News & Press: Newsletters

January 31, 2018: Welcome and Website

Wednesday, January 31, 2018  
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Dear friends,

Two of the IRC's annual events are approaching in the next week, and we're looking forward to both! Academic WorldQuest on Saturday will include high-school teams from Kansas and Missouri showcasing their global knowledge for the chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C. If you're in the area on Saturday, please join us at the KU Edwards Campus BEST Conference Center from 12-4 to cheer on these global scholars. And Wednesday's Berkley Lecture will dive into the timely topic of cyber conflict and its impact on 2018. You still have a few hours to register for this program; please see below for more information and call or e-mail if you have any questions.

This week are very pleased to welcome our new program coordinator, April Diaz. While April has served with a wide variety of nonprofits, she has a particular passion for international issues and opportunities to promote intercultural understanding. Her academic focus was largely on international development, human rights, and peace studies. Her experience in these fields include working with Peace Action, mentoring refugee families, and coordinating programming at a refugee center. April has Master’s degrees in both Macro Social Work and African Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. Additionally, she holds certificates in Nonprofit Management, Fundraising Management, Nonprofit Board Education, and Mediation. If you have a chance, please send April an e-mail » to welcome her to the IRC; I know she'll enjoy meeting you at an upcoming program. We have a fabulous group of interns this spring, as well, and we'll be introducing them to you soon.

In the coming weeks, we will be undertaking a redesign of the IRC's website. We invite you to offer your feedback on our current site » with your specific recommendations for what should stay the same and what we can improve to better serve our community. Please complete this survey » at your earliest convenience to help us with this process.

We know there are so many international and multicultural events happening this spring. If you are aware of any that you'd like to share with the IRC network, feel free to send them to us » so we can include them in upcoming newsletters. We love to hear from you!

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 state of U.S. foreign policy, what's next for Syria, new fighting in Yemen, the Rohingya, and Kenya. 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.

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

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!


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 »

Free Student Event
Berkley Lecture Student Event: Cyber Policy Expert Kate Charlet – Wednesday, February 7 – 2-3:30 p.m. – National Archives
High-school and university students and teachers are invited to join cyber policy expert Kate Charlet for a timely and informative presentation on cyber security and policy. The program is free to attend. This program is limited to students and their teachers; we invite others who are interested to attend Ms. Charlet's lecture on the future of cyber conflict earlier in the day. Please RSVP by January 31 directly to » with your name, school, and number of students. Read more »

IRC Member Benefit
Cover to Cover: Dr. Jonathan Quick – Tuesday, February 13 – 1-1:30 p.m. – via conference call
Somewhere in nature, a killer virus is boiling up in the bloodstream of a wild animal, preparing to jump to a human being. This not-yet-detected germ has the potential to wipe out millions of lives over a matter of weeks or months. That risk makes the threat posed by ISIS, a ground war, a massive climate event, or even the dropping of a nuclear bomb on a major city pale in comparison. In The End of Epidemics, Dr. Jonathan Quick, Harvard Medical School faculty member and Chair of the Global Heath Council, examines the eradication of smallpox and devastating effects of influenza, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola. Analyzing efforts to contain these diseases and citing firsthand accounts of failure and success, Dr. Quick proposes a new set of actions which he has coined, "The Power of Seven," to end epidemics before they begin. The IRC is proud to offer this opportunity to IRC members in partnership with the World Affairs Councils of America. To register for the call, or to check your membership status, please contact Matthew ».

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.

KC Interfaith Film Festival », presented by the GKC Interfaith Council
February 1-7 – various locations

Kansas City Chinese New Year Gala », presented by the Kansas City Chinese Association
Saturday, February 3 – 4:30-9 p.m. – Carlsen Center at JCCC

America and the Armenian Genocide », presented by the Dole Institute
Thursday, February 15 – 3-4:30 p.m. – Dole Institute (Lawrence)

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)

Leaders of Tomorrow Summit », presented by CGSC Foundation and K-State
Thursday, March 8 – 8:30-12:30 – K-State Olathe Campus

Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival »
Saturday, April 14 – 11-5:30 – KCKCC Athletic Field House 

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.

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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