Category Archives: Assignment 2

A. Nicot – Assignment 2: Global Citizenship

At it’s base, the term global citizen can have two possible interpretations. The first is literal: a global citizenship would consist of being a citizen of a global state, wherein the citizen has all the privileges and responsibilities of being a citizen of the world state, and presumably this would incorporate every human soul, or at least a substantial portion of this totality.

The second interpretation is figurative: the individual concerned would not be a “citizen of the globe” but a citizen (of his state) with a global mindset, concerned about global affairs and willing to work on them with other similarly-minded individuals from across the world. Barring the existence of a global state, this second interpretation is likely the intended one when employing the term “global citizen,” unless of course you literally advocate a global state.

But such people are few in number.

Medieval universities trained elites at all levels of society – from parish priests to kings and Popes.

So now that a workable definition of global citizenship has been acquired, let’s look at what makes an individual a global citizen. Let’s start by looking at the people who can be global citizens, namely elites. Only those who are in positions of influence and power, whether in their government, their religion, or their company, can affect the outcome of events and decide on the course of action globally. This is what elites do, because they are in charge of institutions with global presence. This is the reason why the term “global citizen” is so prevalent at modern universities, especially in what is called “the West,” because universities are supposed to be formational centers for elites.

A problem does emerge in our earlier definition. Global citizenship is a neologism, whereas the concept of thinking on a global scale is quite self-evidently not, and the two ideas are not synonymous. Elites aren’t always “global citizens” but almost always think globally (as well as locally, obviously). Where does the difference then lie, and how can we change our definition?

A global citizen is a person, who thinks about issues on a global scale, and who conceives of himself as part of something other than his local (national, religious, corporate) structure – he sees himself as part of a global structure.

This new definition illustrates what a global citizen is. There is a prerequisite acceptance of cosmopolitanism and globalism that goes along with being a global citizen. If you think of yourself as human before you think of yourself as a member of a traditionally defined identity group, and you are an elite, then you are a global citizen. Those who meet the first criterion but not the second are only internationalists or globalists, but don’t have the luxury of pretending they are part of such a structure as elites have. Is there an “ideal” type of global citizen? That would imply it is a positive notion.

Indeed, the notion of global citizenship among the elite has become a sort of ideological preoccupation, and they often

Multiple flags born out of historical evolution express Europe so much better than a single flag constructed by a design team.

put dogma before necessity and reason – the E.U. bureaucratic technocracy is an excellent example of this – throwing national economies, national cultures, national ethnicities, and national identities under the bus with the goal of European integration: first economically, then politically. This is a self-avowedly globalist move. Those who identify more as “Europeans,” an imaginary identity if there ever was one, essentially put the interests of others above those of their own people. It is even worse if it is a national leader, who is there specifically to put his own people’s interests first.

By saying this, I say that the concept of considering oneself a “global citizen” is inherently traitorous, but is particular to elites in society. People like you and me. We might not all be called to be U.N. Secretary General, but we are, in all likelihood, going to end up in leadership positions in some field or other, and as a result, will wield influence.

I would not describe myself as a global citizen, though I have the ideal profile for one. I was born in England, have lived in the Czech Republic, Russia, France, Kenya, and now the United States; I have interacted with a variety of cultures in my twenty years of life, communicated with all manners of ideas; I speak four languages. I would be a model global citizen if I didn’t feel more emotion and pride in my country than I do for humanity as a whole or for any particular set of humanist values.

I think on a global level, but I’m not a global citizen. I understand there are power relations between groups, and these groups compete – some groups win and others are consigned to the “vanquished peoples” category. I don’t intend to let my nation be one of the losers.

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Understanding Some Theoretical Perspectives

When I think of the term “global citizen,” I envision someone most likely foreign who has all sorts of worldly experiences. Experiencing the world gives a person first hand knowledge on many of the issues and conflicts faced by many different groups around the globe. One quality a global citizen should have is an unbiased view on all sorts of issues presented to them. They take into consideration humanity and the world as a whole rather than their immediate surroundings. It’s also the perception and understanding that everything is connected. Lastly, for the reasons above, a global citizen also believes that everyone should be given an equal opportunity at life.

What does that even mean? To be given an opportunity at “life.” It’s a bit of a vague statement repeated frequently when concerning the beliefs of a global citizen. A lot of it is connected to the issue of human rights. A chance at life means a chance to acquire an education, to not be stuck in poverty, to possibly make a difference in the world. A global citizen works to make this a possible reality that some others might believe to be impossible.

Something that all self-proclaimed global citizens need to have knowledge on is some of sociology’s theoretical perspectives. Whether or not they realize that these are widespread viewpoints among sociologists, knowledge concerning these is vital to any global citizen.

