Why it is important to be educated to be a Global citizen!
A global citizen is somehow a person who identifies with an emerging world community and who share this community’s values. Historically, human beings have always formed communities based on shared identity. Such identity gets forged in response to a variety of human needs— economic, political, religious and social. As group identities grow stronger, those who hold them organize into communities, articulate their shared values, and build governance structures to support their beliefs.
Today, the forces of global engagement are helping some people identify as global citizens who have a sense of belonging to a world community.
This growing global identity in large part is made possible by the forces of modern information, communications and transportation technologies. In increasing ways these technologies are strengthening our ability to connect to the rest of the world—through the Internet; through participation in the global economy; through the ways in which world-wide environmental factors play havoc with our lives; through the empathy we feel when we see pictures of humanitarian disasters in other countries; or through the ease with which we can travel and visit other parts of the world.
Embrace the idea or ignore it, we are all global citizens. While this citizenship is a birthright, we do have the choice of being contributing global citizens who revel in diversity and seek solutions to the challenges facing our planet or being passive ones who allow others to provide the answers for us.
According to a report recently released by the Institute of International Education, the nation’s leading non-profit educational and cultural exchange organization, more international students studied in the United States during the last academic year than ever before, a trend driven by students from China and Saudi Arabia flocking to American Universities. Conversely, more Americans are studying abroad, primarily in the U.K. and Europe, but with a growing number visiting developing nations.
Now, more than ever, this global generation needs to possess and use the skills necessary to be the environmental stewards of the planet and the international peacekeepers. So, exactly what does it take to be a contributing “global citizen?”
If one is open to it, possessing a passport, traveling to other countries and learning about other cultures and norms do create an awareness, but this plays only a small role in global citizenship. A true global citizen possesses a wide view of the world and the part he or she plays in it. Global citizenship is a way of living that is entrepreneurial and tech-savvy, involves taking risks and encourages critical thinking and connecting the dots. Students in an increasingly global society glean information from all their learning experiences, and analyze and synthesize it when dealing with shared societal issues, be they environmental, financial, social, educational, or political.
This global generation is very different from their 20th-century counterparts. Students need critical thinking skills, a level of self-awareness and confidence that will empower them to take on unfamiliar challenges. They need to be able to work on teams of diverse individuals, opinions and experiences. As they will most assuredly be faced with some of the world’s greatest challenges, they will need to ensure there are sustainable supplies of food, water, and energy; address the needs of more than seven billion people living on a planet with ever-dwindling natural resources. Whatever the challenge, they will need to innovate, work collaboratively and creatively, across borders and disciplines, and with ethics.
Global citizenship sees beyond the world’s political borders and ideally starts at an early age. By encouraging our children to share their opinions and explore their own values, while respecting the values and opinions of others, we are creating a foundation for a contributing global citizen that lasts a lifetime. We are also helping to secure our planet for future generations by preparing our current one to take on the challenges that will undoubtedly lie ahead.
Global citizenship is the umbrella term for social, political, environmental, and economic actions of globally minded individuals and communities on a worldwide scale. The term can refer to the belief that individuals are members of multiple, diverse, local and non-local networks rather than single actors affecting isolated societies. Promoting global citizenship in sustainable development will allow individuals to embrace their social responsibility to act for the benefit of all societies, not just their own.
The concept of global citizenship is embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals though SDG 4: Insuring Inclusive and Quality Education for All and Promote Life Long Learning, which includes global citizenship as one of its targets. By 2030, the international community has agreed to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including global citizenship.
Universities have a responsibility to promote global citizenship by teaching their students that they are members of a large global community and can use their skills and education to contribute to that community.