Question of the Year

For the past three years I have asked audiences, “Where have you been and what have you done that has changed your life forever?”

I have gotten responses that include travel to different countries and continents, witnessing human rights abuses and inequalities, seeing environmental degradation, working on disaster response teams, growing up during the civil rights movement, serving in the military… the list goes on. And then I launch into Village Wisdom, telling the story that changed my life -all in an effort to define this thing called “global citizenship.” Why am I touting global citizenship? Partially out of my responsibility to share information about global issues, but more importantly, in hopes to inspire others to experience, discover and engage life more fully.

I have had the pleasure and honor of developing relationships with folks from all walks of life who share my passion for the journey. It is through them that I have developed my definition of global citizenship. (See below.)

Lucas Parry, Founder of First Generation

I have discovered that the key to being a global citizen is not in where you have been and what you have done that has changed your life, but rather, what are you doing about it? Unless our behaviors and actions reflect our values, the change is not genuine. Join me in “global citizen development”. I challenge myself and you to always be looking for that next step. What’s next on my path? How can my actions demonstrate my values even more?

What is Global Citizenship?

There’s no consensus for defining this term; nor is there a definitive process for achieving global citizen status. Global citizenship is not a legal attainment, nor a medal of honor. It is not a destination, but rather a journey.

Global citizenship is a chosen path. Effective “sojourning” requires a moral and ethical disposition which seeks to serve, learn and grow. Global citizenship goes beyond simply knowing about global issues; it is reflected in the action we take and the decisions we make as a result of our care for the Earth and its inhabitants. A global citizen is one who takes responsibility at all levels – individual, community, nation and world. Global citizenship is a holistic way of life which deliberately and intentionally integrates values, motivations, knowledge and experience, resulting in altered behaviors. Global citizenship does not rival patriotism; it simply means thinking beyond one’s own country and making lifestyle choices that promote a “win” for everyone. Global citizenship may or may not involve actual travel to other countries, but it certainly requires an intentional step outside of internal and external borders into the lives of others. Also key to being an effective global citizen is having concern for the inequalities (both social and economic) and the environmental degradation that pose risks to the sustainability of the human race.

About Carrie Wagner

Author, Photographer, Speaker, Educator
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