A Workshop on Global Citizenship
Johanna Holtan, EUSA Global
impact on the world, but we needed to know and learn and ask more. How is global citizenship relevant to our students, EUSA, the greater University community, and beyond? What does it even mean? What’s our role in developing globally just student leaders?
EUSA Global believes in the power of a getting people together in meaningful ways so to unpack our questions – we invited students, staff, and local community members to come together to start a conversation about global citizenship. A team of expert facilitators led sessions exploring the concept through the lens of social responsibility, student leadership and justice, student mobility, and the local community.
While we are still learning, we did pick up a couple useful insights
Global citizenship is an intentional process. We don’t become global citizens through travel or simply meeting people from a different background. It’s a reflective and intentional process. From journals to online media to peer support, these tools play a crucial role in process of global citizenship. Let’s do more to facilitate this.
Global citizenship is about community (here and far away). Students who developed the tools to enter communities while they are overseas reflected on how it changed their perspective of their own community. As we become more aware of our own culture, the more we can engage and be open to other cultures. The more effective global citizens we can become.
Information + opportunity + action = global citizenship. Online, newspapers, posters, demonstrations, social media – it’s hard not to look away at the issues which plague our communities, both here and in places far away. But is being informed enough? Students and staff are empowered not just by information, but by opportunities for action to make change together.
What’s our role?
We are still exploring this question but clearly, people are willing to come together to talk about this. By facilitating more interactive and action-based activities around themes of global citizenship, we come closer to understanding our role in this process.
I’m part of a working group on campus looking at Globally Just Leadership. We are focusing on people in positions of power, formal or informal, who use their influence to try to effect ethical changes and improvements in a way that is ‘just’. This is people centred leadership, which allows the people who are affected by it to retain their right and ability to choose to be affected.
We are collecting stories from across our University community which exemplify just leadership. This may be about people in positions of power. Or (and I think more importantly), we want the stories that exemplify leadership in everyday, ordinary situations where leaders interact with people and use their values to underpin all they do.
We would like to use a map to visualise just how global leadership is at the University of Edinburgh. Contribute your story here.
For further updates on EUSA Global activities, follow us at www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/eusaglobal