What is global citizenship? Pepperdine graphic

Passports full of stamps were open. Like a passport, the path to global citizenship is like collecting stamps – bringing together diverse perspectives in pursuit of a holistic view of the world.

The globe has 195 countries, 19,495 cities and 7.753 billion inhabitants.

With such a large world population, global citizenship can be a difficult concept to understand.

However, those who take responsibility for global citizenship understand the importance of stepping out of their comfort zone and getting to know other cultures and nationalities. For them, the goal is to broaden their horizons and gain empathy for others.

“To be a global citizen you need to be able to both appreciate diversity, be curious about it, and then be willing to use that appreciation to work together towards common goals that we share as a than humans on a shared planet, ”said Brian Swarts, program director for Pepperdine in Washington, DC.

Defining global citizenship

Blake Farley, Pepperdine Global Fellow and senior Religion major, said he believes global citizenship means being part of a larger and more diverse culture than the one he lives in. Farley practices global citizenship by traveling to other countries and serving people from other cultures.

“Being a citizen of the world means I belong to a community with more people than I know,” said Farley. “And more people than I know, and people who see the world very differently from me. I think that [it’s] an exciting opportunity to be a citizen of the world.

Members of the Pepperdine community have characterized global citizenship as the ability to interact with diverse cultures and stay aware of current events in the world.

Swarts said global citizenship is the idea that everyone has a role in the country they live in, and that everyone has a responsibility to contribute to their community and to communities with which they typically do not interact.

“Global citizenship, in my mind, is about people who are committed to intercultural engagement and understanding,” Swarts said. “It is a commitment to shared goals and the common good. “

It’s easy for people to adjust to what they know and forget that there are people who live differently from them, Swarts said. For him, part of global citizenship is engaging with different cultures instead of being in a circle of people.

“From the perspective of white Americans, or any dominant group, when you’re not engaged with people other than yourself, they hardly exist in your world,” Swarts said.

Izzy Lindstrom, a second year international studies major, agreed and said global citizenship means embracing the authenticity and appreciation of other nationalities to avoid ethnocentrism – the concept of putting one’s own culture above cultures of others. Lindstrom practices good global citizenship by getting to know people from other cultures and learning their beliefs and opinions without judgment.

“It’s just having respect for other cultures and understanding that what is normal for us may not be normal for another culture,” Lindstrom said.

The head, the heart and the hand

International Programs Dean Beth Laux said that being a good citizen of the world has three parts: the head, the heart and the hand.

The Global Citizenship Officer is familiar with different cultural traditions and history, as well as global trends. The second is the heart, which has a global view of the world and is open-minded to discover new cultures and new perspectives. The third is the hand – the behavioral aspect of global citizenship. Laux said the hand enables people to acquire holistic skills across cultures and to learn adaptability, situational awareness and problem-solving skills.

“Just engage with people who are very different [from] oneself is a way to start developing those skills and abilities, ”Laux said.

Swarts said being a responsible global citizen starts with knowing themselves and understanding their own culture and identity, so they can share this with others and get to know them better.

“Each of us has a story and a role to play within global citizenship,” Swarts said. “What it looks like and understanding what it is is unique to each of us.”

Engaging with other people who have different beliefs is also a critical aspect of being a good citizen, Swarts said.

“It can be as extreme as someone who comes from a completely different religion, or another part of the world like say, a refugee or an immigrant, someone who is like an international student,” Swarts said. . “To something as simple as someone from another part of the country.”

Global Citizenship in Practice: The Global Fellows Program

Farley studied abroad in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Washington, DC, with the Global Fellows Program, whose mission is to equip and empower a community of global leaders determined to be agents of change through integrated professional development, intercultural learning and academic excellence.

All students participating in the Global Fellows program must spend one year abroad and one semester in Washington, DC. They must also register for 22-23 course units focusing on Global Citizenship and Foreign Languages.

“[The] The Global Fellows program itself is for students who are serious about taking their overseas experience one step further and learning what it means to be a global citizen, ”said Farley.

Global Fellows trains individuals for global citizenship and how to be responsible citizens living in America, said Farley.

“I’ve definitely learned to view things more critically like the news,” Farley said. “And the way some organizations go out and look for ways to help with certain global issues or just certain communities.”

Laux currently oversees the Global Fellows program and said it was a great way for members of the Pepperdine community to learn valuable global citizenship skills.

“It helps them [Global Fellows] create, lead and communicate effectively across cultures, which is essential to be agents of change in today’s society, ”said Laux. “It’s just an opportunity to collaborate and build a future we can all work towards with other communities. “

Practice global citizenship at the national level

While individuals can learn to be global citizens through broader experiences like traveling and studying abroad, there are also ways for people to broaden their horizons and be good global citizens since their home.

Farley recommended that people talk with as many people as possible, stay on top of current global issues, and look for ways to serve in their communities.

Lindstrom also said that the best way to be a good citizen of the world is to stay informed about what is going on in the world and to do as much research as possible on different nationalities and cultures.

“If you want to appreciate a culture and respect it, you have to know what’s going on,” Lindstrom said.

Another essential step in being a good citizen of the world is to shift focus from oneself and one’s own country to other people and their countries, Swarts said.

“Listen to what people are saying, not just about us, but about themselves,” Swarts said. “Let others define themselves rather than straying from definitions we maybe got in school or definitions we got from popular culture. “

Additionally, Lindstrom said it’s important to recognize that while being a global citizen can push individuals out of their comfort zone, it also broadens people’s horizons and educates individuals on how live people of various cultures.

“We have a responsibility to understand the impact of our actions and our choices,” said Laux. “And to make sure we think about all the different variables that impact communities around the world. “


Email to Abby Wilt: [email protected]

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Key words:
Abby Wilt Beth Laux Brian Swarts Currents Fall 2021 Currents Magazine Global Citizenship Global Fellows Program international programs pepperdine media graphics

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