Education of global citizens

Luis Martín Markha Valenta Rui Tavares
13 July 2017


Green group: results of first iteration

When we talk about globalization we have to problematize it in order to reclaim it. Globalization has to be transformed from a system of extraction and inequality to one of emancipation and equality. 


One of the most powerful means to do this is through education. Nevertheless we also have to problematize “Education” in order to recognize and accommodate multiple forms of knowledge and learning. Paolo Freire offers some of the most useful guidance on how to do this, including on how to train teachers. There is also the need for a critical reckoning with the internet.


This can culminate in a 2-year mandatory global social service program. Cities offer some of the most effective conditions for global citizenship as opposed to nation states, given their flexible embrace of cultural pluralism.




Green group: results of second iteration

Citizenship is about being a citizen everywhere, and education is essential to achieving that ideal. At the same time, this ideal helps us in the process of reclaiming globalization:


Green group: results of third iteration and final statement

Our discussion is about reclaiming globalisation through education. One of the core issues is the question of what is a realistic goal that you would want to invest in as a target, and what is unrealistic.

The current curriculum needs to be addressed by having human rights, race and gender embedded as curriculum subjects; as well as the consequences of living on a limited planet; and the global economy.

Access to education is important to us – we are concerned that young citizens require sufficient nutrition and schoolbooks alike: that the fight needs to continue against gender discrimination, or the involvement of children in child labour. The promoting of best practise at the local level combatting exploitation is key.

Then we have a third proposal for a Global Social Service when you are eighteen years old, a two year service somewhere else in the world. This was much discussed, including whether it could be mandatory, or would be ecologically unsound, what age would be best for candidates, whether universal human rights could be a core part of that project, and how realistic it was, on which scale. None of this was fully resolved in the short time allotted.

But the criticism helped us narrow the project more and more in a way that has strengthened it. So we ended up with the idea of a pilot project which for the first year would be in place for 100 people from all over the world, based on a Charter, on a legal basis that would provide visas for these people in the countries and municipalities that would be signatories to this Charter.

It would collect resources from multiple sources, but to give you an idea it would cost 30 million euros per year which is not out of reach for two or three foundations. But we wanted to think a little bit further than this about how it should be in the future. So one of the ideas that we have had is that this should be funded at some point – not as a pilot project for 100 people, but when it could service many thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands, or, who knows, millions – by a carbon tax, a global tax that could thereby offset the footprint of the project.

NGO’s and local authorities and groups would devise local projects which they would send to the main database to be chosen by young people. There would be a lottery so that there is no advantage or privilege attached to having many connections or much money in this programme. There would also be a stipend ( already budgeted for in the 30 million euros calculated for 100 people.)

So this would be a deliverable that could be undertaken, by openDemocracy for example.

But of course, this deliverable, reached via criticism, must not forget the core of the project. And the core is the idea that ‘global citizenship’ is a bit of a pleonasm, in the sense that being a citizen is having certain inherent rights that should not be interrupted just because you cross a border, or that should already be there even if you are born in an unlucky place that is at war… So citizenship should immediately be understood as global citizenship and the qualifier should more and more be when we talk about ‘national citizenship’ in fact – as a local qualifier.

We want people to learn that by experiencing that. We have seen it happen in many privileged parts of the world that have these kinds of exchange programmes. But we think that the cause of ‘citizenship’ which is ‘global citizenship’ could be very well advanced by a programme that would be there for everybody, everywhere, as ‘citizenship’ could or should be!



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