The first theoretical perspective is functionalism, or the belief that everything is interconnected in many than just a few ways. Every action or belief presented by someone has widespread effects throughout society, as well as the world. For example, building a factory but improve efficiency for one society, but pollute food and water sources for another. The understanding that actions can be more widespread than just their immediate side effects is crucial. Also actions that seemed positive at first can actually hurt societies more than they help. This is vital when examining charity; sometimes giving can hurt populations as shown in the book “Toxic Charity” from my SOC111 class.

Another theoretical perspective to take into account is conflict theory. Thought up by Karl Marx, it examines the division of power throughout societies. More importantly it studies the relationship between the “powerful” and the “powerless.” This is central to societies stricken by poverty that have a large gap between the rich and the poor
Lastly, and possibly most importantly is symbolic interactionism. This studies the interactions between people, groups, and even entire nations. This is important in examining how different groups come together globally, but is also vital on a more personal level. Being a global citizen isn’t done easily; it takes a lot of effort want to make such a difference in the world. “It commands optimism in the face of certain knowledge that earth is vulnerable – environmentally, politically, and socially” (University of British Columbia). Viewing and analyzing how different groups interact, but taking that next step and actually interacting with the world around you, as a global citizen, is quite challenging..

That being said I feel that though I may not be very high on the global citizenship scale, I have much growth potential. I haven’t had any out-of-country experience in any of these areas, and limited experience here in the states. Recognizing the problems that many groups throughout the world face, as well as realizing the qualities of global citizenship are major first steps. “The very notion of global citizenship is a challenge: it suggests big responsibilities in a small world” (University of British Columbia). In order for a person to call his or herself a global citizen, he/she must look past the stereotypes of race, ethnicity, gender, etc., but rather view humanity as one united being.

 

Arcaro, Tom. “Beyond the Pledge of Allegiance: Becoming a Responsible World Citizen.”

Ferrante, Joan. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7E ed. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2008. Print.

The University of British Columbia. “Defining – and Modeling – Global Citizenship.” – UBC 2004 / 05 Annual Report. N.p., 2004. Web.

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Global Citizen

This isn’t a concept I’ve spent any time thinking about before coming into this class. So after watching the PSA video that was at the bottom of the assignment and searching google, my definition of what it means to be a global citizen would be someone who is understanding of others, has respect for others, and feels a responsibility to humankind. A global citizen aligns their interests with those of the entire globe as opposed to simply limiting them to themselves, their community, their state, or nation. Their thought process is focused on improving life for everyone on Earth, not just acting on what would impact their immediate surroundings.

I do not think that there is a list of questions that can be asked to determine if someone is a global citizen or that there is an ideal type of global citizen. I believe that everyone is capable of being a global citizen, regardless of their means, nationality, race, sex, or other factors someone might consider as a limitation. Being a global citizen does not mean that you renounce or reject your nationality or nation.

The concept of a being a global citizen may seem to clash with the concept of being a national citizen for some people, but to me it seems like it should not. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your nationality or where you’re from, but the problem exists when people let this limit their thinking. Let’s look at major league baseball as an example. When the MLB was first created, it was comprised of only white or Caucasian players from the United States. Jackie Robinson broke this concept and was the first African-American to play on a MLB team. If you look at the MLB today, it has players from around the globe. The game has evolved and the best players do not simply come from the United States. Although the thought process might be different, the same ideology exists. In order to be the best society possible, we must include everyone around the globe.

Being a global citizen requires people to change their thought process to be understanding, respectful, and value humankind. There are no limitations that prevent someone from becoming a global citizen and there is no guarantee that simply because someone says they are a global citizen that they truly are. Only ones actions can truly speak for their global citizenship.

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Arcaro, Tom. “Beyond the Pledge of Allegiance: Becoming a Responsible World Citizen.” 05 June 2013

Polman, Linda. War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern times. London: Viking, 2010. Print.

N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 5 Jun 2013. <http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K4rgNqHwAQc/R4VghXYfK2I/AAAAAAAAADE/SIEdq8N9CsU/s1600-h/gcp-logo.gif>.

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Assignment 2: What is a Global Citizen?

Citizen: A person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state or nation.

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Usually when we think about the term “citizen,” we attach it to a particular nation.  What if we instead thought about ourselves as citizens of the world?  Many people have taken to calling such a person a “global citizen.”  In my opinion, global citizenship is the idea of not separating ourselves from one another based on invisible boundaries, but recognizing that we are all one.  Part of the definition of citizenship states that a citizen should be loyal to their fellow citizens within the nation.  If someone is a global citizen, then they should be concerned for all the people of the world.  We have the responsibility to act on the behalf of our fellow citizens.  The other part of the definition of citizenship is that a citizen is entitled to the protection offered by their nation.  Global citizens recognize themselves as part of the entire world; therefore, as part of the world, they are responsible for the protection of its citizens.

The ideal global citizen would not be self-centered, but rather concerned with the well being of all.  They would also be aware of the global problems that need attention and know how to effectively help in those situations.  Global citizenship is equal parts awareness and action.  To simply be aware of the issues without acting is poor citizenship, and, vice versa, to blindly go and do without knowing the situation and how to handle it is equally as bad.

