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What is global citizenship?

Researcher and CISVer Caecilia Johanna van Peski has written a book chapter on global citizenship; here are some ideas taken from it.

CISV peace education provides us with the Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge to become agents of change, locally and globally - to become ‘Active Global Citizens’
The above quote is CISV’s definition of peace education. So what really is global citizenship? Let’s start by looking at citizenship first. Often, citizenship is associated with rights and obligations; for instance, the right to vote, and the obligation to pay taxes. Both rights and obligations link the individual to the state. How can the idea of citizenship then be transferred to the global level? However, we don’t have a global government or state. Therefore, reform in global governance is required to allow world citizens to take more directly a part in political life at the global level. Global governance here means the whole array of inter-governmental organisations (e.g. United Nations, World Bank), international NGOs (e.g. Greenpeace, Amnesty International), and the many citizen initiatives and community action groups that reach above the nation-state level (e.g. World Social Forum, Occupy Movement).

Citizenship also has to do with our attitudes: We need to be willing to engage, spend time and effort for a community of which we feel part of. Community has traditionally been thought of as something very local, so, again we face the question of how this can be applied to the global level. Long-standing CISVer Caecilia van Peski, argues that

“Global citizenship can be defined as a moral and ethical disposition that can guide the understanding of individuals or groups of local and global contexts, and remind them of their relative responsibilities within various communities.”

Global citizens are the glue which binds local communities together in an increasingly globalised world. In Van Peski’s words,

“global citizens might be a new type of people that can travel within these various boundaries and somehow still make sense of the world”

In any case, given that there is no world government, the idea of global citizenship challenges us:

“global citizens themselves [have] to create rights and obligations.”

Longstanding CISV trainer, IPT member Caecilia Johanna van Peski works in post-conflict reconstruction and peace building. Above quotations are from Caecilia's book chapter entitled “International Education and Global Citizenship”; in Participation, Facilitation, and Mediation: Children and Young People in Their Social Contexts by Claudio Baraldi, (Editor), 2012, which is available from Routledge publishers here.

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