World Citizen Blog

World Citizen Blog2021-07-15T10:27:42-05:00

Topics & Insight That Affect Our Members

1403, 2022

Following Up with Jay Kim

March 14th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized, World Citizen Blog|

On February 21, as part of International Mother Language Day, the IRC welcomed Jay Kim, Michael Volz, Tamara Medakov, and Ani Kokobobo for a conversation discussing the question "Is English the World's Language?". Because of the riveting conversation, we ran out of time and still had many questions from the audience that had gone unanswered. Graciously, Jay Kim offered some of his time to address the questions below. How [...]

1602, 2022

IRC Weekly Update: English and World Languages Next Week

February 16th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|

Good morning, Friend! Have you met Aurna, our global education coordinator? Aurna is from Bangladesh, home of International Mother Language Day, which has been observed around the world since its approval at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference. The spirit of the day is to explore the value and opportunities offered by linguistic diversity. Next week, the IRC is pleased to mark International Mother Language Day with a Monday panel discussion – "Is [...]

902, 2022

IRC Weekly Update: Human-Centered Agenda for the Future of Work

February 9th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|

Good morning, Friend! As high school students around the metro area continue to prepare for the Academic WorldQuest global knowledge competition on Saturday, March 5, community members are invited to join them in their preparation through a series of special News & Views discussion groups. Thanks to everyone, including discussion leader Dave Tripp, an IRC member, who joined us for last week's look at climate and migration. Join us tomorrow for an exploration [...]

202, 2022

IRC Newsletter: Bring Your Whole Self to This Table

February 2nd, 2022|Categories: Newsletter|

Good morning, Friend! None of us is one-dimensional – countless layered components, influences, and experiences intersect to make up our identities. The commemorations and holidays that line our calendars invite us to pause to recognize the meaning behind those layers. Just this week, so many layers of identity come into focus and deserve consideration and conversation. We mark the Lunar New Year together with Asian and Asian American communities around the [...]

202, 2022

IRC Weekly Update: Where Climate and Migration Meet next week

February 2nd, 2022|Categories: Newsletter|

Good morning, Friend! Especially during the last two years, discussion groups like News & Views, the Global Affairs Book Club, A Novel Experience, and the International Film Club have helped IRC members and friends stay connected, get to know one another, and explore a range of perspectives on international events and global issues. Whether you already have a favorite format or would like to try something new, you'll find a range of topics in [...]

1901, 2022

IRC Weekly Update: Academic WorldQuest Registration Deadline Approaching

January 19th, 2022|Categories: Newsletter|

Good morning! High school students around the Kansas City metro area are preparing to showcase their global knowledge in the annual Academic WorldQuest competition, this year on Saturday, March 5. As you are checking out upcoming opportunities for global engagement below, please do pass this information along to teachers and students who might be interested. The winning team will receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national competition [...]

1507, 2021

Member Spotlight: Once We Were Refugees

July 15th, 2021|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Ninety days. That’s how long the U.S. Government allows for refugees to become self-sustaining. 90 days to learn English. 90 days to find a place to live. 90 days to find work in a new country. All the while in debt for a loan they are expected to pay back to the U.S. Federal government. Once We Were Refugees steps in on the ninety-first day. “We consider ourselves to [...]

1003, 2021

Something for Everyone: Learning about the World Abroad

March 10th, 2021|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

Looking back to the beginning of my academic journey, as a burgeoning, bright-eyed undergraduate, I never would have predicted I would one day receive a master’s degree in Global and International Studies. As much as the topics of the international field currently stimulate my mind and nourish my sense of wonder and discovery, I was not born with a natural curiosity for international affairs. The path between then and [...]

401, 2021

Highlighting Holly Nielsen’s Board Service

January 4th, 2021|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

What motivated you to serve on the IRC board of directors? I moved to KC after 21 years of living abroad, and was grateful to learn of IRC. I was glad to find a community of persons who, like myself, were interested in international affairs and continuing to learn more and stay current on foreign policy and international issues. This IRC community had also traveled extensively, and many had [...]

2311, 2020

The Need for Multilateral Diplomacy in Cyberspace

November 23rd, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

Warfare and national security issues used to be solely based on physical proximity; however, those days are over. As technology becomes more advanced and the world more reliant on technology, individuals now more than ever are vulnerable to attacks taking place outside of the physical realm. Now, national security transcends the physical, tangible world and includes cyberspace, an ever-changing, non-tangible environment. Nicknamed the final frontier, cyberspace is unlike any [...]

