News & Views
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About News & Views

Today, international news stories can change from minute to minute, and lectures and panel discussions can’t always dive in to the latest developments. News & Views, a new conversation-based series from the International Relations Council, brings together a small group of community members for respectful, substantive discussion around one of that week’s top international news stories. Facilitated by a seasoned member of the International Relations Council, the group meets in different informal settings around town, like a happy hour on the Plaza, for a guided conversation about a topic and articles that we’ll share just a few days in advance. Individuals of all backgrounds, interests, and perspectives are welcome – we just ask that you bring an open mind, thoughtful questions, and common courtesy. Registration is free but helps us with planning; individuals cover their own food and drinks.

Next Conversation

Join our next Digital News & Views on Thursday, April 9 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The program will moderated by political science and anthropology adjunct at JCCC, Letitia Harmon.


Previous Topics

January 23, 2020 - Global Impact of Aging Populations
Melissa Miller is the senior manager of the World Trade Center–Kansas City.

November 13, 2019  Current Events in Mexico
Mary Sanchez is a seasoned and syndicated journalist.

September 19, 2019 – GDP as a Measure of Well-Being
Songbird Cafe
Dr. Tom Patterson is the director of international education at Johnson County Community College

August 29, 2019 – Ebola and Public Health
 Char Bar
Dr. Nathan Bahr is an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Kansas. In addition to seeing patients with all types of infectious conditions and teaching medical trainees, Dr. Bahr conducts research funded by the National Institutes of Health related to improving the diagnosis of tuberculosis meningitis and histoplasmosis. Dr. Bahr's research is conducted locally and in Uganda and he has active research collaborations around the world. Dr. Bahr spent a significant portion of his training in Uganda where his meningitis work is conducted as part of a multi-disciplinary, international team - he continues to visit Uganda frequently.

July 20, 2019 – Media and Horrifying Images
Calibration Brewery (North Kansas City, MO)
Steven Youngblood is the founding director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University in Parkville, Missouri USA, where he is a communications professor. He has organized and taught peace journalism seminars and workshops in 26 countries and territories. Youngblood is a two-time J. William Fulbright Scholar (Moldova 2001, Azerbaijan 2007). He also served as a U.S. State Department Senior Subject Specialist in Ethiopia in 2018. Youngblood is the author of “Peace Journalism: Principles and Practices” and “Professor Komagum.” He has been recognized for his contributions to world peace by the U.S. State Department, Rotary International, and the UN Association of Kansas City.

June 20, 2019 – Turkey Today
Location: Tanner's Bar & Grill (Kansas City, Kansas)
Facilitator: Dessa Crum currently works with international and immigrant students at Johnson County Community College as a student services coordinator and ESL instructor. Before her time at JCCC, she taught English in the Turkish cities of Gaziantep and Antalya from 2013 to 2016. She was one of thousands of instructors who lost their jobs during the purge following the 2016 coup attempt. 


May 23, 2019 – European Elections
Location: Kokoro Maki House (Kansas City, MO)
Facilitator: Kit Dawson is the Business Intelligence Strategist for the PKD Foundation. A graduate of Oberlin College with degrees in History and English, Kit is a regular IRC volunteer and international education enthusiast.

April 24, 2019 – 25 Years After Rwanda: Atrocity Prevention and U.S. Policy
Location: CommuniTea (Overland Park, KS)
Facilitator: Daniel R. Mahanty leads the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) in its efforts to promote the adoption of U.S. government policies that improve the protection of civilians in war. Prior to joining CIVIC, Dan spent 16 years at the U.S. Department of State, including tours in Morocco, Burundi, and Sweden, along with assignments focused on counterterrorism, rule of law, and human rights. Dan holds a Master's degree from Georgetown, and a Bachelor's degree from George Mason University. His writings have appeared in the National Interest, USA Today, Defense One, and other publications.

March 14, 2019 – Animal Conservation in South Africa
Location: Seasons 52 (Kansas City, MO)
Facilitator: Following many years in the health care field, Mike Wood taught on the health administration faculty of the Bloch School of Management at UMKC. Earlier in his career, he served as a volunteer and senior staffer in the Peace Corps, including six years in Southeast Asia and two years in Africa. He has consulted widely in the U.S. and abroad on health policy and organization.

February 28, 2019 – Venezuela
Location: Sol Cantina (Kansas City, MO)
Facilitator: Kirk Doan is a business lawyer specializing in the health care industry with Stinson Leonard Street LLP. Kirk has visited over 30 foreign countries and hosted a Chinese exchange student. He is active in a Great Decisions group, many community organizations, and served on the staff of the World Scout Jamborees in England in 2008 and Sweden in 2011. He avidly collects postage stamps of all countries of the world and now serves on the IRC's board of directors.