I do not believe that there is tension between national citizenship and global citizenship.  To be a global citizen, one must be concerned for all people, and that includes the people within their own country.  In this global age, everything across the world is much more connected and easily accessible.  Nations are becoming more reliant on each other, and our relationships are becoming more intertwined.  In his commencement address at Howard University this year, Bill Clinton said, “You can’t live in a world that is interdependent where the walls come down and borders look more like nets.  You can’t keep every bad thing out anywhere unless most people believe that what we have in common is more important that our interesting differences.”  We must be conscientious about not letting ourselves become a gated community within our borders, because as much as this keeps the “bad” out, it fences us in.  This fence destroys our status as a global citizen- we must acknowledge and experience things foreign to us, our “interesting differences” as Pres. Clinton put it.  Only when we experience this can we begin to know the world and thus call ourselves global citizens.

I thought that the video PSA brought up several interesting points.  One in particular that I liked was that “what we do in one place affects someone on the other side of the world.”  This can be both positive and negative.  Buying Nike supports their use of sweatshops in Asia, where reports claim that factory workers are physically and mentally abused on a regular basis.  By buying Nike shoes in Wichita, KS, I am financially supporting that kind of abuse halfway across the world.  But the road does go both ways.  What we do in America can help those struggling around the world.  With global transportation and many organizations set up for humanitarian aid, it’s easier than ever to get firsthand experience helping those on the other side of the world.  Doing what good we can with what we have is our responsibility and duty as global citizens.

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Remember the paper chain people crafts that we made in preschool?  What if this was how the world worked?  This is what global citizens strive for- people of all different colors seen as equals, collaborating together for the good of all humanity.  I do not think that I am the ideal global citizen- on a scale from 0-10, I’m maybe a 7.  I have a great passion for doing the most good that I can, but I still have much to learn about the complex world that we live in.  I am doing the best that I can, and I all I ask is that everyone else do the same.  Let’s all start doing our part to become global citizens.

 

Works Cited

Adams, Becket. “Just Do It- Or Else: Nike Accused of Sweatshop Abuses.” The Blaze. N.p., 13 July 2011. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2011/07/13/just-do-it-–-or-else-nike-accused-of-sweatshop-abuses/>.

Cadet, Danielle. “Bill Clinton Howard University Commencement Speech: Former President Encourages ‘Open Hands’ Over ‘Closed Fists'” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 May 2013. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/12/bill-clinton-howard-commencement_n_3262961.html>.

“Citizen.”  Answers.com. N.p., n.d.  Web.  04 June 2013.  <http://www.answers.com/topic/citizen>.

Cornelius, Kayla. “What Does Healing Feel Like?” Worldrace. N.p., 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://kylacornelius.theworldrace.org/?last=10/25/2010&uid=101246>.

“Humanity + Love.” Cool Chaser. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://www.coolchaser.com/graphics/tag/humanity love>.

“Nike Workers ‘kicked, Slapped and Verbally Abused’ at Factories Making Converse.” Mail Online. Daily Mail, 13 July 2011. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2014325/Nike-workers-kicked-slapped-verbally-abused-factories-making-Converse-line-Indonesia.html>.

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Global Citizenship

Global citizenship has many definitions and interpretations. The United Nations Academic Impact Hub defines Global Citizenship as “an umbrella term for the social, political, environmental, or economic actions of globally-minded individuals and communities on a worldwide scale” (United Nations Impact Hub). Their website also includes other definitions for submitted by people from around the world. All of these definitions mention global awareness and concern for issues expanding beyond the boarders of their respective nations. And although these definitions of global citizenship seem appropriate, the open-ended nature of these definitions still leaves many questions.What does being a “global citizen” actually look like? How does global citizenship play out in extremely wealthy nations such as the United States? It also seems that most people, both in America and around the world, believe that they are global citizens to some extent. Is this really true? What are Americans really doing to make a difference internationally? While investigating these questions I came across one necessary characteristic to being a responsible global citizen: humility.

American citizens take great pride not only their personal successes, but the successes of their country. As the “American dream” pressures average citizens to gain wealth and prestige, there is also great pressure for America to remain the most wealthy and powerful nation in the world. North America alone accounts for 31% of the world’s wealth (Luna). Furthermore, the top 1% of richest people in the world own 43% of the world’s wealth (Wealth Inequality Around the World).

This picture shows the global distribution of wealth in 2007:

 

Although many would be quick to say an effort must be made to more equally distribute the wealth, very few Americans would be willing to give up any of their luxuries. They are accustomed to, and even proud, of the riches their nation has acquired.  And whether many Americans are willing to admit it, it is almost impossible to have such as arrogant attitude and be a responsible global citizen. In Beyond the Pledge of Allegiance: Becoming a Responsible World Citizen, Dr. Tom Arcaro juggles with the interconnections between patriotism, nationalism, ethnocentrism, and racism. Arcaro asks if patriotism and globl citizenship can effectively coexist. He further asks if patriotism means “that some people –-people in our country— are indeed worth more than others?” (Arcaro, 8). Although most people would agree that global equality in a necessity, very few would actually act to improve current the current inequality. Americans say they are adamant about being responsible global citizens, but their actions prove otherwise. Why is there such a disconnect? I believe this is because in American society today, global equality is not functional.

