What is the relationship between CS and being a global citizen?
In this tackle box drawer, questions about how (or if) child sponsorship connects to ideas around global citizenship and being a global citizen are discussed. The language of global citizenship is drawn on here due to its connections to school curriculum and, in fact, because of its common use in public discourse. Through an analysis of the research interviews, four (4) key questions are presented and discussed in this drawer.
“I think that global citizenship education could go a long way to giving people the tools and a framework to better think through how they can have an impact”
“I think that global citizenship, as a framework, is a really, really good place to start for addressing something that’s really common and very, very understandable, which is that feeling of helplessness… you recognize that there’s injustice in the world but you feel helpless in the face of it. And something like child sponsorship presents itself as really approachable. I think that global citizenship education could go a long way to giving people the tools and a framework to better think through how they can have an impact. So, what I mean by global citizenship, it really builds on the political philosophy of cosmopolitanism, the idea that all of humanity is a single community and our moral obligations lie to everyone in the world, and not just to those within our borders, or our political community, however defined. Global citizenship is kind of a more recent manifestation of that, that aims to… I think the concept of a global citizen is somebody who understands the existence and the operation and the structures of injustice in the world, that understands their own connection to those injustices, so that they’re not just something out there happening on the other side of the world, but they understand the relation, the global connections and relationships that they are a part of as consumers, as voters, as privileged decision makers in the world, if we’re talking about the Global North. But then importantly, is willing to take action, once they recognize how that injustice works, and what their role in it is. And at this point, students often balk at the idea of global citizenship and say, ‘Well, I’m not here to become an activist,’ but it doesn’t mean throwing yourself into sort of a life of advocacy, it means having an appreciation for the global impact of your actions, somewhere near the forefront of your mind, so that when you’re deciding how to spend your money, what materials to use in renovating your home, who to support in a local election or a national election, where to donate— that you’re able to see it within this global framework, and what the potential impact, positive or negative, of your decisions and your actions could be. So that’s not very helpful, in that it doesn’t present a different attractive program that you can look to instead of child sponsorship. But I’ve seen in students that go through the program for four years, that it’s really effective to help sort of formulate a mindset where you almost have this kind of this piece that attaches itself to your constant mental process of decision making, where you’re connecting yourself and your actions to their global consequences. And so that leads you towards voting decisions, volunteering decisions, charity donation decisions, participation in advocacy decisions, career decisions—where you start to want to position yourself in a way that, really, that your actions are doing the least harm, and sort of as a starting point. And if that sounds overwhelming, talking to students, I don’t think it is; I think it’s actually, it’s a weight off, it’s helpful to sort of help cut through the noise of the barrage of injustice that we see and start to fit it into an understandable framework. And then, of course, you have the possibility of dedicating your life in many ways to overcoming injustice and to working towards solidarity. But it also, I think, gives a framework that helps people to alleviate that guilt in a way that’s more productive than giving to the visible face of child sponsorship.”
“… a global citizen is somebody who understands the existence and the operation and the structures of injustice in the world, that understands their own connection to those injustices, so that they’re not just something out there happening on the other side of the world, but they understand the relation, the global connections and relationships that they are a part of as consumers, as voters, as privileged decision makers in the world […] a framework that helps people to alleviate that guilt in a way that’s more productive than giving to the visible face of child sponsorship.”
Kathleen Nolan: “And I think that comes back to understanding what is a global citizen. And so, I guess I pose that to you, because I feel that maybe some of your work or some of your teaching falls into that particular category, right, of global citizenship education? I wonder if you were to explain to someone who’s not familiar, what it means to be a global citizen and what is global citizenship? That’s a big one.”
Lisa Taylor: “Where would be a useful place to take that? I would say that there’s a critical analysis of the structural dimensions of global citizenship and its historical trajectory that’s absolutely essential. So absolutely essential is understanding racial capitalism, understanding coloniality, understanding… the political economy. And the continuity, I guess— that 600 year continuity of that political economy, and the way that it morphs into a complex. So we can talk about the industrial, the military, industrial, philanthropic complex, in the way that philanthropy provides what Gayatri Spivak calls the soft side of Empire. So there needs to be that critical understanding. But it’s not enough for it to be a head only stance. If it’s not relational, it doesn’t have stamina, it withers. And so, another dimension, I guess of global— I mean, citizenship is tricky, because it’s all about the nation state. So global justice education— is recognizing the ideological underpinnings of your own approach to questions of inequality. [For example]… individualism and understanding of problems as individual and solutions as individual. So, it opens quite wide for me. And I think for a few of us, we’ve moved from global justice education to decolonial approaches because settler colonialism is at the heart of this 600-year racial capitalism. And, and I think that that’s probably healthy. So many… I think there has been that turn within global citizenship education, that turn from the charity across global distance to local and land-based and relational forms of right relationship. I don’t know how many people actually go much further from that. There’s a way in which our return to thinking locally, many people never want to think about global, like, that becomes their focus. So that’s, that’s a challenge as well. The ways in which turning to the immediate and the local, and then turning to settler colonialism and engaging deeply with indigenous peoples’ movements for sovereignty. For many people, that becomes a life work, but it leaves the field of global citizenship to the folks who are coming into it again. And so, there’s a way in which global citizenship, I don’t know how much it’s, it’s got a longevity to it, that’s deepening. There seems to be a whole lot of new people coming into it, and students come to it. And, and there’s a very strong new generation, but the old generation, there’s a way in which the generational conversations within the field, I’m very curious about. I think it’s very helpfully shifted as a South-led field. And I think it’s been very helpful in the critique around whiteness and North-centered worldviews. And I think that that actually has meant that there’s been a generational shift.”
