“Education gives us a profound understanding that we are tied together as citizens of the global community, and that our challenges are interconnected.”

Ban Ki-moon

What is “Global Citizenship”?


Fostering Global Citizenship is priority 3 of the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First initiative (GEFI). The GEFI talks about global citizenship in these ways:

“The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. These interconnected global challenges call for far-reaching changes in how we think and act for the dignity of fellow human beings.”

“Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century.”

We live in an interconnected world, with a growing focus on becoming more globally-minded. You will often hear organizations, including CISV, use the term “global citizenship,” or talk about educating or creating “active global citizens.”

What Is A Global Citizen?

A global citizen is someone who is

  • aware of the world and has a sense of their role in it;
  • respects and values diversity, and is knowledgeable of and works against social injustices;
  • has an understanding of the world, and participates in communities at all levels (from local to global);
  • and lastly, takes responsibility for their actions and beliefs.

To become a global citizen, you will have to be creative, flexible, dedicated, and proactive. Global citizens take an active part in the world community, and are committed to helping build a better world for us all.

Books and Films that Inspire Active Global Citizenship


  • Mosquito Tactics (CISV Sweden book)

  • How to Change the World: social entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas by David Bornstein

  • Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson

  • The Power of Unreasonable People: how social entrepreneurs create markets that change the world by John Elkington & Pamela Hartigan

  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

  • Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity-My Own and What It Means to Be a Woman in Chaos by Manal M. Omar

  • The philosophy of Human rights by Patrick Hayden, in particular Richard Rorty's thoughts about "sentimental education", p.241-256.
Movies (All based on books)
  • Pay it Forward A movie about a 11 year old kid that comes up with a "Pay it forward" plan, which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for a third party rather than paying the favor back.

  • Freedom Writers A story based on Woodrow Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach, California. The title is a play on the term "Freedom Riders", referring to the multiracial civil rights activists who tested the U.S. Supreme Court decision ordering the desegregation of interstate buses in 1961.

  • Desert Flower A movie about the life of a Somali model, Waris Dirie.