Saturday, 22 December 2012

Australia's Role in Global Citizenship

The readings for this week have highlighted how Australia is one of the world leaders in being globally responsible, influential and respected, helping poorer nations with foreign aid such as disaster relief, immunization, education and employment. The term ‘global citizen’ is thrown around when talking about Australia as a whole but this makes me wonder… Is it enough to say that Australia as a nation is a global citizen, or do we need to take a Gestalt approach and look separately at the people who make up the nation? How can we say that a country is a global world leader without looking at the people that constitute it? Just because a nation delivers foreign aid to countries in need doesn’t mean that all Australians respect cultural diversity and warrant being called global citizens. Perhaps we should focus on using education to instill cultural awareness in each citizen so that Australia can be a true ‘global citizen’ – one made up of a population of global citizens.

I have an issue with the article “Training Future Members of the World With an Understanding of Global Citizenship”. The Oxfam definition of global citizenship seems to suggest that only wealthier societies can become global citizens because these are the societies receiving education about the world and the issues going on. In other words, the definition only caters to the people who are financially able to help versus those who may be global citizens in other regards but lack the money to afford education. I think this is the wrong way to define global citizenship. Yes, I think education is a key component of global citizenship like I mentioned previously and we should work to educate the poor about the world but even without education, I believe they could still be global citizens.

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