Global citizenship aims at bringing the concept of citizenship to a global view. it is a term used to cover political, economic, environmental and social actions of global minded people, as well as communities on a global perspective. It is a concept that is aimed at helping people understand the ever changing world. As a concept, global citizenship has a great appeal. It is thus sought by various institutions in an effort to promote world peace and make people responsible global citizens. Due to its world wide scale, global citizenship has other diverse definitions depending on the area of study. This paper focuses on explaining the concept of global citizenship as used in education and business.
Global citizenship can be explained from various points of view. From a personal perspective, global citizenship involves awareness of self as well as awareness of others. According to McIntosh, global citizenship is the ability to view oneself with regard to ones role in the wider world. Additionally, global citizenship emphasizes on the importance of balancing the awareness of one’s self realities with the realities of others who are outside ones perceived self. This is an individual dimension, which focus on gaining a reflective understanding for others as well as showing empathy to them. Therefore, this is the starting point to becoming a global citizen from an individual perspective. Similarly, other scholars have also put emphasis on the importance of understanding one’s self in relation to the perceptions of other people in explaining global citizenship (Noddings, 2005).
Since global citizenship does not impart on the legal status, it is expressed well associatively in a distinct manner from the expressions of citizenship. This implies that global citizenship is the basis for individuals to work, live and act within transnational ethics that defy national sovereignty and boundaries, as well. Individual efforts to becoming a global citizen are voluntary and are thus based on subjective and fluctuating criteria. An individual may opt to take their role in the global arena out of free will. Besides, from and individual definition and understanding of global citizenship, one cannot be forced to respect and value social diversity that exist and varies from one country to another (Luis, 2010). A global social role has to originate from ones inner self and the desire of the self to pursue and view things from a wider world perspective.
Another perspective of explaining the concept of global citizenship in based on the roles assumed by various individuals in the international arena. Such individual roles include global reformers, global business elite, global environmentalists, elite global merchants, political conscious regionalists and transnational activists. Each of these global based groups play an active role in fostering global citizenship. Although their roles may be diverse, their collective efforts are geared towards a global responsibility.
The major role of global reformers is driving human kind towards one world. They drive the world as one by promoting peace and intense efforts to eradicate social injustices. Other reformers attempt to reach the entire world through various nongovernmental organizations. One such organization is Oxfam international which is aimed at promoting world peace, minimizing poverty levels and dealing with social injustices. Global reformers maintain that the world will soon become a global village give the pace of technological advancements. On the same point of view, people from different corners o the world can connect with each other via social media. The most common social media are Facebook, Twitter, Skype and MySpace. MySpace helps to view the globe from a business point of view by connecting enterprise and merchants through the internet (Darren, 2003).
Another group of people are global elite. In specific terms, the global business elite view global citizenship from a business point of view. In this regard, global business elite are constantly seeking better ways of moving their economic ventures in around the globe. On the contrary, they do not seek to take up active global responsibilities. A major challenge that frustrates global business elites’ efforts is the wide scope of global corporate responsibility. Global corporate responsibility is discussed later in this paper (Lois, 2010).
On the other hand, global environmental managers seek global problem solving collaboration. Such collaborations are aimed at dealing with large global concerns. These concerns include global warming as a result of destruction of the ozone layer. Global environmentalists promote a sustainable global environment by setting standards for industrialization. Industries are understood to be the core pollutants of the environment and destruction of the ozone layer. The ozone layer functions to filter and protect harmful sunrays from reaching the surface of the earth. Its destruction by air pollution allows such rays to each the globe thus causing excessive heating of the earth with extremely high temperatures. This is a world concern.
Political global elites seek unexplored global community while transnational global activists assume global causes, which may include environmental and human rights protection (Tan, 2005). Explaining global citizenship limits global participation to the economically able. Global citizenship definition based on individual roles thus excludes the role of the poor and those who struggle to survive. Such explanation excludes a large majority of the world people.
Lois (2010) provides a more comprehensive definition of citizenship that incorporates the conceptual categories of awareness, responsibility and participation. He defines global citizenship is the individual ability to b aware, take responsibility of their own action and participate by contributing towards a global unity. Awareness, as well as self awareness of the larger world is essential credentials in explaining good global citizenship. Self awareness is the key contributor to awareness. Similarly, awareness leads to recognition of one’s global responsibilities as well as moral obligations, which are beyond ones environment. As a result, awareness of one’s responsibility leads to participating to promote the global common welfare (Lois, 2010).