“And if we really want an equitable human family, if we want justice, and we want people to be out of poverty, we have to understand what really creates poverty”
“Being in right relationship is important because the world is small, the global community is small, the human family is small. What we do in any part of the world impacts other parts of the world; especially countries that are affluent and have the power strings of international economics and politics. We have much to be answerable for, in Canada, as Canadians. It is imperative for justice-oriented structural change that we understand our impacts on the Global South. And if we really want an equitable human family, if we want justice, and we want people to be out of poverty, we have to understand what really creates poverty. It’s so complex. There are layers of complexity to poverty, so we need to understand this well, in order to get to the root causes of poverty. We must do a critique of the issues of poverty in the different areas, different countries, different regions in different countries, with particular scrutiny of our own country’s foreign policies and economics, and how it’s tied in at a global level, at a continental level, etc.
“We have to be educated by people in the Global South, that are working for social change. They can bear witness to the impacts that our country’s foreign policies and trade agreements have on their lives.”
A good critical analysis includes the dimension of right relationship that I mentioned earlier. Learning from, and integrating, the experiences and research of experts in regions of poverty is fundamental. Then when we try to address the causes of poverty, we do not address them exclusively from the north, from our northern notions of “fixing things”. We have to be educated by people in the Global South, that are working for social change. They can bear witness to the impacts that our country’s foreign policies and trade agreements have on their lives. When our informed analysis and their analysis ties together, then we can be in deep relationship with others; forming partnerships, partnering with different organizations— continuing to learn from one another, and support one another in our actions in our respective countries where we can advocate for ethical changes. As a global citizen, we have a responsibility to be in dialogue with our politicians to ensure ethical relationships with other countries.
Partnering with governments, like the Canadian government, GAC (Global Affairs Canada) provides opportunities for NGOs /CSOs to access funds and try to motivate our government to support truly liberating initiatives in different countries. The applications for funds create space for dialogue between foreign affairs and civil society working in international solidarity.”
A Resource Guide for Further Reading and Learning
“The notions of power, voice and difference are central for critical citizenship education. Thus, for the creation of an ethical relationship with learners (and with the south), the development of critical literacy becomes necessary.” (p. 49)
de Andreotti, V.O. (2006). Soft versus critical global citizenship education. Policy & Practice (Centre for Global Education), 3, 40-51.
Access it here
de Andreotti, V.O. (2019). Dr. Vanessa Andreotti video on 5 dimensions of social challenges.
Access it here
“This toolkit aims to bridge the gap between education for sustainable development (esd) and development education (de) through an environmental education perspective.” (p. 4)
Global Action Plan (GAP) Ireland. Teacher Toolkit – Action on Global Citizenship [A toolkit to bridge the gap between Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Development Education (DE) through an environmental education perspective.]
Access it here
Unsettling Cosmopolitanism: Global Citizenship and the Cultural Politics of Benevolence (book chapter)
“… Global citizenship connotes an identity and an ethical philosophy rather than the specific role and set of responsibilities associated with the citizen-subject of a democratic state. To be a global citizen is to adopt a global perspective that allows one to see oneself as interconnected with the experiences of others around the world. (p. 31)
Jefferess, D. (2011). Unsettling cosmopolitanism: Global citizenship and the cultural politics of benevolence. In V.D.O. Andreotti & L.M. de Souza (eds.), Postcolonial Perspectives on Global Citizenship Education (1st ed.) (pp. 27-46). Routledge.
Access it here
“… We have curated and created virtual educational resources all about the sustainable development goals to help students continue to be engaged, global citizens.”
Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation. (n.d.). Global Citizenship Education… online resources, modules, lessons, reading lists
Access it here
“Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is key to understand the interconnections between the local and the global and nurture a sense of belonging to a common humanity. It builds motivation to assume active roles to contribute to a more just, peaceful, tolerant and sustainable world.”
UNESCO (2016). Learning to live together in peace through Global Citizenship Education (UNESCO video, 2016, 2:39).
Access it here
“The InSight Project is a 360° video cylinder installation touring schools and libraries across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Through 360° video and interactive workshops, InSight brings stories of global development to life for over 50,000 youth and members of the public.”
Access it here