Global Conversations that Matter
The IRC offers a range of programs to grow your global perspective and introduce you to international connections within and beyond our Kansas City community. We warmly welcome your involvement and look forward to connecting you with the world.
To strengthen Kansas City’s global perspective.
Join the conversation around world events, global issues, and their impact on our community.
Connecting Our Community
For more than 65 years, the IRC has been where Kansas City considers international affairs and meets community members with a deep interest in the world. Get to know our network of professionals, students, educators, retirees, and global enthusiasts.
Strengthening Global Awareness
From expert speakers and panels to discussion groups and chances to explore the world from home, the IRC grows a global perspective in our community. No matter your background or interest, there are endless ways for you to join the conversation.
Maintaining an Active Dialogue
We center crucial skills like empathy, media literacy, and active listening to bridge differences of opinion and promote informed civil discourse around world events, global issues, and their impact on our community.
Welcoming Diverse Perspectives
Our understanding of the world, our community, and ourselves is richer when a spectrum of voices are at the table. Join us with your unique experience set and point of view, and let’s explore the world together.
Our National Network
The International Relations Council is a part of a national network known as the World Affairs Councils of America, with 93 chapters across the United States of America. Through other chapters in our council network, IRC members have access to travel and educational opportunities. Do feel free to explore the WACA website to learn more about the organization and the councils across the country which make up its membership!
Explore the World
- Global Experience Series: Participants of all ages, interests, and backgrounds explore how international Kansas City is while answering two questions: What’s your global story? Do you get the chance to share it?
- Lexicon: Bite-Size Language Intros: Each week, participants are introduced to the history, context, and basics of one of the world’s 6500 languages.
- International Career Series: Each week, an IRC member shares their work in an international field, offering insight into the educational background, career paths, and intricacies of the field.
- IRC Speakers Bureau: International subject-matter experts are available to speak free of charge at community events, K-12 schools, and universities.
- Academic WorldQuest: Each year since 2006, the IRC has offered high-school students the chance to showcase their knowledge of world affairs, geography, history, and world events; the winning team receives an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national tournament.
- Eliot S. Berkley Award: Each year, in memory of our founder and longtime executive director, Eliot S. Berkley, the International Relations Council presents this award to an exceptional high-school junior or senior who has demonstrated superior academic interest and competence in international studies. The award includes a $500 scholarship.
- Your Global Future: This unique college and career fair brings together dozens of international businesses, organizations, and colleges and universities to show hundreds of area high-school students just how global their future can be.
IRC Signature Programs
- Berkley Lecture: Founded in 1996, this lecture brings an expert in foreign policy and global affairs to the Kansas City area to provide a platform for engaging community members in understanding critical global issues.
- WorldQuest: We host a global trivia night for 200+ business professionals, academic faculty, students, and community members.
- Global Honors Evening: For more than 30 years, the IRC has recognized individuals or organizations for a variety of contributions – to foreign policy and global affairs, to international commerce, or to the Kansas City community.
Expert Speakers and Discussion Groups
- IRC Lecture Series: We bring together dignitaries, foreign-policy experts, and regional leaders to discuss, debate, and engage the local community in issues of international scope and local relevance.
- Great Decisions: Groups meet around the metro area and online for conversations on critical international topics.
- Global Affairs Book Club, A Novel Experience, and International Film Club: Participants read a book or screen an international film in advance of a facilitated conversation that explores international issues and connects the community.
- News & Views: We host community conversations on the latest international news in a respectful, informal setting, both in-person and online.