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What is a Global Citizen?

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

The term global citizen has come up in recent years, referring to individuals who consider


themselves part of a global community. These people engage in global issues and care about what is happening in the world based on a belief that we are all affected by each others actions. We share one planet and in todays world we are all connected in some way or the other. This is true for environmental, political, socio economic, health and all other issues that concern us all and for which our actions have potential consequences for the world population. This outlook comes with an awareness that our civic duties are no longer confined within our four walls, or the borders of the country we live in, but in fact extend across borders out into the world. [https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/11/what-is-global-citizenship]


There is another aspect of global - or world, citizenship that comes to mind: An individual who does not define his/her identity with a specific place, country, religion or culture and in fact does not have the concept of a "home country". This type of global identity seems to be on the rise, both due to the above mentioned consciousness of a global responsibility and the fact that more and more people are growing up to be mixed race, multi-national and multi-religious. Family circumstances are no longer confined to one culture, religion and language. Part of globalisation is the emergence of the world citizen. The person who, when you ask him where he is from, will not have a straight forward answer but a whole story to tell. Such an individual is able to adapt to foreign places and cultures and can connect to culturally foreign people in a 'neighbourly' fashion, as if he were one of his own. Because for this person, the 'foreigner' is in fact not foreign at all. He is human like himself and as there is no nation that defines him, he can only be part of humanity and the world as a whole. It is likely that this individual is one of the privileged in our world, although when it comes to a simple consciousness of global citizenship as described, privilege is not a requirement to break down borders.


When expressing such an outlook, you will often hear that this is utopian and not the reality, and this is actually the truth! The majority of people do not identify with this description of the world citizen. Most people do in fact identify themselves as British, American, French, Peruvian, Turkish and such. This sense of identity enforces a sense of belonging, which we as human beings need to feel safe and strong. When we don't feel that we 'belong' we often feel lost, small and insignificant. We want to be part of a community, a cause, a tribe...The concept of 'us' vs. 'them' is thus nurtured. Does this have to be a problem though? If the reality is such that we are different from one another through culture, language, religion, sexual orientation or taste in music, then why can we not embrace this in a positive way? Differences are actually wonderful for the simple fact that there are people out there that know and experience something else to what we know. That thought should be exciting and beautiful. Too often it does not evoke the feeling of excitement but rather a feeling of fear, caution and insecurity.


Human beings like security, but we also need adventure and excitement. Something to stimulate our senses and feel inspired.


How boring would this world be if we were all the same and everything were familiar?

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