President & CEO
Matthew Hughes joined the national office of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) in Washington, D.C., as president and chief executive officer in January 2023. He previously served as executive director of the International Relations Council in Kansas City, one of more than 90 World Affairs Councils working to strengthen the global perspective of communities around the U.S., and as a member of WACA’s national board of directors.
Matthew’s professional experience bridges the education and nonprofit sectors. He has designed and delivered learning opportunities for students and colleagues ranging from age 4 through working professionals, including for six years as a K-12 teacher. Moving into the nonprofit sector, Matthew supported the development of international and intercultural understanding in schools and communities around the world from People to People International’s world headquarters in Kansas City. He regularly serves as a moderator for public events and panel discussions and as a presenter on global awareness and matters concerning membership organizations.
A Certified Association Executive and recognized by Association Forum as a Forty Under 40 recipient, Matthew 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, where his thesis explored opportunities for global-competence education in secondary extracurricular programs. He has also completed a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management & Innovation from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese, Matthew relishes the chance to explore the world – six of seven continents and all 50 U.S. states so far – and has experience living internationally, including in South America and on the U.S.-Mexico border.