In an ever more globalized, interconnected and interdependent world, young learners today are confronted with complex social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges which cannot be understood or solved only locally but require a collaborative response across borders. It is essential that children and youth are empowered to understand and address these challenges and act as responsible global citizens.
Educational approaches, therefore, increasingly put emphasis on the importance of values, attitudes and communication skills as a critical complement to cognitive information processing skills. While in educational planning so far, much emphasis has been put on “learning to know” and “learning to do”, a shift is currently underway to also focus on “learning to be” and “learning to live together”. Global Citizenship refers to a sense of belonging to the global community and common humanity, with its presumed members experiencing solidarity while respecting diversity, and collective responsibility at the global level.
This implies rethinking education and how it can contribute to the formation of global citizenship, for, as the Director-General of UNESCO states, “Education holds the keys to a more peaceful and a more prosperous 21st century. It is essential for individual dignity and a motor for sustainable development. Teachers stand at the heart of this vision. Today we need more teachers and better quality teachers.”
UNESCO is leading a new Global Citizenship movement - one of the 3 pillars of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) - considering schools and teachers as active contributors to a peaceful and sustainable future.
Global Citizenship can generate actions and engagement among and for the members of the international society, through civic actions in the public domain, to promote a better world and future. And it is, necessarily, based on and respects the universal values of human rights, democracy, justice, non-discrimination, diversity and sustainability.
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