New Year, New Name - ISP Becomes the Global Citizenship Program

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Jan 12, 2013
by Louise Hallman
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New Year, New Name - ISP Becomes the Global Citizenship Program

2013 sees new name and new partnerships for Seminar’s longest-running program Kwasi Boateng from Bronx Community College takes the floor during the GCP session in April 2012

If all good things must come to an end, a quick glance at the 2013 Salzburg Global Seminar program listing would suggest that the well-renowned International Study Program (ISP) has disappeared. But fear not! The Seminar’s longest-running program has not vanished, but been renamed the Global Citizenship Program.

Besides its new name, 2013 introduces a number of new facets to the Global Citizenship Program (GCP): the year will also see newly revised week-long programs launched and new partnerships being formed.

What’s in a name?

In essence, the International Study Program has always been a global citizenship program – indeed that principle has been at the very heart of the program since it was established in 2004 with its first two partners, Miami Dade College in Florida and Iowa State University.

The need for the new name, explains Dr. Jochen Fried, Salzburg Global Seminar’s Director of Education, came from the growing recognition of the distinction between ‘international’ and ‘global.’

“Global and international are not the same,” says Fried, who has been leading the Seminar’s higher education programs since 1999.  

“Global is the combination that is planetary and local at the same time – like climate change. Is climate change local? Of course it’s local – you experience it locally! But at the other end, it cannot be addressed on the local level alone. You can’t escape it by shrinking it to its local or national dimension. So it is global in reach.

“That is different from the ‘era of international’ when governments were basically still able to protect the people within a nation state against unwanted external influences and disruptions. For example, in economics they used tariffs, customs or import quotas to deliver on their promise, which is to preserve and promote the well-being of their citizens. But in a globalized world, the power and capacity of the traditional political actors, including governments, to do so is eroding.”

Many of the aspects that have made the ISP/GCP unique inevitably remain. Since its beginnings, the GCP has sought not only to inspire and enact change within individual participants and their peer groups at their home colleges or universities. Rather, the GCP has aspired to change the very higher education institutions from which the students, faculty and administrators come.

“[The GCP] was not just for the few select people to have a pleasant week in Salzburg but actually to become change agents in their own right, on their own campuses, which in turn requires the institutions to take a strategic approach in sending participants to Salzburg,” explains Fried.

“You can’t expect people to spend a week in Salzburg on an intense week-long program on global citizenship to come back and suddenly make everything change unless you empower them on their own campuses to do so.”

For many participating colleges and universities, the selection of students to come to the four annual week-long programs at Schloss Leopoldskron is very competitive. 

Of Miami Dade College, the largest higher education institution in the United States with around 170,000 students, only the best 50 students of its 800-strong honors program are chosen each year.

The annual faculty and administrators program, hosted at Salzburg during the summer break is equally selective.

Fried says that the GCP partner institutions have become very deliberate in appointing (and sponsoring) those who get to come to this program.

“Our partners understand that real change is a long-term effort and requires the buy-in of all the stakeholders, particularly of all faculty and administrators. So it’s the combination that the GCP is offering which makes the difference – that students, faculty and administrators are not just being sent on a short-term study abroad trip or a faculty development exercise in a vacuum. We tell our partners from the start that, if they do it right, over time they will build critical mass on their campus that they can draw upon to plant global citizenship education into the DNA of their institutions.”

Moving on

The program now has some 2500 alumni from almost 80 partner institutions. Many of these students have gone on to pursue higher degrees or seek employment in the international and global arena (and many have returned to Salzburg for SGS’s own internship program); the movement into these areas of study and employment is something many admit they would never have considered had it not been for their time in Salzburg.

The GCP staff in Salzburg, who include David Goldman, Associate Director of Education, Astrid Schroeder, GCP Program Director and Ginte Stankeviciute, the Salzburg Academies’ Program Associate, are trying to support students who want to actively move on from the program, identifying organizations into which graduates can place their global citizenship and social justice-seeking efforts, beyond the scope of those NGOs which are fairly obvious like Amnesty International, Greenpeace and UNICEF, etc.

But it’s not just the students who have ‘graduated’ from the program.

Of the 50 to 60 institutions currently active within the program, many, by virtue of the training of faculty and administrators through both sessions held in Salzburg and the on-site workshops offered at their campuses by the GCP team, have now fully embedded global citizenship into their programs and curricula.

