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Germany –

A global citizen is a person who has a voice, the space to share his opinion and takes responsibility. Especially we as young people face many challenges to realize these conditions to become or be a global citizen. In many countries, we do not have the space and the possibility to raise our voice or to take responsibility. In other countries, we have all these opportunities but are too lazy - or maybe ignorant? - to use them. The question is: Do we see ourselves as part of the whole world? And do we see our neighbors as part of this world? If we see us and our neighbors as part of one world, do we consider their problems as ours as well or are we not interested in what is happening on other continents in this world? If we are interested, are we willing AND prepared to stand up for our neighbors and support them in getting the space to raise their voice and to take responsibility? If we do so, then, in my understanding, we are global citizens. I try to do my best to fulfill these challenges – since 2009, I am involved in the youth leadership program of the Africa Alliance of YMCAs, “From Subject to Citizen”, and try to include the lessons learnt to our background in YMCA Europe and YMCA Germany. Responsibility, From Subject to Citizen, Have a Voice


Liberia – In a broader sense, a citizen is one who is a member of a political entity, such as a state. Based on his membership, a citizen owes allegiance to and can lawfully demand protection from the state. When viewed from an even much broader perspective, we are all citizens of the world because we belong to the world; each of us occupies in a unique way some space in the world and we demand protection from the world through various institutions such as our local YMCAs, national and local governments. Following on this idea, I maintain that a global citizen is one who sees himself as an internationalist and to a larger extent a citizen of the world and a member of one big family called humanity. A global citizen is one who aspires for the betterment of humanity and strives to work for a better community and a better nation in the belief that we all can work to attain a more just and peaceful world. As a global citizen, one is an internationalist and as such he has to be concerned with global trends and the commonality of all humanity. A global citizen strives to keep himself abreast with happenings across the world – from earthquake in Japan to drug trades in Latin America, from famine and starvation in sub-Saharan Africa to war in the Middle East, and then to global plague such as HIV/AIDS and the economic crisis. Given the magnitude of these global trends, you become frightened when you consider your own strength in proportion to the issues that affect our common humanity. But as a global citizen, you can discuss these trends in smaller groups at school, work, recreational centers, places of worship and just anywhere you can interact and socialize. By doing so, you can stir up a high level of consciousness among your peers and even invoke their commitment to work for the common good of the world – planting of trees to reduce carbon emission, creating awareness to stop the spread of HIV, promoting racial harmony, praying for global peace and security. This level of consciousness qualifies one to be a truly global citizen. Global Awareness, Racial Harmony, Education, HIV/AIDS, Global Financial Crisis


Zambia – Global citizenship is a term being used increasingly in the educational circles, and consequently there are a variety of views about what it is. These range from the idea that everyone is a citizen of the globe to the standpoint that in a legal sense there is no such thing as a global citizen. But what does it mean to be a “global citizen”? For my part, I believe that global citizenship goes beyond simply knowing we are citizens of the globe to an acknowledgement of our responsibilities both to each other and to the inequality and having the desire and ability to work actively to do so. Global citizenship is about valuing the Earth as precious and unique, and safeguarding the future for those coming after us. It entails detaching from ones culture enough to view the world as a single community, rather than viewing it with an “us and them” mentality. This does not mean one rejecting his culture but emphasizes that the duties of citizenship apply to the local community one can directly affect as well as the global community. “How does one become a global citizen?” One may ask. To be a global citizen one has to have an outlook on life, a belief that he/she can make a difference. To achieve this one has to;     

Understand that the world does not end in one’s home village, town, city or country. Respect and value diversity. Consider each individual on their individual merits and repel unfounded popular myths about certain nations and peoples. Be willing to act and make the world a more sustainable place. Take responsibility for his/her actions.

I consider myself a global citizen because I’m aware of the wider world and have a sense of my own role as a world citizen. I am informed and aware of my position in the world, I understand that my actions are not isolated and can have effects outside of my immediate influence and therefore I act accordingly.


