Global Citizenship

2017-18: Promise and Peril of a Global Community


Global Theme 2017-18: Promise and Peril of a Global Community

The college's definition of global citizenship declares that to be a global citizen a person "understands the interdependence that holds both promise and peril for the future of the global community."  Over the ten years since that definition was accepted by the college community, global citizenship has been under increased scrutiny.  Nationalist sentiment in Britain has led to Brexit, a withdrawal from the European Union.  Nationalist sentiment helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency.  Widely associated with his policy to build a wall, Trump underscored the importance of borders and boundaries at a time when the internet and international commerce seemed to downplay them. Conversely, we decry the rigid border enforced by the North Koreans. 

Ideas of identity, too, have come under scrutiny.  Is a city such as Paris "transnational" or French?  Can a city become so transnational or cosmopolitan that it loses its local identity?  In its worst excesses, globalization—not to be confused with global citizenship—hints at a Starbucks, MacDonald's, and Zara on every main street.  But does our current international commerce undercut efforts to preserve natural resources and our worldwide eco-system?Finally, does being a global citizen preclude being an American citizen?  If not, what is the promise and what is the peril of embracing both?