Functionalist theorist analyze “each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole society” (Crossman). In American society today, gaining capital seems to be the driving force behind many institutions. These institutions include schools, government, healthcare, and businesses (Seumas). As Linda Polman points out in her book War Games, even NGO’s are influenced to provide aid to areas of interest to donors, not necessarily areas that need aid the most (38). Each part of society needs money to function, that way society can function fluently as a whole. Our society is driven by need have “more”, whether that be money, luxury, or prestige. Therefore, Americans go on draining the world of all its money and resources. To fully take on our role as global citizens, Americans would have to completely rework the way we think and how our society functions. To be responsible global citizens, Americans would have to give up their privileged ways and humble themselves for the good of the world as a whole.

I found the following video that I believe summarizes the impact America has globally and how we can further become responsible global citizens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1j06Qt3rgY

In the PSA video, many people mention that the world is completely interconnected. Between the internet, the global economy, and the media, it seems very few corners of the world remain untouched by globalization. Therefore, I believe we are all global citizens. All of our actions can have tremendous affects on the world, good or bad. We have the choice to accept our roles as global citizens, or to go on simply ignoring these responsibilities. Dr. Arcaro reminds us that “with great privilege comes great responsibility” (2). As Americans we have been born into great wealth, and with that wealth comes power. We have the power to transform American priorities to become more globally conscious. We have to explain that the American “way of life” must be humbled so that the global community can progress. Dr. Arcaro explains that these changes will occur “by looking beyond our own families to others within our local communities” (18). By changing the mentality of our local communities, we can hope for more expansive change in the future.

Based on these findings, I believe American global citizenship can be shown through raising awareness about ethnocentric biases, our own nations impact on the world, and how our societal priorities must be reevaluated. I believe that is only through this type of awareness that a significant difference will be made.

 

Works Cited:

Arcaro, Tom. “Beyond the Pledge of Allegiance: Becoming a Responsible World Citizen.” 05 June 2013

Crossman, Ashley. “Functionalist Theory.” About.com Sociology. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://sociology.about.com/od/Sociological-Theory/a/Functionalist-Theory.htm>.

Polman, Linda. War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern times. London: Viking, 2010. Print.

Luna, Miguel Ángel Muñoz. “The Distribution of Wealth in the World”. 10 January 2012. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://focus.ie.edu/distribution-wealth-world>.

Miller, Seumas. “Social Institutions.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). N.p., 8 Feb. 2008. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/social-institutions/>.

United Nations International Impact Hub. “Global Citizenship.” Linda Bosniak in “Denationalizing Citizenship” Web. 05 June 2013. <http://unai-globalcitizenship.org/global-citizenship/linda-bosniak-in-“denationalizing-citizenship”>.

Wealth Inequality Around the World. 17 April 2013. Video. 05 June 2013.  <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1j06Qt3rgY>

 

 

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Global Citizenship

Ghana

Elon Study Abroad in Ghana, 2013

 

There are many prevalent definitions of ‘global citizen,’ so I’ve pieced together one that best fits my own beliefs.  I believe a global citizen acknowledges that the most important resource on the planet is life.  Water, food, medicine, the environment etc are all important resources, but they have so much importance because they help preserve life.  A global citizen realizes their place as a citizen of the world, not just one nation community or family.  They don’t only recognize these imperatives, but they also act upon them.  They do their part to conserve resources, support those in need or raise awareness for activities that may infringe upon the freedom and safety of others.  Essentially, a global citizen contributes to the needs of the many while trying to minimize any negative consequences of their actions.

 

Certain questions can help discern if a person is a global citizen or not.  1) Do you believe that you are part of a global community? 2) Do you consider the potential consequences of your actions for your local community? What about the global consequences? 3) Do you feel you should help those in need if you are able no matter the geographic region? Do you act upon this?

 

The “ideal” type of global citizen acknowledges and consistently acts upon their role as a member of the global community.  This isn’t to say that people who don’t always act in the best interest are doing something horribly wrong. However, the preservation of life and the world in general would be in better shape if more people were this ideal type of global citizen.  For example, this person wouldn’t just focus on the issues at home.  They would see the suffering around the world as just as important to remedy as suffering in their own nation.  The ideal global citizen acts upon their role without seeing borders.  National borders do make the peoples’ suffering on the other side any less important or urgent to solve.  The Global Citizens Initiative website quotes Ron Israel “A global citizen is someone who identifies with being a part of an emerging world community, and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices” (Israel).  I believe this is an accurate way to concisely describe someone who is an ideal global citizen.

