Global Citizenship - The Power of Higher Education Institutions

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Jul 08, 2014
by Luke Stevenson
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Global Citizenship - The Power of Higher Education Institutions

Faculty and administrators from 20 colleges and high schools come to Salzburg to help create "sites of global citizenship" Salzburg Global Director of Education Jochen Fried with participants of GCP 59

Colleges and universities are vital institutions for addressing political, social, and economic concerns, be they at a local, national, or global level. The American social revolution of the 1960s is a great example of the power within higher education institutions to build people and thinkers who challenge the status quo and tackle the concerns within their country.

Educated young minds have time and again proved their worth by contributing to social protests regarding the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and the current gay rights movement, which have helped shape the society we live in today. The increasingly international environment in which these institutions operate provide more opportunities - and challenges - for their students to become socially aware and active.

Salzburg Global Seminar has long since recognized the value of higher education institutions in creating the next generation of global citizens, with its Global Citizenship Program (GCP) (formerly known as the International Study Program) running since 2004. In addition to bringing students to Salzburg for several GCP sessions per year, Salzburg Global also hosts GCP sessions for the faculty and administrators of the institutions from which these students come to further embed the values and teaching of global citizenship in these centers for learning.

For the next two weeks faculty and administrators from 18 colleges and two high schools will come to Salzburg to examine the role their institutions play in helping develop globally-minded and socially-aware leaders as we continue into the 21st century. By convening both professors together with administrative staff, the two week-long sessions - entitled "Education for Global Citizenship: What, Why and How?" will explore the role the whole college and high school system can play in prioritizing global education and citizenship at higher education institutions, not only through teaching but also by developing other supporting programs that can take advantage of the new opportunities afforded by rapid globalization in inspiring future generations.

While universities, colleges and high schools are often central to their local communities, the developing technological age has given students the opportunities to become global citizens, who once could affect change in their nations, but now have the potential of doing it across physical borders. How their educators prepare them for this will be vital in not only how these global citizens might be involved in future social movements, but also how they will live and work in the complex interdependent society of today and the future, and contribute to improving the common global welfare of our planet and its inhabitants.

The more than 70 participants over the two sessions will debate and develop action plans for what roles college and high schools have in preparing their students as leaders in the 21st century, what skills their students need to be active global citizens and how as educators can effectively equip them for the challenge. Furthermore they will aim to build links between the people at the session on how those committed to global education can learn from and support one another.

The plans developed in Salzburg will then be taken back to the participants' respective colleges and universities to be implemented into their existing institutional activities. Alternatively the participants can use what they develop over the session to innovate new approaches on how to expand education for global citizenship, and help advance the goal of the Global Citizenship Program: to foster deep and sustainable institutional change that will allow Salzburg Global's partner schools and colleges to become "sites of global citizenship" and inspire, develop and motivate the global citizens, leaders and social revolutionaries of the future.