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Matthew Hughes, Executive Director

Matthew Hughes has been executive director of the International Relations Council since July 2016.

Hughes’ professional experience bridges the education and nonprofit sectors. A K-12 teacher for six years and fluent in Spanish, Hughes has worked with students ranging from age 4 through adult learners. He has developed curricula for schools and nonprofits, is a dynamic trainer and presenter, and has served on the board of several organizations, including the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City. Matthew relishes the chance to travel and has experience living internationally, including in South America and on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Prior to the IRC, Hughes managed Global Education Programs for People to People International. In this role, he developed a Global Student Fair – attended in its first year by more than 600 elementary students, 350 high-schoolers, and 70 local organizations – to show students just how global Kansas City is. He admires the initiatives, diversity, and enthusiasm of the many international organizations and communities in Kansas City and values opportunities for collaboration.

Hughes 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. His thesis discusses “Opportunities for Global-Competence Education in Secondary Extracurricular Programs.” He recently completed a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management & Innovation from the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

Please do reach out with your questions, feedback, or ideas!

Fall 2017 Interns

Sami Gul, Membership Intern

Sami Gul is a junior at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, double majoring in Political Science and Math & Statistics. He is currently president of the Intercultural Dialogue Student Association at UMKC. He is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society. Sami won a SEARCH grant to complete his study, "How the Old Set the Future for the Young: Age, Education, and Brexit Support"; he presented his poster at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference in Chicago. He plans to complete a Ph.D. in Political Science after he finishes his undergraduate career. He wants to focus on Comparative Politics and European Studies. Sami likes translating readings both English to Turkish and Turkish to English as a hobby.

Kellsie Herrmann, Events Intern

Kellsie Herrmann is a junior at William Jewell College, studying International Relations, Political Science, and French with a minor in Economics. She recently completed a summer program in Washington, D.C., where she interned with a nonprofit and experienced life in the nation’s capital. Kellsie serves on her campus as Panhellenic president as well as co-president of the environmental group, SUSTAIN. She is passionate about the outdoors and recently participated in the Outward Bound program where she spent two weeks in the Florida Everglades. In her free time, Kellsie loves to watch movies of all genres and plan her backpacking trip through Europe. She believes in the mission of the International Relations Council and looks forward to being a part of it.




Sally Jiang, Programs Intern

Sally Jiang is a junior honors student at University of Kansas, studying Chinese and International Studies. She is interning at the IRC with the hopes of spreading her own joy for cross-cultural understanding and education, and expects to do similar work in the future. She just returned from a rural development internship for Stanford's Rural Education Action Program. In the spring, she helped plan KU's second annual Asian Leadership Summit. When free, Sally enjoys playing ultimate frisbee for KU and exploring new places around town.


Ayesha Mahomed, Global Education Intern

Ayesha Mahomed is a senior at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, pursuing a degree in Elementary Education with minors in History and French. Upon graduation, Ayesha plans to teach English abroad in order to gain a deeper understanding of multicultural perspectives in issues pertaining to global education. She wants to be able to apply this knowledge to low-income urban school districts in the U.S. At UMKC, Ayesha has been an active member of service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and has completed more than hours of community service. Ayesha is also a member of Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society. Ayesha is passionate about making a difference in the global community and looks forward to incorporating this passion into her work at the International Relations Council this fall.

MJ Murphy, Digital Resources Intern

MJ Murphy is a junior at the University of Central Missouri, majoring in International Studies and Criminal Justice. Her minors include Middle Eastern Studies, World Languages, and Political Science. In 2016, MJ received a High Impact Learning Grant that enabled her to spend two weeks in Jordan and Israel. Upon returning, she challenged common stereotypes of the region through a presentation at UCM. Earlier this year, MJ completed a semester abroad in Israel, studying Peace & Conflict and Arabic. After graduating, she would like to pursue her M.A. in Security Studies. MJ is originally from Atlanta and loves to watch the Braves whenever she visits home.

Jessie Roach, Programs Intern

Originally from Kansas City, Kansas, Jessie is a senior at the University of Kansas, majoring in Political Science and Global and International Studies. She is also minoring in Middle East Studies as well as French, and recently spent a semester studying abroad in Angers, France. After graduating next spring, she hopes to work with an organization geared toward development projects overseas. In addition to traveling, Jessie is an avid lover of music and in her free time enjoys going to concerts as well as giving guitar and piano lessons to children in her community.


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