1611, 2020

Algorithmic Radicalization and Digital Recruitment

November 16th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

What do members of ISIS and the Proud Boys have in common? They spend an average of 144 minutes a day on Facebook. Despite vast differences in motivation and ideology, international and domestic terrorist groups alike utilize social media for organization and recruitment. (8.,9.) Facebook is the most used platform, utilized by an astounding 64.53% of U.S. extremists. (3.) While this is by no means a new phenomenon, the [...]

2910, 2020

The EU’s Energy Problem: A Russian Solution?

October 29th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

The tensions in Belarus and Ukraine often challenged the EU-Russian relations. While Human-Rights violations have been publicly criticized by the EU, Russia remains one of Europe's most important economic partners, particularly for the eastern countries. It can be argued that this special relationship between Russia and the EU derives from a context where political and economic interest are very much intertwined with each other. Central to this relationship is [...]

1210, 2020

Google, Facebook, and the Platform Economy: Quo Vadis, Capitalism?

October 12th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

In a world of constant global interconnectedness, internet platforms such as Google and Facebook have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Going to work with an Uber, shopping by Amazon, connecting with friends via Facebook the physical and the virtual world are merging while platforms define the conditions. Originally based on libertarian principles, idealist visionaries like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg have become businessmen as technology merged [...]

510, 2020

The IRC at 65: IRC Beginnings: Eleanor Roosevelt, President Truman, and the United Nations

October 5th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

As WWII ended in 1945, the United Nations was established by 51 countries with a mission to maintain international peace and security. Two years later, in 1947, the Cold War began with Trumans announcement of the Truman Doctrine, a policy of containment of Communism and adoption of the Marshall Plan. UN and U.S. soldiers intervened when Soviet soldiers invaded the Korean peninsula in 1950 and remained until partitioning in [...]

2209, 2020

Rwanda: From Civil War to an African Role Model?

September 22nd, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

The east African state of Rwanda has mostly been associated with very negative impressions. Rwanda of the 1990s was characterized by genocide during a civil war between Hutus and Tutsis, deriving from long-standing socio-ethnic tensions. In contrast, modern Rwanda seems to write a very different story. It is often perceived as an African role model for success, sometimes even compared to the rise of Singapore. While the world bank [...]

1606, 2020

A Step Into a New Horizon

June 16th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

As an international student barely spending less than eight months in the United States, I was beyond nervous to face a bigger and unfamiliar crowd, Midwest Model UN conference, which was far different from my small college. MMUN is an academic event/forum held annually that provides an insight on how the UN operates as well as promotes a deeper understanding of issues in connection to humanitarian, cultural, social, economic, [...]

1805, 2020

Member Spotlight: Kevin Holland

May 18th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Kevin Holland is a newer member of the IRC, joining in April of 2020. Kevin works for Lockton, headquartered here in Kansas City, where he helps clients with insurance, risk management, corporate commercial insurances, health insurance for employees, and retirement. His role with the KC multinational team means he spends significant time outside the U.S., helping with the needs of his clients' businesses. His current role is to develop [...]

405, 2020

Member Spotlight: Letitia Harmon

May 4th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Letitia Harmon has been a member of the IRC since 2014 and has served as a conversation leader for the IRC's News & Views program series. Letitia's academic career began at University of Washington in Seattle where she studied International Relations. Since then, from Kuwait, where she worked to address penal code reform to support women, to education programs in a refugee camp in Kenya and work in India [...]

1304, 2020

A Peek Behind the Washington Curtain

April 13th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

I went to Washington from the heart of the Midwest from Kansas City, where I've named my car Dorothy and where, as you know, we don't really have swamps, real or fabled. I, like many other student interns, had no idea what to expect last summer. I researched and I prepared, but when I arrived on the doorstep of Washington I really only knew just how badly I wanted [...]

604, 2020

What Five Geopolitical Books Can You Recommend Reading While Social Distancing?

April 6th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Mental health professionals with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the European Union's Mental Health Europe, have similarly emphasized the importance of maintaining good mental health and positive wellbeing to better cope with the current COVID-19 threat, and the uncertainty it's creating for the future. But, the mental health professionals have a prescription for us to assiduously follow during these trying times: Take periodic breaks from watching, reading, [...]

2303, 2020

Vietnam on a Whim

March 23rd, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Ever listen to someone's future plans and think to yourself, "Wow, they're out of their mind"?   That's what I thought when Dylan told me that he was going to go to Vietnam to teach English for a year. I remember telling him "Wow man, you're crazy." At that point, I was drowning in my own thoughts of what I would do come graduation, but I could tell you [...]

1603, 2020

Taking a Moment to Stop and Listen

March 16th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

It is safe to say that taking a solo trip abroad is a daunting, yet rewarding experience. It is a challenge I decided to take following graduating from undergrad. While traveling abroad alone is not unique as more and more recent graduates seek similar travel experiences, one particular encounter I had while walking in Germany has stuck with me ever since. I was in Freiburg, Germany as one of [...]

