Posted: December 7, 2013 Filed under: Economics, Global, History, Think Tank | Tags: Education, Environment, Georgetown University, Global citizenship, Global Community, Oxfam, Paul Nitze, United States, World citizen
Jakub Grygiel writes: The call for global solutions to global problems has become a familiar refrain: If only we could see past our petty national interests, we could come together to solve everything from climate change to poverty to terrorism. Schools like mine are increasingly being called upon to educate “global citizens” who belong to the world rather than to their nation of birth or state of choice — and who seek challenges to address rather than enemies to defeat.
But the global citizen is like the Himalayan Yeti: a figment of the imaginations of a few, not a living member of the political fauna of the world. And it isn’t something we should try to create.
According to a global-citizenship education guide issued by Oxfam, it is important to teach students that the world is unfair and unequal, and that they can and need to change it. Those terms are, by and large, empty vessels to be filled by the holder of power or the ideological flavor du jour, but most often they refer to a version of the argument that the North is richer than the South and this social injustice (another common term) must be addressed. This formulation does have a modicum of substance, albeit of a tired ideological variety reminiscent of post-colonial grievances. It also carries a set of preferred actions. The global citizen knows to drink only fair trade skim lattes.
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