Some institutions have even gone so far as to win national awards for their own global citizenship programs.

They are now ready to take their global citizenship education to the next level. As such, the GCP staff is constantly adjusting the program to partner institutions’ needs and specific requests.

This year, for example, all student sessions will have a specific thematic focus – ‘Global Citizenship and Universal Human Rights,’ ‘Global Citizenship: Ethics and Engagement,’ and ‘Pathways to Global Citizenship: Roots and Routes’ – in addition to the long-running ‘Global Citizenship: At Home and in the World,’ designed with the multi-time returning partners in mind.

Unlikely partners

The partner institutions of the Global Citizenship Program have thus far been all US-based colleges and universities.

But that is not to say that the students have been by any means the traditional image of an all-American student.

“It has become a characteristic of the GCP that we bring together very unlikely partners, and these unlikely partnerships have in and of itself become an asset of the program,” says Fried.

“The HCBUs [Historically Black Universities and Colleges] come together with the Appalachian colleges which serve a very different population; then you have the biggest US higher education institution [Miami Dade College, Florida]; as well as other large and small, urban and rural, community colleges mixing with the splendour and very wealthy liberal arts colleges, like the University of San Francisco. Everyone is coming together.

“This diversity is a unique strength of the GCP and adds a crucial element to the impact that participants and partner institutions alike attest: when it comes to global citizenship, it doesn’t matter where you are coming from—we need to get the same mindset. If we remain stuck in our boxes, we are missing the most elementary lesson of what global citizenship ultimately is all about.”

These unlikely partnerships are deliberate, encouraging students to confront, discuss and understand the national, linguistic, ethnic, religious, social and economic range and multiformity  alive in their own country of study, as well as the world at large. 

Whilst the GCP grew out of the Salzburg Global Seminar’s Universities Project, it is from community colleges that many of the GCP’s participants come. Dubbed by some as the “Ellis Island of US higher education,” these two-year institutions are often more diverse and more globalized than any other segment in US academia. 

"Take for example Kingsborough Community College,” says Fried. “23,000 [students] in Brooklyn, NY; like so many US institutions they have all the flags up of where they have students coming from. In the case of Kingsborough, there are 142 country flags. I doubt that except for the UN there are too many other institutions even in New York that are composed of a similar number of nationalities.

“But we are not romanticizing this. There is the flip-side of globalization and there are clashes in this world. In a very real sense, community colleges of this type are pre-figuring the world as a global village, which will be our daily experience more and more in the future.”

These sort of diverse institutions are a good fit for the GCP because, as Fried says, “They are already globalized, and they are all about providing opportunities for the less privileged.”

Another new aspect of this year’s program is the active international expansion and invitation of non-American institutions to the program, starting with the July faculty and administrators session.

From there, Fried hopes to expand and, in the near future, have students from these other countries participate alongside their American peers, similar to the three-week Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.

Building from the ground up As the Global Citizenship Program forges new ground in 2013 with its new name, new programs and new partners, its ethos will stay the same.

In its recruitment and expansion, the GCP will continue to put an emphasis on the broadest possible crosscut of partner institutions.

According to Fried, for many, globalization has the distinct flavour of corporate elites dividing up power and wealth among themselves.

To a certain extent, especially in the United States, this is also reflected in whose children get access to the exclusive and expensive universities.

“The GCP combines academic rigor and a spirit of democratic egalitarianism, as it befits a program promoting citizenship with a global perspective.  

“That is kind of the pre-consideration that is critical for the idea of global citizenship writ large: all voices must be taken into account,” explains Fried.

“Those who are in the margins experience the impact of globalization in a way that those who call the shots in globalization will never know. And when you experience globalization from below, you probably have more answers for how to address troubles in the global village... 

“The constellation of our partner institutions reflects the spirit of what we mean by ‘global citizenship’ – it’s empowerment from below.”


The Global Citizenship Program will this year run on the following dates: February 28-March 7, March 24-31, May 19-25, May 25-June 1, with the faculty and administrators program on July 14-21 entitled ‘Education for Global Citizenship: What, Why and How’.

To find out how your institution can be part of the program, please contact Astrid Schroeder, Global Citizenship Program Director: aschroeder@salzburgglobal.org

We do not accept applications directly from students. Interested students must apply through their home institutions. To find out if your college or university is a partner, please visit our website.