This November AFS will become 100 years old, and to commemorate its centennial a myriad of activities around the world have been and will be organized. One of the events is the 100 Years Young! AFS Youth Workshop and Symposium which will gather over 100 youth representatives. Including preparatory team members and facilitators, we come from 39 different countries from all parts of the world! Even though many participants are AFSers, in total we represent 30 different organizations.The 100 Years Young! project is divided in two phases: first, a virtual phase which started a month ago, and second, an in-person phase, when more than half of the virtual participants will come together in Paris for a two-day Youth Workshop and Symposium at the UNESCO headquarters.
Over the first month of the virtual phase we have been reflecting on what global citizenship means for us. Using an online learning tool that incorporates social networking features participants were divided in small groups, in which everyone shared their own opinion, leading the group to a collective definition of Global Citizenship.
Here are some of the outcomes from the groups:
“We believe the word ‘global’ refers to something way wider than just ‘different countries’. Global is like general, it involves ‘everything’ and ‘everyone’. Being a global citizen means a lot more than just understanding and respecting the culture of someone from another country. There might be many different cultures in your own country, city or even neighborhood. Being a global citizen means respecting and understanding people in a global and individual sphere. If we want to be global citizens, we have also to think about local problems which stop us from going ahead. When thinking about global citizenship, it’s important to consider that some people are denied even the privilege of being a CITIZEN for their religion, gender, ethnic differences, sexual orientation, socio-economic class. Global citizenship is about a lot more than just different countries. It’s about understanding and respecting all sorts of differences.”
“Global citizenship is the responsibility and sense of empathy for fair and just global development, as well as education for human rights, for sustainable solutions for the environment, prevention in order to stay out of conflict and keep peace in the world and finally increasing the level of intercultural education as well as diversity education. Also, Global citizenship evokes values in its participants that are of openness, pride, motivation and future oriented mindset.”
After reflecting on what Global Citizenship means for us, we decided to explore this concept among the people around us. For the next part of the virtual activities participants were asked to interview someone from their communities.
Check out this great interview Lise-Maria and Kyrre from Norway did!
In the upcoming weeks participants will be divided in 4 different tracks, each focusing on a different stakeholder and discussing their role in education of global citizens. Participants will be able to share their own perspectives, but also learn about the experiences and thoughts of others. The final outcomes will be presented at the AFS Youth Symposium at UNESCO.
This post has been contributed by Guillermo Bril of AFS Argentina & Uruguay.