Welcome to Kansas City: More than a Flyover Stop

Over 80 international exchange professionals and Department of State officers from around the country descended on Kansas City for the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit. These leaders include our counterparts from other Community Based Network organizations, National Program Agencies, and the US Department of State. The event provided a unique opportunity to show off what makes Kansas City great.  

On Wednesday, September 20th, the conference kicked off with a resource tour of Kansas City. Our guests first met with the Kansas City Area Development Council; to discuss the industries and economy of Kansas City and learn more about what makes Kansas City a great place to live and work. Then, they were transported to 2000 Vine, Kansas City’s first Waterworks building turned event space, to meet with Tim Duggan, an urban planner and green architect who gave our visitors a history of Kansas City and discussed how the city is embracing green architecture. Rolling right into it, in showing our guests some Kansas City hospitality, we thought it was only appropriate to feed them a Kansas City barbecue buffet complete with burnt ends, pulled pork, and turkey from Joes KC, ribs, fire-kissed chicken wings, cheesy corn and beans from Jack Stack, and even vegan brisket and Mac and Cheese from Mattie’s Foods. Guests soaked in the beautiful Kansas City evening while listening to Kansas City-based band “Timbers” unique Americana sound. It was the perfect introduction to Kansas City for our out-of-town guests! 

Of course, no introduction to Kansas City would be complete without jazz music—an experience our colleagues from the Global Ties network were able to engage in on Thursday—with a trip to the American Jazz Museum. The Global Ties network learned about the storied history of Jazz in Kansas City, hearing anecdotes of jazz legends such as Charlie Parker and Count Bassie creating the distinct Kansas City sound. Our network learned about Kansas City’s status as the only UNESCO recognized City of Music in the United States and had the opportunity to listen to live music at the museum’s Third Thursday’s concert series. 

This was many of our colleagues’ first introduction to Kansas City’s unique economic landscape. While many living outside of the Midwest incorrectly assume that Kansas City is a small city with a primarily agricultural economy, we had the opportunity to present the real Kansas City. We are a city of 2.3 million people engaging in industries all over the economic spectrum. In fact, while most cities specialize in a few particular industries, our city has robust economic development across many industries, including animal health, transportation, and engineering, promoting a well-balanced and diversified economy. 


To read more about the Diplomacy Begins Here Summit, click here

To read about the Learning Lab, click here