1602, 2020

Sister City Jazz exchange program with Hannover, Germany

February 16th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

Kansas City and Hannover, Germany are two of the world's great hubs of jazz, both declared UNESCO Cities of Music. The connection doesn't stop there, Kansas City and Hannover are linked as Sister Cities. The Sister City Association of Kansas City supports and promotes communication, cooperation, and understanding for innovative programs which bring people together through tourism, education, music, and cultural awareness on the international level. We organize cultural [...]

1002, 2020

From China to Vietnam, with Love

February 10th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

I was fortunate enough to visit my girlfriend's home country during the winter break. Vietnam is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia, just a five hour flight away from the city where I was born in Shanghai, China. This is a very large step in anyone's relationship, but especially in the Chinese and Vietnamese culture.     Vietnam's culture and history are very diverse. On the streets of Ho Chi [...]

302, 2020

New Americans Welcome Naturalization Ceremony

February 3rd, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

The New American Welcome Center (NAWC) and the North Kansas City YMCA are so happy to say congratulations to 174 new American citizens from over 55 different countries. These students took the oath of allegiance at the North Kansas City YMCA on January 15, 2020, and successfully completed their journey to citizenship! It was an honor to be a part of this amazing day. Two members of the North Kansas [...]

2701, 2020

No Iranaphobia For Me

January 27th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

We tend to fear what we know little about, especially if we choose to have limited sources for gaining knowledge about the world. Recently, having returned from a two week trip to Iran sponsored by Global Exchange, I was delighted and privileged to learn more about this rich and ancient history and to witness first-hand the warmth and engagement of the people. Since having made the decision to go [...]

2001, 2020

A Kansas Citian’s Visit to Iran

January 20th, 2020|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

This blog was written in early October 2019, before the events of recent days. "Where are you from?" This was the quizzical look on the Iranian people's faces and what they really meant was, "if you are from the U.S., how did you get a visa to come to Iran?". We said yes, we are from the U.S. "We love Americans" was the constant rejoiner. To that, we said, [...]

411, 2019

Many Mistakes Led to Tragedy in Syria

November 4th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

This article was originally published in the StarTribune on Wednesday, October 16 and can be found on their website.  The tragedy unfolding in Syria has riveted American attention anew to the problems there, problems that reflect contradictions we have avoided, but must grapple with now. One problem is that America's single-minded focus on ISIS since 2014-15 has more or less willfully disregarded the longer-term. This no longer seems sustainable. [...]

2810, 2019

The Middle East Beyond the Headlines

October 28th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

The University of Central Missouri (UCM) offers a wide variety of study programs for students to take advantage of while in school. One of these programs is "The Middle East Beyond the Headlines" which is a three-week, faculty-led tour to Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank. I participated in this program in the summer of 2018 and could not have been happier with the knowledge and growth I took [...]

2110, 2019

International Dining Experiences at KU

October 21st, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

As someone that has never traveled outside of the United States and has lived in a small town for most of her life, my interactions on an international level have been limited. However, I have met a number of wonderful people that are international exchange students through my occupation as a Student Manager for the University of Kansas' Ekdahl Dining Hall. The University of Kansas requires all international students [...]

1410, 2019

Kansas City Transplant

October 14th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Being from Upstate New York, I have been lucky to move to Kansas City at a very exciting and dynamic time. Prior to my arrival here, I have lived in Galway, Ireland for about six months, and Athens, Greece for three months. These two experiences gave me the tools to make such a large jump in my geographic home. My greatest takeaway from living in these two locations was [...]

710, 2019

Commentary: Debunked! Most Americans Do Support the U.S. Engaging in World Affairs, Not Retreating

October 7th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Op-Ed by Ivo Daalder, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO. Originally published in the Chicago Tribune. Also carried in the Charlotte Observer (Sept. 18) and nationally. A powerful belief about American views of the world has taken hold among foreign policy experts, that Americans are exhausted from global overreach and want to shed the burdens of global leadership. Arguing that American voters' "foreign policy views stink," New York Times columnist [...]

3009, 2019

KC to Seville, Spain and Back Again

September 30th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

I have always been an introverted person with just enough self-awareness to know which baby steps to take in order to reach my goals that were outside of my comfort zone. I knew I wanted to travel the world. Creating new memories, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures abroad was something that I always wanted to do. So, when I was in high school, I talked my mother [...]

2309, 2019

Welcoming Week

September 23rd, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

One of the reasons I am so proud to work for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and be a part of the Y movement across the world is because of our commitment to be welcoming to all. Welcoming to new associates. Welcoming to members. Welcoming to those in need. Welcoming to those new to our community. Welcoming no matter a person's background, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or [...]

