Matthew Hughes
Matthew HughesExecutive Director

Matthew Hughes joined the International Relations Council (IRC) as executive director in July 2016. As one of more than 90 World Affairs Councils around the U.S., the IRC strengthens Kansas City’s global perspective by maintaining an active dialogue around world events, global issues, and their impact on the local community. During Matthew’s tenure, with the generous support of countless community stakeholders, the IRC has seen an expansion of organizational capacity and inclusive public programming, a notable broadening of membership and collaborative partners, and the diversification of funding sources and opportunities to engage.

Matthew’s professional experience bridges the education and nonprofit sectors. He has designed and delivered learning opportunities for students and colleagues ranging from age 4 through working professionals, including for six years as a K-12 teacher. Moving into the nonprofit sector, Matthew supported the development of international and intercultural understanding in schools and communities around the world from People to People International’s world headquarters in Kansas City. He has served as board member and committee chair for a variety of organizations, including the World Affairs Councils of America, the Sister Cities Association of Kansas City, and the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City. He regularly serves as a moderator for public events and panel discussions and as a presenter on global awareness and matters concerning membership organizations.

Fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese, Matthew relishes the chance to explore the world – six of seven continents and all 50 U.S. states so far – and has experience living internationally, including in South America and on the U.S.-Mexico border.

A Certified Association Executive and recognized by Association Forum as a Forty Under 40 recipient, Matthew 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, where his thesis explored 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.