 

I would rate myself as a 5 or 6 on the global citizen scale.  I’m not as knowledgeable or aware as I should be about global issues, although I do acknowledge my place as part of the global community.  Furthermore, I don’t always act upon issues that I know I should and could help improve.  Relief funds, medical aid and global charities are all ways for someone who cannot leave their geographic area to help the global community.  I’ve done some of this in the past, but I could absolutely do more.  I’ve helped rebuild homes and done outreach in many communities, but this is still only local citizenship.  Part of this is because I am a college student. I don’t have the money or free time for most of the year to be able to reach out like I’d like to.  I do try to conserve resources and limit my footprint, though.  “An exemplary global citizen has the courage of their convictions” (Arcaro); I think I’ll become a better global citizen as I continue to educate myself and grow as person.

 

I don’t believe there is inherent tension between national and global citizenship.  Many people would answer that differently, but I think that is a result of extraneous factors.  There is no reason why there would inherently be problems between the two.  For example, I can understand why a neighbor would be upset if I donated money for tsunami aid that could have gone to relief work in our immediate community; we may know some of those affected here, but that doesn’t mean that those abroad are suffering less and don’t need as much help.  I think most reasonable people could understand that side of the argument.  Being a global citizen to me means supporting and protecting life, and I wouldn’t feel connected to a nation that would oppose this goal.

 

I enjoyed this PSA.  I think advertising is a great way to help people understand that they are part of a bigger community.  Many people may never think about their global role; they may not have left their community before or never been exposed to national issues.

 

 

Arcaro, Tom. Exemplary Global Citizens: Training for Trusteeship Address 2011. Elon University, September 2011. Web. 5 June 2013.

 

Elon Study Abroad. 2013. Ghana, Africa. Web. 5 June 2013.

 

Israel, Ron. “Global Citizenship: A Path to Building Identity and Community in a Globalized World.” The Global Citizens Initiative. Web. 5 June 2013.

 

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Assignment 2: Elaina

To me, being a global citizen is an identity formed over the course of a lifetime. Global citizenship follows a path, with each step on the path leading to another additional set of interests and pursuits. Following this path with forward momentum eventually forms the perfect global citizen. The first and foremost step on the path to becoming a global citizen is the possession of a stirring curiosity about the world around oneself and the peoples and cultures that inhabit it. This curiosity propels one to learn more about the diverse countries and communities that forms the fabric of our greater global community. The increased pursuit of knowledge undoubtedly leads one on to another step in the path, which is an awareness of the issues that plague our world today. This awareness will then motivate a true global citizen to take action towards solving issues, such as social injustice, poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, human and civil rights violations, health, education and slavery. A global citizen needs to enter foreign cultures and relationships with a mindfulness that we were born with two ears and only one mouth, and as a result, our interactions should be skewed heavily towards listening. On an individual’s path to global citizenship, one will come to an eventual understanding that they are working to solve global issues “not for, but with” (Arcaro) and that a global citizen has far more to learn than one can possibly teach in a global interaction. A global citizen also must continue an attitude of humility eloquently described by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his fourth inaugural address when he says “We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away…” Ethnocentrism cannot prevail within the mentality of a global citizen because this will subconsciously shape one’s ability to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect. Last but not least, a global citizen is someone, who according to Oxfam, “takes responsibility for their actions.” This translates to personal responsibility, yes, but also a dedication to the sustainability of undertakings.

I firmly believe that there is no “ideal type” of global citizen. There are minimal characteristics, attributes, etc. that could determine an ideal candidate for global citizen. Global citizens are shaped by their pursuits to embrace the world, all the while striving to better it and cannot be pre-determined by a “type” of individual. One could argue that in order to be a global citizen, there needs to be the existence of certain and specific characteristics, specifically socioeconomic capabilities and I would tend to both agree and disagree with this statement. Though this argument is sensible, as many who have lesser economic opportunities often lack educational resources and can be focused on their own day-to-day survival, I think that they play an integral role in global citizenry. Their voices and experiences raise awareness of the adversity that they face each day and in turn, help to usher in development at an international level, thereby forming them into global citizens.

One may be concerned about whether or not being a global citizen would force oneself to compromise loyalty as a national citizen and if it would require sacrifice of national values or interests. I firmly believe that one can assume the identity of a national citizen and a global citizen at the same time. I hold this belief because global citizens should be aware of and take action on issues at a local, national and international scale and by being a “good” national citizen, one will often become a “good” global citizen. The only time during which being a global citizen and a national citizen may come into conflict would be when an individual sees qualities present in other nations that may not be present in their own nation that are so desirable that the individual feels compelled to immigrate.