209, 2019

The Continuing Importance of the International Criminal Court

September 2nd, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: |

The International Criminal Court (ICC) shines as an example of modern international law. There is nothing quite of its likeness in human history. The ability of a diverse international body to put individuals accused of crimes against humanity and genocide on trial is a great accomplishment of human civilization. The modernity of the International Criminal Court can also work to be one of its greatest flaws.   People tend [...]

2208, 2019

Increasingly International

August 22nd, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Growing up in Kansas City, I always had a fascination with other cultures. In elementary school there were periods of times when I would immerse myself in research about Ancient Egypt or the Elizabethan Era. After having the opportunity to visit Thailand and then paying my way to Cuba, I knew I wanted international travel to be a large part of my life. After those two trips, there was [...]

1908, 2019

The Complexity of the South Korean Age System

August 19th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

"How old are you?" In a country with a deeply-rooted set of honorifics based on age, this question not only acts as a basic formality or curious inquiry, but as a method to create a foundation of a relationship. Age will determine various levels of respect and how one person will address the other. This is South Korea's situation surrounding age. For me, as an American studying abroad in [...]

1208, 2019

Third Culture Kids in Kansas City

August 12th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

I am the proud parent of two Third Culture Kids. For those not familiar with the term, a Third Culture Kid (TCK) is someone who spent time during their formative years living in a country other than that of their parents. The term was originally coined in the 1950s by the American anthropologist Ruth Hill Useem. The connotation is that these children are not fully part of their parents' [...]

508, 2019

Taiwan’s 2020 Presidential Elections

August 5th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

Since 1949, Taiwan has been allowed to be governed independently from mainland China under the assumption that Taiwan is part of China and they will not seek independence as stipulated under the "One-China" policy. However, the current Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, and her party, the Democratic Progressive Party, have sought to distance Taiwan from the mainland, which has caused tensions between Taipei and Beijing. In recent years, Beijing has [...]

2207, 2019

Tensions in Middle East Slow Some Arms Exports

July 22nd, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Conflicts such as the Yemeni Civil War and the conflict in Syria have had massive ramifications for major arms manufacturers around the world, in some countries more than others. Germany particularly has faced widespread criticism from its own citizens over military equipment being sold to the Saudi government or other Middle Eastern powers engaged in controversial conflicts. But Germany, who represents the fifth spot internationally in terms of total [...]

907, 2019

Holding Strong Political Views and Working for an Apolitical Non-Profit

July 9th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

Apolitical. Neutral. Non-partisan. When I first realized the apolitical aspect of the International Relations Council, I thought that it must be entirely possible to separate my political opinions from the work I would do. I was supposed to be educating people about international relations, politics didn't have to be part of it. As it turned out, it was more difficult than I could have imagined. I found it incredibly [...]

2606, 2019

Addressing the Undefeated Battle of the Refugee Crisis

June 26th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

Throughout the centuries, the refugee crisis has been an issue that many generations have tried to solve. With each passing decade, the refugee crisis seems to be increasing more than ever before. According to the UNHCR, there are 65.6 million displaced people living in the world today ( The U.N. broke those statistics down and confirmed that 22.5 million are refugees; 17.2 million refugees are under the UNHCR mandate [...]

306, 2019

Kansas City Latino History and Culture

June 3rd, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

Eight years ago, my life became intimately intertwined with the Latino community for the first time. I had recently accepted a job with the Univision affiliate in Kansas City, managing sales for the global Spanish-language television network. Although I was hired to sell the Latino culture and what it represented to advertisers, I was swiftly sold myself. Quickly, I became immersed in the Hispanic community, becoming familiar with neighborhoods like [...]

1305, 2019

The “Good Earth” of China

May 13th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

It's no secret that China has cornered the market on manufacturing, particularly that of cutting-edge technology such as Apple's iPad and iPhone. But just why this is so seems to require more of an answer than just China's cheap labor, neighboring Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand boast similarly low-cost and highly motivated work forces but fail to attract high-tech manufacturers at a similar rate. Another more comprehensive [...]

2204, 2019

Book Review: The World is Flat

April 22nd, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman is a classic book describing how the world economy has reached a new era of equality like never before, creating a level playing field. Friedman also describes how the United States and Europe are unprepared for the coming rise of China, India, and other previously disregarded countries. The book appeared in shelves in 2005 and could only account for so much.   [...]

1504, 2019

International Collaboration

April 15th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

With so many things causing division in the world today, where can we look to find unity, cooperation, and progress? For starters, we can look to the science field. On April 10, 2019, astronomers and astrophysicists released the first picture of a black hole. This is an amazing feat that could not have been done by one country on its own. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) consists of eight [...]

