Position Statement

Over the past three years, we have conducted extensive research to find out how students, Faculty and administrators understand global citizenship and what kinds of curricula would support this understanding. In conjunction with our literature review and consultation with the Working Group, we have generated the following guiding concepts and terminology to carry this work forward.

What is global citizenship?


Global citizenship goes beyond international awareness and moves towards an understanding and enactment of the rights and responsibilities each person has to contribute to an equitable, sustainable and just world. It signifies the transformation of national conceptions of citizenship to make space for inclusive and transnational ways for people to participate and make sense of who they are and the rights and obligations each has toward humanity and the environment. Further, it involves processes of negotiating identities and effecting agency towards the realization of global interdependence that has emerged through globalization. These relationships and processes serve to both reflect and challenge existing social contracts, connecting citizens to one another.

What is global citizenship education (GCE)?


Global citizenship education is a response to the need to rethink the role of individuals and communities within the context of global social, economic and political relations including differences and inequities. GCE goes beyond a knowledge base of global issues, and includes knowledge of how to reflexively understand and interact with those issues. It is a broad based systemic approach to learning, which extends disciplines, demands critical thinking, deep engagement, and the generation of creative and socially just approaches to understanding the complex questions of the contemporary global context.

GCE involves linking local and global issues and perspectives and may include such topics as human rights, social justice, and citizenship education, sustainable development, and globalization. It engages all levels of students in a study of the global challenges and achievements based on a common humanity, a shared planet, and a shared future.

Guiding Values Include:


  • Commitment to equity, diversity and social justice
  • Reciprocity, respectful recognition, mutual exchange
  • Universal access, enfranchisement and agency

Global Citizenship Education Foci:


  • Focuses on rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the local and global implications for these
  • Teaches about diversity- including bio-diversity, economic diversity, political diversity, and human diversity (including race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability, culture and religion) with the understanding that diversity is necessary for life
  • Focuses on active global citizenship, whereby students are not only aware of their rights, but are able and eager to act upon their agency
  • Presents multiple perspectives including respect for multiple knowledge systems (for example, indigenous) as well as multiple historical perspectives

Global Citizenship Education Practices:


Practices necessary for global citizenship education include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Ability to think critically and reflexively about one's own place in the world
  • Understanding that we share a common humanity and shared planet
  • Ability to act for the common good with regard for local and global consequences