I do not think it is not necessary to ask individuals if they are global citizens or not, as this is easily evidenced in their involvements and their pursuits. There are questions that can hint at whether or not one is a citizen that is engaged at a global level but why ask questions when one’s actions speak far louder than words. I say this because a truly global citizen is someone who is propelled by their awareness to incite long-lasting, sustainable change in order to bring about a better world for all. Acknowledging this set of standards, If I was to place myself on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being an ideal global citizen, I would most likely rate myself as a 7.5. The rationale for this placement is that while I fulfill many of the stated qualifications that define global citizenship, I still find myself falling prey to the American cultural values of materialism and consumerism that are in opposition to the pursuit of global citizenship. I also sometimes fail at ethnorelativism, which is an ability to “…accept differences as being deep and legitimate… [that]… other people are genuinely different from them and [being able to] accept the inevitability of other value systems and behavioral norms” (Peace Corps).

When researching exemplary global citizens, I found an individual who has helped bring about positive global change on a large scale. This individual is Muhammad Yunus, a man I had prior knowledge of and a great reverence for because of my exposure to his work in my GST110 class. Muhammad Yunus is a Nobel Prize winner from Bangladesh, who believes that, “…credit is a fundamental human right,” (Nobel Prize) and as a result, worked to establish the Grameen Bank in 1986. He has developed a system of microlending that is working to put loans in the hands of those who would otherwise not qualify for a loan and empowering them to pull themselves out of poverty. Muhammad Yunus is a man who has developed a solution to widespread global poverty that does not disempower the people being served. Dr. Yunus fits my criteria for a global citizen because due to his awareness of global poverty, he sought and developed a sustainable solution and has, perhaps most importantly, helped to maintain the integrity of the people receiving microloans.

The Public Service Announcement, “Global Citizen,” is an effective means of stimulating discussion of what it means to be a citizen of the world and what an ideal world truly looks like. It encompasses, though only to a superficial degree, what global citizens are seeking for in the world today. A man in the PSA meaningfully describes a utopian world shaped by global citizens and says “… That world has a lack of extreme poverty, …protects and sustains the environment, that world is about equality, is about access, is about justice, is about freedom, is about health.”  It outlines basic goals mirrored in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and calls upon each viewer to begin pursuing actions that will bring about a world like this so it is no longer just a faraway, utopian vision.

Works Cited

Arcaro, Tom, Dr. “Exemplary Global Citizens: Training for Trusteeship Address 2011.”YouTube. YouTube, 01 Sept. 2011. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CwHOe6Xi_g>.

“Muhammad Yunus – Biography”. Nobelprize.org. 5 Jun 2013 http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2006/yunus-bio.html

What Is Global Citizenship?” Oxfam: Oxfam Education. Oxfam, n.d. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://www.oxfam.org.uk/education/global-citizenship/what-is-global-citizenship>.

Roosevelt, Franklin D. “The Avalon Project : Fourth Inaugural Address of Franklin D. Roosevelt.” The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Yale Law School Lillian Goldman Law Library:, 2008. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/froos4.asp>.

What Is Global Citizenship?” Oxfam: Oxfam Education. Oxfam, n.d. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://www.oxfam.org.uk/education/global-citizenship/what-is-global-citizenship>.

Image:

Ali, Jaffer. Passport to Globe. Digital image. Skywards Future Artists. Emirates, n.d. Web. <https://www.skywardsfutureartists.com/gallery/View/14757?briefId=0&mediaId=0>.

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What is a Global Citizen?

What is a Global Citizen? Hmmm, interesting question. Before delving into that term, one must define what exactly a citizen first and foremost is. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a citizen is: “an inhabitant of a city or town; especially : one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman.” So if one were to add the context of “Global” before that definition, we are left with an individual who inhabits this planet and is entitled to the, “rights and privileges of a freeman.” This blogger is an American citizen. He grew up in the best country in the world; or so he was told. A country were you can be whoever you want and you will never be denied access to something based on race, religion, or sex. This standard is disgustingly ignored in other countries around the world. So when we talk about Global Citizenship, one must realize that is does not yet fully exist all around this planet.

A step in the right direction is being taken by the current United States President, Barrack Obama. When he took office, he brought a new view of the U.S. to the world, one in which put global citizenship at a higher priority.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REnSUruqeNw

So where does that leave us? Us as in college students who are eager to make a difference in the world. This is where the trickle down theory does not work. Growing the network of global citizens is a grassroots effort. It starts with re-educating people globally so that the definition of a global citizen i.e. – an individual who inhabits this planet and is entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman, is ingrained into every society.

In terms of this blogger being a global citizen on a scale of 1-10, I would place myself at somewhere between a 7 and 8. My views are somewhat compromising but allow me to explain if you will. The United States of America is a Capitalist country, with a free market economy and strong military. While I believe in being fiscally responsible, not paying for things we do not have the money for; I also believe you cannot save judgment on an individual. I am an American, just like the farmer from New Mexico or the fisherman from Maine. This is what every citizen in this country has in common. Our allegiance is to the United States of America. While I am 100% for a free world, where in every country there are opportunities provided like there are in this one, I understand that as Americans we cannot always get what we want from the outside world. There is going to be dictators, there is going to be communists, there is going to be militant regimes.

