We live in a “global” world now. Corporate globalization is prevalent nearly everywhere. Travel is more common than ever before. We get news in our homes about any place in the world seconds after it happens. The internet allows us to connect with people all over the world. It allows us to stay in touch with people as we move all over the world as well. We even have an international language! English is spoken (by at least some portions of the population) nearly everywhere you go. Everyone has the potential of being a Global Citizen if they wish to but it takes courage, commitment, and a sense of humour to become one. Global citizenship might sound like a vague concept for academics but in fact it’s a very practical way of looking at the world which anyone, if given the opportunity, can relate to. In the context of globalization, thinking and acting as a global citizen is immensely important and can bring real benefits.
To have a full insight of what it means to be a “global citizen”, one needs to understand what it means to be a citizen. A citizen is a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection (distinguished from alien). It also refers to a person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state or nation. According to some accounts, citizenship is motivated by local interests (love of family, communal fairness, self-interest), global interests (a sense of universal equality), and concern for fellow human beings, human rights and human dignity. The key tenets of global citizenship include respect for any and all fellow global citizens, regardless of race, religion or creed and give rise to a universal sympathy beyond the barriers of nationality.
At Oxfam Education, Global Citizenship is believed to be more than the sum of its parts. It goes beyond simply knowing that we are citizens of the globe to an acknowledgement of our responsibilities both to each other and to the Earth itself. Global Citizenship is about understanding the need to tackle injustice and inequality, and having the desire and ability to work actively to do so. It is about valuing the Earth as precious and unique, and safeguarding the future for those coming after us. “
Global citizenship can be defined as a moral and ethical disposition which can guide the understanding of individuals or groups of local and global contexts, and remind them of their relative responsibilities within various communities (Barack Obama , 2008). Global Citizenship is a way of thinking and behaving. It is an outlook on life, a belief that we can make a difference. When translated into participatory action, global citizenship entails a responsibility to reduce international inequality (both social and economic), to refrain from action which compromises an individuals’ well-being, and avoids contributing to environmental degradation. A typical example of a Global Citizen is someone who: is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen; respects and values diversity; has an understanding of how the world works economically, politically, socially, culturally, technologically and environmentally; is outraged by social injustice; participates in and contributes to the community at a range of levels from local to global; is willing to act to make the world a more sustainable place; takes responsibility for his/her actions.
To create a world of Global Citizens, education must be a priority. Though not as an additional subject but as an ethos that can be promoted in class through teaching the existing curriculum in a way that highlights aspects such as social justice, the appreciation of diversity and the importance of sustainable development. In the wider school setting, Global Citizenship can be reflected in the way you relate to those around you. As Global Citizens it is of utmost importance to know that we were born in this world and not aliens, and we also owe our allegiance to the “government” which we are citizens of. We must also protect our country — the world — when called on to do this. If our homeplace is attacked, with bombs or soldiers or internal rioting and terrorism, we are required to stand up and defend it. As citizens of the world, we must stand up, truly, to the attack on our home that is occurring on a daily basis. We must stand up to the environmental degradation that is tearing apart our land and depleting our water. If we are citizens of the world, it is imperative that we stand up and protect our country if it is being threatened.
The only way to truly achieve a lasting change is to further develop a globally connected mindset and engage those around to foster fair, equal and sustained partnerships with one another in this world. For this reason I, as a Global Citizen, will strive to reach a deeper understanding of issues relevant to global poverty; and act with compassion, serving as an advocate and activist for positive change in the world. I also pledge to the following: I will seek innovative means to address global issues such as poverty e.t.c I will take it upon myself to think critically about the social and environmental consequences of my actions as it might have either positive or negative impact on otherparts of the world as well as future generations.
I will make purchases carefully, taking into account the social and environmental factors of the creation and transport of all consumer goods and also minimize the waste I produce so as make a positive impact on the environment. I will build awareness about issues of social and environmental justice in any and all communities that I am a part of. In whatever field I find myself employed, I will do everything I can to ensure that it adheres to the utmost standards of social and environmental consideration. I understand that the only way to truly achieve lasting change is to further develop a globally connected mindset and engage those around me to foster fair, equal and sustained partnerships with others in this world.