25 November 2021 at 12:01 pm

Making global citizenship education a national priority

An international forum has been told that global citizenship education is about much more than turning out people who can say they are well-travelled.

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The webinar – a collaboration between Education New Zealand and AFS Intercultural Programs – canvassed the concrete steps that policymakers and educators can take to put global citizenship front and centre in curricula, teacher education and daily practice. 

Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs, said the essence of global citizenship is being able to understand how we are connected, listen to other perspectives and take collective action.

“Global citizenship is not about stamps in passports, it’s about understanding our interdependence and our shared responsibility for our local communities and the world,” said Mr Obst.

It is mission-critical that governments invest in global citizenship education and expand access to global competence if we are to tackle the challenges of the 21st century, he said.

Around 130 experts tuned in for the ‘Making global citizenship education a national priority’ webinar – timed to follow the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit hosted by New Zealand in mid-November.

Carla Rey Vasquez, ENZ’s Global Citizens Manager, said the New Zealand International Education Strategy 2018 - 2030 is an example of best practice in signalling clear government support for global citizenship and giving government agencies a roadmap to work with.

“Fostering global citizenship is the glue that connects; is pivotal for raising the educational outcomes for both international and domestic students and helping us grow global connections,” said Ms Rey Vasquez.

Other nations could follow the New Zealand example and broaden the focus of the international student experience from academic education alone to cultural and social values, she said.

Romina Kasman, Head of Education Sector at UNESCO’s Multicountry Office, said global citizenship must be part of a holistic ecosystem.

“Global citizenship education must not be left to chance if we want to ensure equitable and inclusive access to it worldwide,” she said.

Lit Wei Chin, APEC youth representative and Auckland Unlimited’s Climate Change and Sustainability Executive, said the voices of young people were important to global citizenship.

Young people cannot be just a tick-box – they must be heard on the issues of the global economy, quality education, climate action, equity and empowerment of marginalized communities, he said.

Watch the full webinar – Making global citizenship education a national priority.

ENZ’s webinar partner – AFS Intercultural Programs – is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organisation that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.

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