Globalization is the process by which national and international economies are integrated through the global network of trade, communication and transport. It implies the opening of nationalistic perspectives to a larger outlook of an interconnected word that enables free transfer of goods and services across all corners of the world. Globalization is mainly aided by the evolution of transport and communication networks. However globalisation has brought about numerous world issues with it. It is in this context that the term global citizen comes in. On the other hand a global citizen is someone who identifies himself/herself as being a part of the growing community. The actions of a global citizen are always focused toward building the values and practices of the community.
We live in a world where people are different. People have different cultural practices, different background experiences and different perspectives about life. However through globalisation all these people are brought together as one common community. For this common community to exist people have to the emotions and behaviour of others. Understanding the value of all these differences enables people to co-exist peacefully in the world. This serves as the sole context of understanding the importance of being a global citizen.
Most problems or global conflict whether they take place very many miles away from us or just next door are global issues and require the actions of global citizens .Being a global citizen brings people together to solve these international issues affecting the world. It also enables good interaction practise which build great connections with others. One is able to learn from others from other parts of the world and exchange various educational ideas giving them a different perspective of viewing other people. Advancement in communications technology has enabled one to easily learn online and interact with various professional from different world institutions (Isin, 2013). As a global citizen one not only makes friends but is able to advance his professional career .For me being a global citizen has served to help me advance in all fields of my life possible be it personal life or professional goals.
There have been numerous disagreements between different theorists about the concepts of global citizenship. Some theorists use seemingly synonymous terms to describe the concept of global citizenship which lead to the disagreements. As most theorist study different fields they may derive their definition from the field they study. This makes their definition of global citizenship biased to their field of study.
In an effort to integrate the various fields and come up with a common definition Reysen and Katzarska-Miller reviewed global education literature and conducted various interviews with global citizens and came up with consistent themes regarding the topic. Global citizenship is the valuing of diversity, social justice, environmental sustainability and the urge to feel responsible for the betterment of the world (Reysen & Katzarska-Miller, 2013).
However in all these aspects of global citizenship two of serve the most important of them all. The first is valuing diversity. This is the understanding and appreciation for varied cultures in the world .Through appreciating these cultures one is able to interact openly with people from different cultures and background. This is very important as in the current world co-existence with others who are different from us is not an option. No matter where one lives in the world you are bound to meet people who are different from you. Though understanding this concept becoming a global citizen becomes easier.
Intergroup helping is the other aspect of global citizenship that is very important. It involves providing aid to people who are outside ones group and people who one is unfamiliar to. One is able to do this through providing financial assistance or food donations to people who are in dire need of them. People can also volunteer to work in some of the hunger stricken areas or simply join organizations which provide such assistance and work with them. These actions build good relationships with other people. Through intergroup helping one is able to build a large connection of friends around them while reducing the effect of some of the global catastrophes on other people .This brings out the true picture of a global citizen.
Two instances in my life have taught me to appreciate the above mentioned aspects of global citizenship. I once resided in a neighbourhood of people from different cultures as a kid. Playing and interacting with kids from different races and nationalities was very difficult for me. However things became very easy when i learnt to understand and appreciate them. I began making friends and enjoying the neighbourhood.
The other one is last summer I visited a children’s home where I observed the various problems the kids experience while in there. I could only see sad faces observing me .However when i came back to the same home with some donations, the kids were very happy to see me .I was able to easily interact with them and we shared very many stories’ learnt that when you show kindness to the kids they really appreciate your effort. That is the most important thing for a global citizen.
A short course on international Affairs helped me understand all these problems that face the world and the various ways of coming up with solutions as a global citizen. I would encourage other global citizens to take the course too.
|Isin, E. F. (2013). Democracy, citizenship and the global city. Routledge.|
Reysen, S., & Katzarska-Miller, I. (2013). A model of global citizenship: Antecedents and outcomes. International Journal of Psychology, 48(5), 858-870.