One thing we can all agree to is that we live in an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world. As a result of this, all we see around us are young people starting to identify more as global citizens. Think about it for a moment, from the time your day begins to the time the sun sets, you may have interacted with several international brands already. Just analyzing from your clothing, the labels could already represent two continents or more. It could be in the food you eat every day especially the imported spices used to create that unique flavor, or even the citizenship of the people you interact with on a daily basis. It could be just through the internet whereby at the touch of a button you literally have access to the world. So really, what does it mean to be a global citizen?
There is an upcoming term that you may have heard of in ad campaigns, a company’s mission statement or when making an international scholarship application. Although we do not have a definitive definition of what global citizenship entails, there are common elements that qualify one to be a global citizen. Kathy Short, a professor in the University of Arizona’s said, “Global citizenship is a stance or perspective that we bring to our interactions across cultures. That stance is first and foremost a stance of open-mindedness and stands in contrast to narrow, self-absorbed judgments that are based in unexamined and biased assumptions about others.”
Unlike a normal citizen, a global citizen may participate in international debates on social media, cross-country forums on international policies or even sign petitions towards a given course in a different country.
When talking about a global citizen, it’s important to understand what is a global community? It refers to the connections you encounter in your individual life, the local space and the larger world. Therefore, to be a global citizen you have to be aware of your global community. Be wary of how the world works and respect different cultural and values diversity. This could be simply appreciating the diversity of different religions and sexual orientations. A global citizen, after being aware of their surroundings, takes up an active role in taking responsibility especially of their actions on both the global and local platform. It could be joining a social enterprise or conducting networking on an international scale. It’s learning to speak against social injustices and taking relevant action to make the world more sustainable and equitable. Unlike a normal citizen, a global citizen may participate in international debates on social media, cross-country forums on international policies or even sign petitions towards a given course in a different country.
In conclusion, I could say that global citizens care enough and hold themselves accountable to ensure that human rights are protected and upheld around you and all over the world.
Having this in mind, are you ready to take up that torch of global citizenship?
Assistant Programs Officer-ELF.