, January 20, 11:30-1:30, All Souls Unitarian Church, 4501 Walnut St., Kansas City, Missouri. Go to the G.A.M.E. website » and click on “Peace Builder” to make your reservation ($35 per person). We look forward to seeing you as we recognize Matthew Hughes!

What is America's biggest challenge in the world?  If you're a high school student, you're invited to submit either an essay or a video on this question. Maximum essay length: 750 words; maximum video length: 5 minutes. Winners in each medium will be judged by an expert panel of educators and designers of student outreach programs. See more details here ». Criteria for judging include creative engagement with the Centennial Challenge topic, compelling demonstration of the position you take, and breadth and depth of the vision you present.

Prizes: 1st prize: $1500 and expenses paid for a trip to attend the 2018 Foreign Policy Centennial Spring Dinner in New York City; 2nd prize: $500; 3rd prize: $500. Deadline for submissions: January 31, 2018

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!


Free Event
IRC Networking Hour – Tuesday, January 9 – 4-6 p.m. – Missouri Innovation Campus (Lee's Summit)
IRC networking hours give IRC members and friends the chance to get to know each other and the work of the IRC's organizational partners. On Tuesday, January 9, please join us in Lee's Summit as we explore the new Missouri Innovation Campus, home to Summit Technology Academy and the University of Central Missouri's Lee's Summit Campus. All are invited to this free networking event. Read more and register »

IRC Member Benefit
Cover to Cover: Richard Haass – Wednesday, January 10 – 1-1:30 p.m. – via conference call
"These are no ordinary times. It will not be business as usual in a world of disarray; as a result, it cannot be foreign policy as usual," writes Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, in his book, A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order. Haass argues for "World Order 2.0" – an updated global operating system that reflects the reality that power is widely distributed and that borders count for less. Dial in to January's Cover to Cover to hear Haass's take on the need for an updated definition of sovereignty and how the U.S. should interact with the rest of the world. The IRC is pleased to be able to offer this opportunity as a free benefit to current members; to check your membership status or to register for the call, pleasecontact 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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