We must foster global citizenship. Education is about more than literacy and numeracy. It is also about citizenry. Education must fully assume its essential role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful and tolerant societies.
– UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 26 September 2012 at the launch of the Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI)
The 2013 Strategic Plan added two words to the mission statement – “global” and “leading”. The final version reads:
Poughkeepsie Day School develops educated global citizens with a passion for learning, leading and living.
That plan also has as part of its first goal the concept of cultural competency – the ability to work and communicate across boundaries and frontiers and social and cultural barriers.
That plan also establishes the desired outcomes of a PDS education one of which is:
Poughkeepsie Day School graduates engaged educated global citizens who think globally with awareness and understanding of complexity and multiple perspectives and who have compassion and empathy, and commit to their communities.
This means that in an increasingly globalized world we seek to educate people equipped to deal with challenges known and unforeseen and also assess and take advantage of opportunities.
So – what is a global citizen? How is such citizenship developed? And why does it matter?
Here is some guidance from UNESCO – the UN specialized agency for education, that has education for peace and sustainable development as the overarching goal of its education program with empowered global citizens as an objective.
UNESCO acknowledges that this is not a straightforward matter. The ongoing tensions with the concepts of global citizenship and global citizenship education primarily concern the balance between universality and singularity. That is – the tension between the collective and the individual.
In thinking about what it means at PDS a comparable tension resides in thinking through what we all have in common and must work together on versus the essential uniqueness of the individual we must cherish.
It’s the fundamental question of balance: How to promote universality (e.g. common and collective identity, community, interest, participation, duty), while respecting singularity (e.g. individual rights, self-improvement).
So as we further define what we mean by “educated global citizen” here’s a definition from the Oxfam (UK). Its Curriculum for Global Citizenship defines a ‘global citizen’ as someone who: