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Matthew Hughes, Executive Director

Matthew Hughes has been executive director of the International Relations Council since July 2016.

Hughes’ professional experience bridges the education and nonprofit sectors. A K-12 teacher for six years and fluent in Spanish, Hughes has worked with students ranging from age 4 through adult learners. He has developed curricula for schools and nonprofits, is a dynamic trainer and presenter, and has served on the board of several organizations, including the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City Sister Cities Association. Matthew relishes the chance to travel and has experience living internationally, including in South America and on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Prior to the IRC, Hughes managed Global Education Programs for People to People International. In this role, he developed a Global Student Fair – attended in its first year by more than 600 elementary students, 350 high-schoolers, and 70 local organizations – to show students just how global Kansas City is. He admires the initiatives, diversity, and enthusiasm of the many international organizations and communities in Kansas City and values opportunities for collaboration.

Hughes holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Arts degree in Global & International Studies from the University of Kansas. His thesis discusses “Opportunities for Global-Competence Education in Secondary Extracurricular Programs.” He has also completed a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management & Innovation from the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

Please do reach out with your questions, feedback, or ideas!

April Diaz, Program Coordinator

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. Outside of work, she is passionate about reading and learning, foster parenting, and playing more musical instruments than her brain really has the capacity to handle.

Fall 2018 Interns

Gianna Cado, Digital Resources Intern

Gianna Cado is currently a sophomore at University of Missouri-Kansas City, majoring in Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Anthropology. At UMKC, she is a member of the Honors College. In the past, Gianna has interned with the City of Kansas City, Missouri City Council. She was also involved in Girl Scouts, earning her Gold Award. In the future, Gianna plans to pursue a master’s degree in the field of statistics. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and watching movies.



Grace Komoe, Events Intern

Grace Komoe is a junior at Park University majoring in Political Science with Legal Studies as a minor. She wants to be a lawyer in the future and expand her career in the legal field to International Law and Business. She is passionate about helping people. She created, with some friends, the first International Club at Park University in the intention to be the voice of her fellow international students, ensuring that their needs are heard and being taken care of. She has also worked with the International Office in the Admission department for three years, where she fell in love with programming events. She is fluent in French due to the place she comes from, which is the Ivory Coast. She has lived in the United States for four years, but, prior to that, she lived in Morocco where she studied during her high school years. Her hobbies include playing the piano, socializing, reading and writing.

Jason Rose, Community Intern

Jason is a senior at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, majoring in Spanish and Business Administration and having completed a Spanish language and culture program at the University of Granada in Spain. He pairs his experience in team-building and training development with his work in his community and neighborhood administration and looks forward to taking these skills into the global community. He also serves as the president of Kansas City's Troostwood Neighborhood Association. When Jason isn't studying or working, he enjoys cycling, researching other cultures, and following his favorite soccer clubs.