804, 2019

Kansas City and the UNESCO Creative City Network: Music and Culture for Sustainable Urban Development

April 8th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

In November 2017, the City of Kansas City, Missouri joined the Creative Cities Network of the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the first and only City of Music in the United States. Kansas City joins eight other U.S. Creative Cities, including Austin, Detroit, Iowa City, Paducah, San Antonio, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Tucson. Members of the UNESCO Creative City Network (UCCN) include 180 cities around [...]

104, 2019

Book Review: Bioviolence: Preventing Biological Terror and Crime

April 1st, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: |

Barry Kellman's Bioviolence: Preventing Biological Terror and Crime excellently describes the growing threat of biological warfare as a form of terrorism. Kellman begins by giving a definition of bioviolence: "the use of an active ingredient to cause mass harm." The author then lists the most common agents used in acts of bioterrorism: smallpox, anthrax, influenza, Ebola, and other toxins used in agro violence. Additionally, the author examines the threat [...]

2503, 2019

Where is the Line For Voluntourism?

March 25th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

Audrey Hepburn's films and her remarkable work for UNICEF made her my number one idol throughout adolescence. As an avid lover of traveling and a natural born empath, my desire to visit foreign countries with an interest in aiding humanity came naturally. I grew up watching all the heartbreaking commercials with images of poverty and hunger- stricken children fighting for their lives, "but with a small donation, problems could [...]

1803, 2019

Populism in Europe

March 18th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

The world is characterized by a deep political-economic crisis, and it seems endless. This crisis has compromised the social and civil development that was believed to be unstoppable. This event has involved the entire European continent, where it has registered a twist on voters preferences. In fact, voters are found to be more and more intolerant of politics and discouraged by the persistent downturn. New parties, defined as populist, [...]

403, 2019

Nobel Prize Winner Says We Are Connected by “Web of Ideas”

March 4th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Dr. George P. Smith understands that scientific discoveries don't happen in isolation: Researchers build on each other's ideas, no matter where in the world they study.   In October, Smith, a Curators Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri, was among a trio of researchers from the United States and England that The Royal Swedish Academy of Science awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry. [...]

2502, 2019

The Macchu Musician from Missouri

February 25th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Something I have always understood is the power of making connections. Being a musician, community is everything. Connections are key to sustainability and the pursuit of happiness. I decided to take this approach in my study abroad program in Cusco, Peru, in the summer of 2018. I quickly realized within my first interactions that I needed to establish a boundary that allowed everyone to understand my language barrier. One [...]

1102, 2019

Learning Through Borders

February 11th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

The words of a student and peer of ours, spoken three years ago, still ring in our ears today: "Books are great, but we have nobody to teach them." In Khorog, Tajikistan, students desire much more from the books they receive from charities. They want to engage them.   Disparities in access to "quality" education have brought the global community into a learning crisis. Access to education does not [...]

2101, 2019

National Security Challenges in the Next Decade

January 21st, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: |

Please join us for a luncheon and a fascinating 2019 Berkley Lecture on Monday, February 25, at the Grand Street Café on the Country Club Plaza. The topic  "National Security Challenges in the Next Decade: Implications for the U.S." is extremely timely. How many times each day are we hearing the phrase "national security" on TV/radio and seeing it in print? We're all recognizing quickly that national security is [...]

701, 2019

Top Five Reasons Great Decisions Really Is Great

January 7th, 2019|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

If you subscribe to the IRC's newsletter, follow the organization on social media, or attend IRC events, you may have heard a lot of buzz the past couple of months on Great Decisions, "America's largest discussion program on foreign affairs." You may have read about it in passing, thought to yourself "Hmm!," and then moved on with your day. Perhaps you thought you are busy enough, so how could [...]

3112, 2018

Reflections of Outgoing Board President Lyn Lakin

December 31st, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

Blog. For those of us that are not comfortable or natural writers, "blog" is truly a four-letter word. But when asked to reflect on my experiences as an outgoing IRC board member, I did feel that I could overcome my insecurity. Because, you see, the International Relations Council of Kansas City is a very critical part of my constantly evolving life. I had been occasionally attending IRC events and [...]

1712, 2018

History of the United Nations – Absent Countries

December 17th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles next year, it is worth taking a look at the paradigm it established and the international order a century on. International organizations, from NATO to the European Union, and from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, play an increasingly significant role in the development and maintenance of international relations as [...]

2611, 2018

Book Review: The White Man’s Burden

November 26th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

In The White Man's Burden: Why the Wes's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, William Easterly deconstructs the foreign aid system and highlights its flaws. Billions of dollars from the West are poured into developing countries every year, but the impacts are limited. While the states with the fastest-growing economies receive little to no aid, the overwhelming majority of those that [...]

