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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 and the Kansas City Sister Cities Association. 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!

April Diaz, Program Coordinator

While April has served with a wide variety of nonprofits, she has a particular passion for international issues and opportunities to promote intercultural understanding. Her academic focus was largely on international development, human rights, and peace studies. Her experience in these fields include working with Peace Action, mentoring refugee families, and coordinating programming at a refugee center. April has Master’s degrees in both Macro Social Work and African Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. Additionally, she holds certificates in Nonprofit Management, Fundraising Management, Nonprofit Board Education, and Mediation. Outside of work, she is passionate about reading and learning, foster parenting, and playing more musical instruments than her brain really has the capacity to handle.

Spring 2018 Interns

Christopher Burford, Digital Resources Intern

Christopher Burford is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and a Multicultural Certificate. While in school he was a volunteer coach for the nonprofit Girls on the Run and interned at the Missouri State Capitol working under Secretary of Treasury Clint Zweifel. He also worked for MU, helping compost food from the dining halls in an attempt to make campus more environmentally friendly. Upon graduating, Christopher worked as an intern at the Sprint headquarters. In his free time he enjoys writing, reading, drawing, and being outside.

Ellis Gilham, Community Intern

Ellis Gilham is currently a freshman at Metropolitan Community College. After graduating in spring 2018, he plans on majoring in International Relations, minoring in Journalism, and gaining language certificates in Hindi and Arabic at a four-year university. Ellis is currently the treasurer of a support group for people of diverse backgrounds, Dreamers Club, at MCC. Since beginning his work with Dreamers Cub, Ellis has helped coordinate panels for the student body. His interest in International Relations started in high school while living in India as a foreign-exchange student. In India, he discovered that his passion is with the people of the world and trying to make it a better place. In his spare time, Ellis enjoys playing an array of musical instruments and occasionally recording.



Antoine Precheur, Programs Intern

Antoine Precheur is a student-athlete at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Currently a sophomore, he plans on majoring in Finance and minoring in Entrepreneurship. Antoine started working as a waiter in a restaurant in Paris. He is now organizing events at his university. In the future, he wants to reach the professional level in soccer or to be an international manager. Bilingual and having left France for the U.S. when he was 18, Antoine has experienced very diverse environments through the different teams he has played on. Antoine likes to travel around the world to learn about different cultures and to visit his family.



Bryce Slaughter, Global Education Intern

Bryce Slaughter is an MAEd candidate with certification in Instructional Design and Technology at Avila University. He earned his BA from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Spanish and International Studies (emphasis in European Studies) with a Multicultural Certificate. He spent part of his undergraduate studies in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Following the completion of his time at Mizzou, he moved to Canada to spend time with family while he worked and “attempted” to learn French. A globe trotter at heart, he currently is specializing in International Advocacy and Leadership at Avila University and plans to continue to obtain his doctorate upon completion of his degree. When not working, he is an avid runner and yogi and hopes to complete a sub 1:45:00 half-marathon time this spring.



Shane Smith, Membership Intern

Shane Smith is a senior at the University of Kansas, majoring in Global and International Studies, with an emphasis in Latin American Studies. He is currently working on his capstone research project, studying the impact of non-discrimination law on violence in Latin America. He is a co-director for Camp Kesem at KU, a student-driven nonprofit organization that provides a free weeklong summer camp to children impacted by a parent’s cancer. After working in the nonprofit sector, he would like to continue his education and pursue a law degree. Previously a Bollywood fusion dance team captain, Shane enjoys dancing and exploring other cultures. In addition to dance, he loves to stay active by lifting, running, and rock climbing.

Maya Van Nuys, Events Intern

Maya Van Nuys is a junior at the University of Kansas with majors in Global and International Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies with minors in French and Economics. Maya is passionate about international studies, and this passion has led her to work with international students on campus as the student ambassador to the KU Applied English Center. She is the president of Jayhawks Without Borders, an international studies club, and serves as an executive board member for three other campus organizations. She was awarded the prestigious KU Global Scholars award, which allowed her to spend six weeks studying French at the École l'Étoile in Paris in summer 2017. Outside of school Maya teaches violin and fiddle lessons at the Americana Music Academy in Lawrence, Kansas. She loves to share music with children and adults of all ages and is an avid Beatles fan.

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