This is an incredibly difficult issue to deal with, globally. We are such a different planet in terms of culture and language that communication is a very hard task to make universal. What right does an American have to tell a Saudi that women should be able to dress in whichever way they please? This is where personal accountability and self respect comes in. If this blogger knows that he has done everything he can to ensure that the people he affects are, “entitled to the, “rights and privileges of a freeman,” then I able to sleep peacefully at the end of the day.

 

-HCJ

 

Work Citied:

“Merriam-Webster Dictionary – Citizen

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/citizen ”

 

“Barack Obama Explains the Virtue of Global Citizenship.” YouTube. YouTube, 26 July 2008. Web. 05 June 2013.

 

 

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What Makes a Global Citizen?

The term, Global Citizenship, has been defined as being, “The concept of an overarching one world government system in which all humans are joined as citizens of earth such as to not replace but supersede current nation based government citizenships.” This idea is put perhaps most eloquently by Daisaku Ikeda who says, “Earth was originally a green oasis with no need for national borders; it is the venue for the shared existence of humankind, the embodiment of our common destiny. The times demand that we rethink the questions: to what end national identity? to what purpose national borders?”

My personal definition sees being a global citizen as focusing first and foremost on becoming a responsible human being. A global citizen places the common good above selfish interests, and constantly is weighing the effects of their actions before putting them into motion.

I think there are two important questions that first must be asked to discern whether or not someone is a global citizen. The first question posed must be, “Before you pass a judgment or make a decision that affects others, do you first try and look at things from a different perspective to make a more informed decision?” The second question that must be asked is, “If you do try and view things from another person or another culture’s perspective, do you actively take steps towards positive action to create a beneficial outcome for the good of the global community?”

The ideal global citizen constantly seeks opportunities that expose him or her to the world outside of their personal experiences, and they are always challenging their own beliefs and values by looking to others and expanding their perspective. A crucial part of being a global citizen involves giving just as much attention to issues, conflicts and disasters abroad as one does to those that occur at home. For instance, as one writer for the Guardian puts it, “(After the destruction of Hurricane Sandy) everyone saw the disaster in New York, but what about Haiti?” (King)

a U.N. soldier delivers clean drinking water in Haiti, a country still ravaged by destruction from natural disasters that occured years ago, though today garners little media attention

 U.N. soldiers delivers clean drinking water in Haiti, a country still ravaged by destruction from past natural disasters,  though today it garners little media attention

It is easy to be an active and engaged citizen in one’s own country – the devastation, the human rights issues, the struggles people face, are all tangible and seen every day right in front of us. When trying to become a global citizen however, it often times becomes hard to comprehend the issues that are taking place overseas, where all we have is news reports to rely on.

When we do take action however, we would do well to heed a warning that Dr. Arcaro gives would-be do-gooders about how and why they seek to aid others. Arcaro says, “We must be careful though, in our desire to become active global citizens, and not to frame our actions as ‘helping the poor and downtrodden’ around the world.” (Arcaro) It is important that we recognize that in order to solve a situation, one must first rid themselves of any preconceived notions, or desires to save the day in one fell swoop, and instead simply seek to do all of the good that they can, while never forcing one’s own view or way of doing things on another.

Good intentions are not always enough to outweigh arrogant and stubborn attitudes, and Linda Polman makes this particularly evident in The Crisis Caravan. She describes how international aid efforts, although they themselves maintain a policy of neutrality, are taken advantage of by militias and military groups who tax the aid items, or steal supplies and sell them to raise money for weapons. (Polman) These humanitarian efforts often times end up indirectly financing starvation or even genocide, all because they refuse to recognize that their current system is not working despite their good intentions.

I feel that as I stand right now, I probably rank at about a 6 on the global citizen scale from 1 to 10. Although I feel that my intentions are good, I don’t think I quite have the experience to consider myself a perfect global citizen. I think that I have to first continue to see the world and other cultures, and also better dedicate my time and talents to influence positive change along the way, before I can count myself among the true global citizens.

One of the people that I most consider a true global citizen is Kaj Larsen. Larsen is a former Navy Seal who later became a correspondent for Current TV and CNN. He is always asking questions and trying to immerse himself in other cultures. He is unafraid to enter situations that most journalists won’t. He was the first Western reporter in Mogadishu in more than a decade which was instrumental in giving an inside look into the city and its struggles. When “enhanced interrogation” became an issue of controversy in the media, Larsen had himself water boarded on television to show the American people exactly what the effects of these torture techniques look like. Larsen has also created a charity called The Mission Continues that provides fellowship and aid to veterans. He has reported on everything from the drug wars in Mexico, to devastating floods in Pakistan. Larsen uses his presence in mainstream media to focus on how he can benefit the world, even if that means taking risks and challenging his pre-conceived views.