1911, 2018

Event Recap: Working Across Countries and Cultures

November 19th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

Every now and then a panel comes along that manages to balance being inspirational with being substantive. Last week's "Working Across Countries and Cultures: What It Means for Entrepreneurs " was one of these panels. Held November 14 at the Westport Plexpod as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week and in collaboration with KCSourceLink, the panel convened amazing people working in diverse entrepreneurial fields. One panelist, Katie Petty, started her [...]

1211, 2018

Book Review: Tropic of Chaos

November 12th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

Christian Parenti's Tropic of Chaos examines the political, social, and economic effects of climate change around the world. Fossil fuels have long been a ubiquitous part of every day life. In fact, in a recent study done in the U.S., it was found that fossil fuel comprises 81% of the U.S. fuel. Parenti argues that the solution to this is to "decarbonize our economy." He adds that, "the best [...]

2210, 2018

Globe-Trotting Career

October 22nd, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

As I come to the end of my six-month stay in Hanoi, I contemplate what led me to embark on my global-trotting career path. Over the past three years since graduation, I've lived in five countries. It began with a summer internship with the Naval Heritage Command (National Museum of U.S. Navy) in Washington, D.C. It was July 2013, and this was my first work experience in another country, let [...]

810, 2018

German Immigration

October 8th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

As many as 58 million U.S. residents have German heritage, and a lot of immigrants from Deutschland settled in the Midwest. As recently as 1980, German was the third most-spoken language and could still be heard in many small communities in Kansas and Missouri. Up to 5 million arrived between 1840 and 1910, mostly in three large waves: the first from 1840-1857, the second from 1864-1873, and the last [...]

2409, 2018

Book Review: Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies

September 24th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Using his background in medicine and anthropology, Seth M. Holmes creates a vivid description of the struggles of the Triqui, an indigenous group from Oaxaca, Mexico, living and working in the United States. Throughout the reading, Holmes follows a group of Triqui migrants, from Mexico to the farms in Washington and then to California. Holmes touches on many themes throughout the book; most prominent is how hierarchical structures affect the [...]

1709, 2018

Event Recap: Sarah Margon, Washington Director of Human Rights Watch

September 17th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

On Thursday, September 13, the event hosted by the International Relations Council, "An Evening with Sarah Margon," took place in the heart of Kansas City at Stinson Leonard Street Law Firm. As the Washington director of Human Watch Rights, Ms Margon serves as the organization's main point of contact with the U.S. government and provides strategic and advocacy guidance, including legislative and policy development. Interviewed by Christina Arnone, a [...]

1009, 2018

Book Review: Should We Fear Russia?

September 10th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

The book Should We Fear Russia? by Dmitri Trenin focuses on the prospective threat Russia poses to other countries. The author takes the reader through Russia's past and present and addresses the root causes for other countries' widespread fear of Russia. This book stands out from other books about Russia because Trenin is from Russia and writes from his point of view, and it is important to include Russian voices in the [...]

2708, 2018

Event Recap: Ethnic Enrichment Festival

August 27th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Kansas City's 39th Annual Ethnic Enrichment Festival was held in beautiful Swope Park on August 17-19. On display were a host of activities from more than 60 unique cultures, including musical and dance performances, plentiful activities for children, and a wide variety of cuisines. A brief walk from Pavilion Road yielded great views of the events at the pavilion stage. Featured on stage were folk dancers from Iran, the [...]

2008, 2018

Book Review: Capitalism without Capital

August 20th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

In the modern world many citizens worry about the economy and how the American gross domestic product (GDP) often feels like it is seconds away from a monumental crash. Capitalism without Capital by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake looks at how, in the world's poorer countries, a slowing of GDP often correlates with how the country measures intangible investment.    The same kind of thought can be transferred to [...]

1408, 2018

A City of Culture and Connection

August 14th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

When I was seeking a new school to continue my education, a must-have for me was a place with culture. I was looking for a place that extended beyond its city limits, one that I would have opportunities for growth. I found that here in Kansas City. Many towns and cities have sister cities, another place across the world with which they've established a link, usually for the purpose [...]

3007, 2018

Book Review: Drift

July 30th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Rachel Maddow is a public liberal political commentator and author. On MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," she stresses the importance of transparency and accountability from American leaders in regards to political affairs. She received her Bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Lincoln College, Oxford. Rachel Maddow's Drift analyzes United States military history and involvement in international conflicts while simultaneously critiquing the unhinged executive power [...]

2307, 2018

2026 World Cup

July 23rd, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

In the midst of tariff escalations and immigration policies, it may seem there is currently little that Canada, the United States, and Mexico can agree on, except perhaps soccer. FIFA's announcement last month that North America would host the 2026 World Cup has thrilled American soccer fans disappointed in the U.S team's failure to qualify for the 2018 games. For local soccer enthusiasts, the announcement came with a bonus, [...]

