The idea about citizenship has often been extensively argued with different misconceptions placed on it, mainly the issue of being a global citizen. While most scholars, professionals, and educators believe that being a citizen entails being in a political unit or state and enjoying certain social and political benefits, the idea of global citizenship is often misquoted and not well understood. However, although the concept of citizenship goes beyond an individual’s nation-state, what should be made clear is the changes in the global context that make people understand better what global citizenship is and what international treaties and conventions, civil and corporate movements, and international human rights frameworks talk about when the discussion of global citizenship comes on the table.
Therefore, it is essential to have a well-informed mind about what global citizenship constitutes since it affects everybody in society, and its importance cannot be overlooked. Moreover, it is crucial to have an extensive look at the growth of global citizenship and its relevance since critics have been everywhere opposing the concept of global citizenship by some even citing that it should be allowed to politicians and wealthy individuals who wish to extend their life in other states with a purpose of investing their extra dollars. Having a critical argument to understand why the issue of global citizenship is important is crucial for this report. Moreover, discussing the relevance of discussing the importance of global citizenship in society prompts another important reason why global citizenship should not be allowed in our society. Upon understanding why global citizenship is relevant and not relevant based on the diverse views argued by people and other social units in the society, the report will critically assess the issue of global citizenship, lighting up the case of global education and make a concrete discussion whether the idea is relevant in the society or not.
Concept of Global Citizenship
The idea of global citizenship has been in existence over time. The past historical times defined citizenship as more individualistic because only men or the owners of the property qualified to be called citizens. However, due to the recent technological and development of civil, social, and political rights, the idea was redefined, and every individual who belongs to a particular state or political state qualifies to be called a citizen (UNESCO 2015). However, global citizenship arises from the global thought and discussion of the need to define citizenship on a worldwide dimension. To institute this discussion, the idea of citizenship going beyond a state has necessitated international conventions to be held, treaties signed, transnational and civil society movements organized to redefine the concept of state citizenship and expand to a more global scale. The discussion led to an understanding that global citizenship entails having a sense of belonging in another society. Such belonging encompasses the idea of enjoying political, cultural, and social interdependence and interconnectedness on the local, national, and global levels. Therefore, by being a global citizen, one is eligible for all rights enjoyed by citizens belonging to the state where the individual settles (UNESCO 2015). Such an individual is seen as embracing cosmopolitan values and is ready to change the world in any manner possible. As people learn the importance of other cultures, travel, and interact, they develop a sense of belonging in other states and form relationships. Such acts should not be prohibited, and they are signs of achieving a shared understanding and cohesion in the world. Therefore, global citizenship brings about the idea of a melting pot where individuals join other social and political groups, share a cosmopolitan identity, bond, and develop a sense of belonging. When the bonding happens, then such individuals get regarded as citizens of that country are eligible for all benefits of that political nation.
The Case for Global Citizenship Thinking
Irene Skovgaard-Smith, in the article “The Complex World of the Global Citizen”, brings to light the advantages of having global citizenship thinking in the world. She argues that being a “citizen of the world” embrace cosmopolitan views and regard diversity a vital component (Skovgaard-Smith 2017, 2). They come from different ethnic and social backgrounds and are ready for cosmopolitan groups with those they interact with. Irene points out that being a global citizen does not mean giving up own national and ethnic cultures and identity but embracing the concept of the melting pot and living in a diverse community where ideas and basic life concepts are learned and shared (Skovgaard-Smith 2017). Therefore, by being a global citizen, one is not alienated from own community or branded rootless. It means they are proud of their roots but have put them down to explore the world, learn more, interact and form social groups that enlighten them on other ways of life.
Therefore, upon understanding the importance of global citizenship, promoting the idea should be done by improving international dimensions about citizenship education. By incorporating global citizenship in the educational institutions and curricula, it will be easier to make the entire world aware of its relevance, hence reduce the stereotypes against global citizenship (Penner and Sanderse 2017). To achieve this educational purpose, global citizenship education must center on three learning domains: cognitive, socio-emotional, and behavioral. Global citizenship education must strive to enhance transformation in an individual, build knowledge, values, skills, and attitudes that learners will use to build stronger relationships and accept diversity (Penner and Sanderse 2017).
The Case against Global Citizenship Thinking
The primary rationale against promoting global citizenship idea among the world’s population is that geographical understanding of citizenship has continued to be associated with exclusionary practices. While many citizens who join others in a different state get accorded the same rights and are made equal members and participants in that community, research by geographers reveal that they continuously get divided along sexuality, gender, racial and religious lines (Jones 2012). Through political struggle in different countries, many groups wait for so long to be accorded citizenship rights. In this case, global citizenship functions as an uneven socio-cultural, physical, and political space accessible to people of varying degrees. In certain states like West Germany, citizens from other countries are often denied citizenship rights because of the racial and cultural differences between them (Jones 2012). These factors perpetuate the efforts to make global citizenship a development idea of making diversity the best thing to be proud of.
Critical Assessment and Personal Perspective on the Idea of Global Citizenship
Global citizenship is an important idea that should be initiated globally as it influences every person in the community towards developing a rational thought about the state of life. Global citizenship education should be fostered in every level of learning to make the world aware of the importance of accepting diversity, living in a well-formed political and social society since through that, globalization, cohesion, and prosperity are enhanced. The idea of global citizenship is very influential since opportunities of being diverse are majorly accessible in the larger metropolitan communities (Penner and Sanderse 2017). Therefore, having access to an extensive social network offers one a sense of belonging, accessibility to such opportunities, and a good chance of learning diverse cultures. Therefore, children and the youth generation must be acquainted with the relevant skills and capabilities necessary to create an equal, sustainable society by promoting economic global citizenship education. The world can learn the importance of livelihood education, social and cultural understanding.
Global citizenship has had a broader historical journey, where scholars and political groups often disagreed on enabling an individual to belong to a broader community and enjoy the same civil rights and sense of humanity as the original citizens of the inhabited community. With this discussion being extensively done or argued, in-depth research and analysis have been ongoing between international conventions, organizations, political movements, and transnational organizations to make the world understand that humanity has evolved. With the growth of technology and new education systems, a need is necessary to incorporate global citizenship in society. To achieve this bigger step, it is necessary to have every stakeholder brought on board and make every individual who belongs to a particular state aware of the concerns under discussion and make reasonable conclusions about global citizenship. Therefore, understanding and accepting global citizenship is an important step towards achieving multiculturalism and diversity; hence the world is made a good social place.
Jones, Andrew. 2012. Human Geography: The Basics. New York: Routledge.
Penner, Jared, and Janita Sanderse. 2017. “The Role of Economic Citizenship Education in Advancing Global Citizenship.” Policy and Practice. A Development Education Review, n. 24, pp. 138-158.
Skovgaard-Smith, Irene. 2017. “The Complex World of the Global Citizen.” BBC. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20171110-the-complex-world-of-the-global-citizen (last accessed 2 May 2019).
UNESCO. 2015. Global Citizenship Education: Topics and Learning Objectives. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.