Today, we are all global citizens. Globalization has made homogeneity a concept of the past; we are exposed to people, products, foods and arts from countries all over the world, we speak multiple languages and we understand the news of what is happening in countries other than our own. Communication technologies are continuing to break down these international barriers each day—the internet and social media alone have achieved this for us. Liberal arts colleges give you the broad world perspective which can expose you to and educate you on global occurrences. Though we often feel the need to act on every injustice we see in the world, oftentimes we as individuals lack the resources or support. It is important to know as global citizens that though we cannot change everything, we have the power to change something important every day.
There are widespread issues which have been identified by the UN and other worldwide organizations as global responsibilities. This means that as a global citizen, you are a part of the responsibility to support these initiatives either through your own power, through the foundations you choose to support or who you vote for. These worldwide responsibilities include:
- Environmental protection
- Human rights
- Gender equality
- Worldwide economic growth
- The alleviation of poverty
- Conflict prevention
- Humanitarian assistance
- Preserving cultural diversity
As a student, it may seem like these issues are far away from us, but it is important to recognize that responsibility for these issues on a global scale starts at home. As a student with a liberal arts bachelor degree, your knowledge of the world is never finite, and your capability is limitless. Shimer President, Susan Henking notes that to endure in our world means to change, while venturing into the world with the same power, passion and sophistication that is found in our classrooms. Your knowledge about an assortment of world topics means you are equipped to aid the community in multiple ways. Here are some stepping stones to becoming a responsible global citizen:
The world is not as it was 50, or even 100 years ago. Every country has citizens who have immigrated there from somewhere else, and this means that we all have a responsibility to understand where someone else has come from and take into account their current situation. It is crucial not to make rash judgements or assumptions about somebody’s past. Taking care of the people in your community is the first step to being a responsible global citizen.
Advocating for an organization you feel connected to will make you motivated to seek change and find solutions to worldwide problems. Sharing ideas with like-minded individuals is at the heart of a liberal arts education, and is something which you can apply to your support for a cause. Being a part of the decision-making process for the purpose of change is an uplifting experience which will inspire your participation in other local and global initiatives.
Organizing Community Events
Community events have always succeeded at bringing people together who, even though they don’t know each other, can enjoy each other’s presence. Events which celebrate diverse music, spirituality, language, culture, dances and traditions, promote good spirits and a sense of community. These types of events are non-exclusive, often free, and their locality makes them accessible to everyone. Organizing a community event can promote a greater sense of companionship where you live and overall improving the quality of life. Becoming involved in organizing events also builds good leadership skills for future initiatives you may undertake.