907, 2018

Global Education in Kansas City

July 9th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Today's world necessitates the inclusion of international topics in everyday educational and professional life. With the continual increase in globalization, the need for understanding international issues and connections is more important now than ever before. I, myself, only recently realized how global Kansas City is; it took me coming home from New York for the summer to fully see the range of international possibilities here and to appreciate the [...]

207, 2018

Cuban, Jayhawk, and Kansan

July 2nd, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

A glamorized country where people come to pursue new lives, the U.S. is a country built on immigration. The Cuban community has grown rapidly since 2014 when President Obama shared intentions in a USA Today post to normalize the relations between the U.S. and Cuba. After the U.S. announced plans to close the U.S. embassy in Cuba, I have seen more Cubans interested in relocation to the U.S. While [...]

2506, 2018

Collecting International Postage Stamps, Tiny Windows to the World

June 25th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Why are there postage stamps? Roland Hill reformed the British post office in the late 1830s. Postage stamps were his answer to three problems. First, the old system where the recipient of the letter always paid for the postage was inefficient, because it required many trips to find the recipient and the recipients frequently wouldn't pay for mail they didn't want to receive. Second, postmasters were pilfering revenue, and [...]

1806, 2018

World Refugee Day

June 18th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

This Wednesday, June 20, is World Refugee Day, which is a perfect time to learn about refugee issues at home and abroad. According to the UNCHR, there are 65.6 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced. 22.5 million are registered refugees. 10 million are stateless. Compared to this, the total number of refugees that were resettled around the world in 2016 was a mere 189,300. 55% of refugees [...]

1106, 2018

Ramadan 2018

June 11th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Some of us may have noticed recently that our friend hasn't come to class with his regular latte in the morning, or that one of our co-workers has started skipping lunch. This could be because they are celebrating Ramadan, a holiday currently being celebrated by Muslims all over the world. Although the history and practices of Ramadan are complex and diverse across cultures and countries, having a general understanding [...]

406, 2018

Book Review: Is This the End of The Liberal International Order?

June 4th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Moderated by Rudyard Griffiths, Is This The End of The Liberal International Order? is the published copy of the debate hosted by Munk Debates. The event brought together Niall Ferguson and Fareed Zakaria to discuss whether the liberal international order, who some argue has existed since the end of WWII, is over. Niall Ferguson, supporting the end of the liberal international order, is a British historian and political commentator, [...]

2805, 2018

The Day I Met El Chapo

May 28th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

I, like most millennials who refuse to have a standard cable contract, find myself diving head first into every Netflix series that catches my eye, binge watching every episode with a hunger for more entertainment. "The Day I Met El Chapo" was one that especially grabbed my attention. I found myself finishing the real life telenovela in a single afternoon of binging. It's a tale of how Kate Del [...]

2105, 2018

Book Review – The Next Factory of the World: How Chinese Investment is Reshaping Africa

May 21st, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

Irene Yuan Sun's The Next Factory of the World: How Chinese Investment is Reshaping Africa, explores the consequences of Chinese investors in African countries. Sun co-leads McKinsey & Company's work on Chinese economic engagement in Africa and previously taught secondary school in Namibia. She graduated from Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard College. Because Sun is Chinese-American, she provides a familiar but unique voice on this recent [...]

1405, 2018

100th Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Agreement

May 14th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

On May 16, 2018, the IRC, the Czech & Slovak Club, and the World Trade Center of Kansas City will sponsor a lunch program to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Agreement. Many of you may not realize that this agreement, which came to fruition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, led to the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state (Czechoslovakia) after the First World War. I hope many people can [...]

705, 2018

Kansas City Is as Global as We Make It

May 7th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

When I travel or receive guests, I'm always curious to hear their notions of Kansas City. "Dorothy," the unfamiliar say, or maybe "tornados," or "barbecue." But, if you've been around Kansas City a little while, you'll know how many first-time visitors leave pleasantly surprised. They start piecing together the stories of Harry Truman, Amelia Earhart, Charlie Parker, Walt Disney, Buck O'Neil, and even Ernest Hemingway. They find the architecture [...]

3004, 2018

Book Review: Asian Security and the Rise of China

April 30th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

David Martin Jones, Nicholas Khoo, and M.L.R. Smith wrote Asian Security and the Rise of China. David Martin Jones teaches in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia. Nicholas Kooh is a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Lastly, M.L.R. Smith lectures at King's College as a professor of Strategic Theory in the Department [...]