Global citizenship explanation based on the above three categories of awareness, responsibility and participation offers a more structured way to approach global citizenship. This approach is thus successful for operationalizing the term in faculty led global programs. On the same note, awareness is the most basic of all the three; besides, it is the most realistic and attainable in the short term.
A comprehensive global citizenship involves having an individual identity that cuts through various national borders and boundaries and commitment to the common welfare for all. In education, global citizenship aims at equipping students with the necessary knowledge and skills so that they can impact the world in a positive way. It encourages students to be responsible globally. Education for global citizenship is directed at developing students to become active global citizens.
Students are taught to adopt the various different cultures in the world. On the same note, a global citizenship education views a global student as one who is well conversant with the wider world and is willing o take an active role as a global citizen. In addition, a global citizen respects and upholds diversity. The current world is diverse. It ranges from the most ancient cultures and traditional way of doing things to the current cultures, which various nation states have adopted today. Global education holds that for an individual to be a global citizen, they must recognize and appreciate diversity and focus on promoting peace and unity in diversity (Robert & Katalin, 2011).
On the same note, global education equips pupils at an early age with the necessary knowledge to understand how the world operates in different platforms. Such platforms include economically, culturally, politically, environmentally as well as technologically. Besides, global students are expected to take part in activities within a community with a range from local to global levels. By so doing, they are perceived to contribute in making the world a sustainable place.
Outraged social injustice is an important trait portrayed by global minded students. Global citizens are accountable for their own actions. That is, they do not blame others for their own action. They are guided by learn think act approach to global citizenship. An individual is expected to earn from their mistakes and take the respective corrective measures (Janet, 2004).
Global education institutions have succeeded in creating awareness of other cultures among students. Nevertheless, most international students have developed necessary awareness needed to be a global citizen. This explains why most international students are coping well in international schools. They develop social and interpersonal skills that help them relate with fellow students. On the point of view, global educational equips students with the basis essential skills to appreciate diversity and adapt to foreign cultures with ease.
Corporate global citizenship requires businesses corporations to be accountable often referred to as corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility goes beyond considering the norms of the society within which the organization exist to upholding global world values. Global world values involve conservation of world environment. According to Ramon 2010, various businesses have taken corrective measures to check on air pollution to minimize chances of interfering with the ozone layer.
Nonetheless, appropriate measure have been put in place to ensure that industrial waste is treated before dispatched to rivers. This ensures that water pollution is addressed to reduce water poising for both human and wild consumption (Samuel & Walter, 2009). However, businesses still struggle with a number of world concerns relating to environment, population, poverty, social justice education and health. These concerns still affect nation’s wellbeing, effectiveness and the productivity of businesses. They also impact negatively on the quality o the world population.
Borrowing from the above mentioned issues, businesses are rethinking on their role as global entities. Some are strategizing on how to redress environmental and human capital challenges. Currently, corporate global citizenship entails an understanding and awareness of the future global trends that can affect the world climate for doing business and the global populations’ quality of life.
The business of corporate businesses has moved form the core driver and desire to maximize profits to upholding societal values. Businesses are now actively involved in fostering a sustainable working environment around the globe. Besides, for all multinational, upholding global values and being socially responsible is the key to surviving in the international market.
One of the organizations that promote global citizenship is Oxfam International. According to Oxfam, growth in altitude as well as values is based on empathy for others and respect for diversity. On the same perspective, skill development is concentrated upon conflict resolution and critical thinking. Oxfam international also views global citizens as those who are aware of the wider world. Moreover, a global citizen understands how the wider world operates and knows their position and role in the globe. Oxfam further maintains that a global citizen is one who values and respects the many cultures of the world. Nevertheless, a global citizen, in both action and thought, does not support social injustice and is willing to participate in actions directed to counter inequity.
As a worldwide organization aimed at minimizing poverty levels and eradicating injustice, Oxfam emphasizes on centers for human rights and the respective elements that need to be fostered in order to secure a greater social justice around the globe. Global citizenship is a wide concept that does not have a generally agreed upon definition. Its definition is derived from the various fields of study and defined according to the discipline of interest. Nevertheless, the major values of global citizenship for any entity are awareness, responsibility and participation.