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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One Comment

  1. Posted June 8, 2013 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    I love how broad your approach to this post is and at the same time how it is coherent and flows so well; you address the question about what is a gc almost philosophically.

    Your very first statement, “To me, being a global citizen is an identity formed over the course of a lifetime.” is one that I agree with very much. Indeed, the title of this course is “being and becoming a global citizen” inferring as you did that it is an ongoing process.