Global Citizenship: Imagined Destiny or Improbable Dream.

Author:Scott, Robert A.
Position:Global Citizenship issue


It is increasingly likely that the graduates of American schools and universities either will supervise or be supervised by someone of a different ethnic, national or racial background. It is also likely that the work of their employers and activities of their families will be influenced in profound ways by suppliers, customers, clients and others who are of a different cultural background. In addition, in many parts of the world it is likely that neighbours, or the schoolmates of their children, will be of a different heritage. Thus, we can expect that the lives of school and university graduates will be affected directly by an increasingly diverse society and interdependent world community.

Some refer to this time as the dawning of a period when we become "global" citizens, i.e. citizens of the world with mutual obligations for the benefit of others beyond our national borders. Others assert that an education for "global citizenship" is essential for young people if they are to gain the skills, attributes and knowledge necessary to be successful in their chosen careers. Still others claim that global citizenship is the status of being when one's identity transcends, even as it respects, geographical and national borders; that one's social, political, environmental and economic actions occur in an interdependent world; and that one's responsibilities or rights are or can be derived from membership in a broader human grouping, feeling welcome and at home wherever we find ourselves.


What are the universal values necessary to define global citizenship? Is it an imaginable destiny or an improbable dream?

Surely one value is that of the dignity of each individual. As the saying goes, "Dignity has no nationality", even if governments act otherwise. Cooperation is a universal value even when the drive for competition sometimes seems overwhelming. Recognizing the value of peace education and the necessity of mutual interdependence are other universal goals, even if local customs teach a contrary ethic. Other values that can be accepted as basic to humanity, and therefore to membership in the global community, would be the set of freedoms articulated by former President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He summarized these universal values as freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. These and other values are essential ingredients for an...

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