Every problem in the world, every global conflict whether it takes place hundreds of thousands of miles away or right next door, is a global one. It’ll take a global effort with global citizens to stop them. What the world needs is social solidarity and getting people to start acting like Global citizens is the only way to accomplish this. Responsibility, Global Citizen


Zimbabwe – Global Citizenship as it is defined widely, reflects a responsibility to the development, mainly, socially, economically, and politically, and as we find world over, the cosmopolitanism is a growing view, but when we talk of a global citizen, we are forced to look at an individual’s moral and ethical disposition, and as this is used to guide and remind an individual of his or hers relative responsibilities within various communities, it becomes very easy to simply define what a global citizen is, within the context of YMCA. Because citizenship is motivated by local citizenship, which evidently requires any individual to be a positive impactful and inspirationally development oriented partner to society. Having said this, it is quite necessary to embark on a journey where we will find ourselves dissecting the various aspects of a global citizen, and becoming one. As we look towards a situation where as global citizens we begin to look at particular mindsets and ideologies, namely, the capitalist approach to globe citizenship, the interagency approach to global citizenship and the transformative approach. As I have also discovered these three approaches originate from divers communities with the global village that we speech of. As I reflected on myself and my responsibility as a global citizen, (as I like to think of myself), I realized that for one to be recognized as a global citizen, it requires for one to be able to combine and select the three approaches to soot the best case beneficial result for any given action. As I found for any positive impact to be felt within the global village as we try and refer to the coming together of all nations, we need to ensure that as we stand and call to action all relevant parties, states, policy makers, and youthful representatives, we also need to acknowledge the presence of the need to increase product production and consumption, the need for bilateral agreements, and advocacy on social and political implications on the internationalization of issues. So as I continued to embark on my journey into the topic of this month, I reflected, as a Zimbabwean National, and YMCA Zimbabwe staff, how exactly would I refer to myself and how would I justify. So I began. I strongly believe I am a global citizen, for I find myself aligning with the above stated perspective, and as I go through my day to day duties, and life, I find that


there is a growing desire within myself, pushing me towards ensuring that everything I do, from program formulation to project implementation, to training, and advocacy. I find myself doing these things not just for the benefit of myself but in the hope that as my society benefits, their benefit will so how intern influence and assist the benefit of another society. It is not just the impact of today but what today’s impact will do for tomorrow. Product Production and Consumption, Bilateral Agreements, Social and Political Advocacy


Ghana – We are all born of the world, and can technically be considered citizens. However, simply being aware of this fact does not necessarily make us global citizens. It is very important to understand our responsibilities to one another and to the earth. Being a global citizen is a state of mind and a way of acting. It makes one see him or herself not just as a member of a community, region, country, or the world but assigns roles and responsibilities to be fulfilled to ensure a sustainable world. A global citizen has respect for diversity of all persons, regardless of race, religion or creed and giving rise to a universal sympathy beyond the barriers of nationality. All around the world, there are issues that impact all aspects of our communities. These issues are affected by global economic, political, and social systems. Understanding these systems and being interested in other people's experiences is another mark of a global citizen. As the National Youth President of Ghana YMCA, I attended the 17 th World Council of YMCAs’ International Youth Forum in 2010 where we dealt with Global Citizenship and the MDGs. Sharing ideas with youth from other countries gave me insight into challenges in other parts of the world. This forum gave me the opportunity to contribute solutions to problems others presented. I also shared with participants the Africa Alliance of YMCAs' Subject2Citizen model for youth empowerment and how Ghanaian youth are confronting important issues. I believe that as global citizens, sharing resources, ideas and best practices is a way of working together to make the world a more sustainable place. Through my interactions with people from different cultures and backgrounds, I have come to accept and appreciate these differences, and our commonalities. Exposure to the issues of the world through education and interaction with diverse peoples can help us focus on the interconnectedness of our issues and not just what immediately concerns us. Working with the YMCA is one way to become a global citizen. The YMCA empowers individuals to participate in political, economic, and social decision-making that affects their communities.