Kaj Larsen reporting on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Kaj Larsen reporting on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

The PSA does an excellent job of highlighting the connectivity of every individual’s actions in the world. Global citizens must find it within them to rise to the challenges facing the world at large, and make it their personal concern. As one interviewee puts it, “Each person must have something to contribute to make the world a better place.” As great and uplifting as this PSA is however, it is important to remember that the issues discussed in it are still a very present part of today’s society. According to the U.N, despite the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, 67 million children are denied education each year, and 65 percent of the world’s victims of starvation belong to just seven countries. (U.N.) It is vital that we not forget our duty as global citizens to resolve these issues, and continue our pursuit of one unified world.

 

Works Cited:

United Nations. “Resources for Speakers on Global Issues” July 2010. June 4, 2013. http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/briefingpapers/food/vitalstats.shtml

 

Ikeda, Daisaku. “Words of Wisdom: Quotes for Global Citizenship” June 4, 2013. http://www.ikedaquotes.org/global-citizenship/globalcitizenship456

 

Arcaro, Thomas. “Beyond the Pledge of Allegiance: Becoming a Responsible World Citizen”

http://elonwp.wpengine.com/soc376ol/files/2012/05/utgearcaro10.61.pdf

 

King, Richard. “10 Tips to Promote Global Citizenship In the Classroom”

November 9, 2012. June 4, 2013. http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2012/nov/09/global-citizenship-10-teaching-tips

 

Linda Polman. The Crisis Caravan: What’s Wrong with Humanitarian Aid? New York: Metropolitan, 2010. Print.

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What is a Global Citizen?

In an era where nations are increasingly divided by ideology, what does it mean to be a global citizen?  To me, a global citizen is a person who is cognizant of the fragility of human life and the ongoing suffering of others and, armed with this knowledge, takes action to alleviate said suffering.  Furthermore, global citizens understand the interconnectedness of humanity and seek to strengthen these bonds.  They know that despite the differences various cultures may have, there are similarities.  A global citizen may not agree with the cultural choices of others, but they support their right to live as they chose.  This desire to promote freedom and understanding is of paramount importance.  Global citizens see the waste and excess in their lives and look to cut it back.  They know that we have but one Earth, and if they want their children to live prosperous lives, they must protect this small blue dot.  Global citizens even see past this, into the future, and seek to ensure the preservation of our species for millennia to come.  

So am I a global citizen?  I would say for the most part, yes.  I fully acknowledge the interconnectedness and and fragility of human life and seek everyday to secure our existence for eons to come.  My dream is to one day look down on the Earth from space and soak in its massive size.  That said, I could do more, and I think everyone could too.  Being a global citizen isn’t something that is bestowed upon you, its a lifestyle.  Its how you view issues and interact with others.  It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning.

While I support the global citizen movement, I do have some issues with it.  Perhaps my biggest problem is the way it looks down on nationalism.  Many say that nationalism promotes negative thinking and that it is a detrimental force in the world.  In his article, ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey argues the opposite, and states “Global citizen consciousness is on the ascent particularly among the new generation, and most critically it is not seen as inconsistent but rather complementary to genuine patriotism.”(Sacirbey) I strongly agree with this.  I love the nation I was born in with all my heart and genuinely think it is superior to many others in the world.  Furthermore, because of my upbringing there are certain practices that I find abhorrent.  The way women are treated in some areas is appalling, and the stratified societies of others are, in my opinion, completely backward.  If that makes me a bad global citizen, I must say I’m fine with it.  Loving your culture and taking issue with others can be seen as insensitive, but we must create a world where discussion about these thorny subjects is accepted, where having a strong opinion is supported and even praised.

Despite this, I think that having more global citizens would only help the world.  The end of poverty, the prevention of terrible war and disease are things everyone can get behind.  What I like most is that this is not a movement whose goal is to consolidate power, but to distribute it.  The global citizen movement looks to empower others and create an impact on the world, and for that reason, I fully support it.  (Rajan)

I liked the video.  I thought it was very uplifting and well done, and I’m sure it will draw many others to the global citizen movement.  My issue is that this video falls in line with the growing trend of slacktivism that is emerging in today’s culture. Too many people think that with a few likes and a couple dollars sent to a kickstarter they have done their part.  These videos draw a few moments of empathy and are quickly replaced with funny cats and celebrity gossip.  Despite this criticism these videos do play an important role in getting the message out.  If this is what it takes to create more global citizens, I’m all for it.  (PSA)

 

Works Cited

Global Citizen. “Global Citizen.” YouTube. YouTube, 02 Aug. 2012. Web. 05 June 2013.

Rajan, Cudhir C. “Global Politics and Institutions.” GTInitiative. N.p., 2006. Web. 4 June 2013.

Sacirbey, Ambassador Muhamed. “Rise of Global Citizen Patriot.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 May 2013. Web. 05 June 2013.

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