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 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 member or friend of the International Relations Council, the group meets in different informal settings around town, like a happy hour on the Plaza, or on Zoom for a guided conversation about a topic and articles that we’ll ask you to review 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.

As part of the IRC’s News & Views Discussion Group, we recently hosted an AWQ mini-series, designed to bring local high school students and their teachers into the international conversation. For each edition, based around seven of the categories included in the 2021 Academic WorldQuest trivia competition, an expert discussion leader lead all participants – students, IRC members, and members of the public, to study and think critically about each international topic. Click the image to the right to learn more.

Next Conversation

April 2, 2021 – Conflict in East Africa

Facilitator: Steven Youngblood, founding director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University in Parkville, Missouri

Previous Topics

November 12, 2020 – Belarus

Facilitator: Shari Wilson, President and CEO of Project Central

October 8, 2020 – US Global Military Presence

Facilitator: Mark Wilcox, Associate Professor and LTG William Eldridge Odom Chair for Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

October 1, 2020 – Comparative Healthcare Systems

Facilitator: Kirk Doan, Stinson

September 10, 2020 – Journalist Safety

Facilitator: Steven Youngblood, professor and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University

August 20, 2020 – The United Nations

Facilitator: Jay Sjerven, Senior Editor at Sosland Publishing

August 13, 2020 – International Pharmaceutical Market

Facilitator: Kirk Doan, Partner at Stinson Law Firm

August 6, 2020 – Ukraine

Facilitator: Gregory Cook, Assistant Professor in the Department of Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Operations at U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

July 23, 2020 – Global Energy Demand

Facilitator: Jeff Spivak, Applied Intelligence Director at Black & Veatch

July 9, 2020 – Political Movements

Facilitator: Letitia Harmon, JCCC Professor

June 18, 2020 – Globalization of Art

Facilitator: Consuelo Cruz, Marketing and Community Relations Professional

June 4, 2020 – Russia

Facilitator: Alan Holiman, Professor of Political Science at William Jewell College

May 28, 2020 – Yemen

Facilitator: Dr. Michael Makara, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics and International Relations, University of Central Missouri

May 21, 2020 – Secession Movements

Facilitator: Dr. Emir Yazici, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri

May 14, 2020 – The Widening Social & Wealth Gap

Facilitator: IRC member Ella Rose

April 30, 2020 – Travel & Tourism

Facilitator: Jason Fulvi, President & CEO of Visit KC

April 23, 2020 – Local Journalism During a Global Pandemic

Facilitator: Stephen Steigman, Chief of Broadcast Operations, KCUR 89.3 Kansas City Public Media

April 16, 2020 – Covid-19 in the Media

Facilitator: 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 and peace studies professor. He has organized and taught peace journalism seminars and workshops in 27 countries/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 edits “The Peace Journalist” magazine, and writes and produces the “Peace Journalism Insights” blog.Youngblood has been recognized for his contributions to world peace by the U.S. State Department, Rotary International, and the World Forum for Peace, which will award him the Luxembourg Peace Prize in May, 2020.

April 9, 2020 – Pandemic Complexities for Refugees

Facilitator: Letitia Harmon is a political science and anthropology adjunct at JCCC. She has previously worked as an International Human Rights consultant in the US, India, Nepal, Kenya, and Kuwait. She has a master’s in International Relations from the University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies.

April 2, 2020 – Global Economy

Facilitator: Randall Moore served as Executive Editory of Blue Chip Economic Indicators from 1986 to 2019, a nationally-known economic forecasting newsletter. Prior to that he worked in Washington DC at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Department o Labor’s Beureau of Labor Statistics, and Evan’s Economics.

March 26, 2020 – Oil

Facilitator: Kirk Doan

February 20, 2020 – Coronavirus: International Implications of a Viral Outbreak

Facilitator: Kirk Doan is an expert in health law at Stinson LLP.

January 23, 2020 – Global Impact of Aging Populations

Facilitator: Melissa Miller is the senior manager of the World Trade Center–Kansas City.

November 13, 2019 – Current Events in Mexico

Facilitator: Mary Sanchez is a seasoned and syndicated journalist.

September 19, 2019 – GDP as a Measure of Well-Being

Location: Songbird Cafe

Facilitator: Dr. Tom Patterson is the director of international education at Johnson County Community College

August 29, 2019 – Ebola and Public Health

Location: Char Bar

Facilitator: 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

Location: Calibration Brewery (North Kansas City, MO)

Facilitator: 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.