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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3 Comments

  1. Posted June 8, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    I love your use of the term “slacktivism” and would like to see a longer, deeper exploration of this idea. Thoughts?

    Also, take a look at http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/columnists/article_8a8950f2-cee1-11e2-b3a0-0019bb30f31a.html for some additional ideas about the responsibility of a global citizen.

  2. Posted June 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed reading your ideas about how nationalism and global citizenship can coexist, and even compliment each other. Although I am not sure I agree with this opinion, I believe you presented your point very well. I can tell that your opinions are not easily swayed by the ideas of others, and I think that is an admirable quality many people do not have. These opinions made me think back to your definition of global citizenship. I wondered what your opinion would be on the differences in roles of global citizens in America versus other, maybe poorer nations.

  3. Posted June 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your feeling that just because people use social media or other small forms of action to get the word out about a certain issue, that they shouldn’t feel as though they have done their part. We saw this with the huge temporary surge in KONY activism, and its inevitable decline back into obscurity. I don’t think that anything can ever truly replace hands-on action.

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