1604, 2018

Midwestern Mzungu

April 16th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , |

Many people acknowledge and understand the utility of learning international languages as vehicles for deeper engagement with the world. That is, by speaking another language, you can connect more thoroughly and authentically with your international neighbors, at home and abroad. Despite this acknowledgment, relatively few have considered how language acquisition can shape one's understanding of the world on a theoretical level. Being able to speak with a wider variety [...]

904, 2018

To Be at Home in All Lands

April 9th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|

I had lunch the other day with a young man who had just returned from an academic semester in Europe. Making conversation, I asked, "did you learn anything?" I wasn't at all surprised when he compared his first extended international experience to being on a par with taking a drink from a fire hose. Sensory overload. And his comments weren't just confined to "book learnin." Certainly the course work [...]

204, 2018

International Metrics

April 2nd, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , |

One of the primary challenges in understanding countries in relation to one another is the sheer diversity of the world. How do we compare the economies of very large countries to very small countries? Is there a way to talk about the comparative political stability of a country? How do we measure progress in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals when a day in the life in one [...]

2603, 2018

Brazil in 2018: Event Recap

March 26th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: |

Last Wednesday evening, March 21, the IRC held an event on Brazil in 2018 from cultural, economic, and political perspectives. The event included four speakers: Drs. Chris Anderson and Luciano Tosta from the University of Kansas and Drs. Mona Lyne and Monica Mingucci from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. We started the night discussing the Brazil's current circumstances. It has the eighth largest GDP in the world [...]

1903, 2018

Bollywood Fusion Dance

March 19th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

My freshman year at the University of Kansas was when my eyes were opened to a completely different culture. As I was searching for organizations to become a part of on campus, I attended a Bollywood fusion dance workshop. After attending the workshop, I decided to try out and join the Bollywood fusion dance team on campus, KU Jeeva. The teams in the competitive dance circuit fused multiple dance [...]

1203, 2018

Runner’s High

March 12th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

I wake up early in the morning before the sun has risen or the shops below open. I lace my shoes and leave the door of my apartment behind me, descending down the stairs and through the main entrance of my building. I turn up my street and make my way to the top of the hill. I find my breath with each step as I make my way [...]

503, 2018

Global Experience in Review

March 5th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , |

On Monday, February 26, the International Relations Council hosted its second Global Experience discussion event. A group of community members gathered at Port Fonda restaurant in Westport to discuss the international implications of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Discussion questions included: Do the Olympics have any beneficial impact on world peace? Should performance enhancing drugs be permitted in the Olympics? Should the Olympics focus more on [...]

2602, 2018

It’s a Small World After All…

February 26th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

For six weeks over the summer of 2017 I was given the opportunity to study the French language in Paris, France. The first two weeks were spent on a tour of Northern France, from Strasbourg to Ěätretat, and through the chateaus of the Loire Valley before landing in Paris for the last four weeks. The tour featured some of the highlights of French tourism, including memorials and battle sites [...]

1902, 2018

The Reviled Refugees of Manus

February 19th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

Last week, UN officials once again called upon the Australian government to address the situation regarding refugees on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) and to "live up to its responsibilities." More than 700 refugees remain in offshore processing facilities where health, security, and human rights are frequently put in jeopardy. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments to [...]

1202, 2018

Kashmir: A Land Divided and Torn

February 12th, 2018|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Since its creation in 1947, Kashmir has been a land divided and torn. The mountainous region east of Pakistan and north of the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab is home to a diverse group of people. Kashmiris include Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, and the land is claimed by Pakistan, India, and China. Over the years, tens of thousands of lives have been lost in wars, skirmishes, [...]

502, 2018

Diversity: An International Student’s Perspective

February 5th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized, World Citizen Blog|Tags: |

My name is Antoine Precheur. I am a French student athlete who arrived in the United States two years ago. The first thing that struck me when I arrived here is the diversity on campus and on my soccer team. On campus, I realized that there were people from everywhere in the world. While most of the international students were from India, many came from the Middle East, Asia, [...]

2810, 2017

Adventures in a Moroccan Medina

October 28th, 2017|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , |

While studying abroad for a semester in France, I had the opportunity to visit approximately a dozen countries. The most culturally enriching experience was the four days I spent staying in the heart of the Medina in Casablanca, Morocco. Admittedly, I picked Casablanca because it was the cheapest flight and because I love the film named after it. Although many friends told me I should have booked a trip [...]

210, 2017

Crisis in Venezuela

October 2nd, 2017|Categories: World Citizen Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Venezuela has been in the news for many months for a number of different issues. Political strife and deep economic issues have plagued the country for some time. This political tension has caused many anti-government protests that have resulted in the death of dozens of people. These issues have also resulted in many starving citizens. Let's take a look at some of the problems and what is causing them. [...]

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