I am a global citizen and I owe my status to my involvement with the YMCA. I have become involved and have advocated on issues including child trafficking, global warming, gender equality and civic engagement. I continue to interact with youth on issues affecting us globally. Respect for Diversity, Collaboration, Education


Canada – – Global Citizenship is Being Responsible to Each Other in a Common Space

At the heart of the connection between the ‘globe’ – which denotes a living space – and ‘citizenship’ – which denotes a certain reciprocal relationship – is the interconnectedness between individuals through our humanity. Individual human beings – before we assign them to ‘nations’, ethnicities, races, or any other groups – share a common space: the world and the globe. It may be the case that we have not come in direct contact with another person across the world, living in Australia, Russia, China or Africa, for example. Yet by the virtue of the fact that there exist other human beings across the world, and because it is our humanity that is common to us, we are then intimately connected. We are in fact connected in our ‘humanness’. When I think of other human beings across the world – let’s say in Borneo in Indonesia, for example – it is very easy for me to think about the fact that I and the other person share in being human: we both have fears, hopes, dreams, aspirations, thoughts, ideas, wants, needs, and over all, want to be wanted, or loved. At the same time, because of our humanity – or because we are sharing in ‘humanness’ – this belonging then calls us to a personal as well as reciprocal responsible relationship to ourselves and other human beings as well. Because we share and populate the ‘globe’, and because we share in our humanity and are intimately connected to each other with respect to both, we are then directly responsible for both: the space and our humanity. If I lose my ‘human touch’ even for a moment it means that I have diminished the humanity of another. If I acknowledge another person’s humanity – and respect it as well – I in fact solidify and underpin my humanity as well. If I endanger or neglect the ‘globe’ as a common living space, I also neglect and take away from the living space of another as well. It is then in this realization of our commonality – our humanity - and the fact that we share a common living space, that make it clear that we are responsible for ourselves, to each other, and this wonderfully large and vast space we share – the globe. Humanity, Responsibility, Connection


Canada –

Our world is interconnected. So many of the actions we take – what we buy, how we travel, the policies and organizations we support – cross borders and make a cumulative global impact. Being a global citizen is recognizing the potential for your actions, even if small, to have an effect on the quality of life of other people and living things, positively or negatively. It is taking responsibility for the actions that you have control over. What a global citizen is not, is feeling that you can make decisions on behalf of other people and communities. This approach can continue to perpetuate inequality and will not lead to viable or sustainable solutions. One of the greatest skills in the toolkit of a global citizen is the ability to listen. It is not about taking control, but instead about communicating and collaborating with others. The way that problems are identified and what is needed to address them will vary tremendously as a result of the complexity of local contexts. This means, although there are values we hold internationally, we must be adaptable to each situation. Do I think I’m a global citizen? It is a rather difficult question to answer, I must admit. Like any type of citizenship, we may not have much choice over whether or not we are a citizen. Perhaps we are all already global citizens, and what truly matters is – what kind? Collaboration, Cumulative Impact, Responsibility, Listening


Mexico – Today we are all born as global citizens this is possible by the interconnection that we have. The active global citizen is aware he lives in a heterogeneous world, in which we have to share the planet and its resources. The global citizen is the person who takes responsibility and tries to make a change for the common good. The global citizen understands the complex world in which they live and looks for the understanding between people seeing them all as brothers. It is also important to say that thanks to the network and the ability to create networks of communication; global citizens organize themselves to seek solutions with other global citizens by establishing collectivities reaching influence in specific contexts and global contexts. A global citizens care about human rights, animal rights, environment and global warming, community development, access to information and other issues that concern us all what we live on this planet. Positive Action, Understanding, Sharing, Commitment, Human Rights


YMCA Global Perspectives_Global Citizenship