This brings us to the pertinent question: What
is a global citizen?
We are finding that this question is not as straightforward
and clear-cut as it appears to be in our school’s mission statement.
We discovered in our previous two student symposia that a person
does not become of citizen of the globe by simply existing in
it. While we may be members of a culturally diverse university,
we must stretch ourselves to go beyond our own zones of comfort
and familiarity; we must make an effort to see the world through
other people’s eyes and learn from our differences. If
we do not, we could go through our time here at HPU without
truly interacting with each other in a meaningful way or developing
an idea of what it means to be a global citizen.
As individuals, we are shaped by our own experiences and values
growing up. Growing up in either an affluent neighborhood,
or in a neighborhood where access to resources is severely
will shape whether one’s concern about subsistence, just
surviving each day, necessarily dominates a sense of obligation
to the environment, or to the welfare of other nations and
As majors of different disciplines, you construct your reality
of the world from very different frameworks. What a global
citizen means for a business major may be very different from
studies major, an international studies major, or a student
of military diplomacy. A business major may consider most important
being able to work effectively in a variety of cultural situations
and languages to promote free enterprise.
An environmental studies major might be more concerned with
the impact an individual, a community, or a culture has on
resources of the globe.
An anthropology major might have concerns about what effort
we, as students in Hawai‘i, have made to understand Hawaiian
cultural values and history. The attitudes we hold about our
role as visitors must surely help define the kind of global
citizen we are in practice.
The third student symposium is an outgrowth of the two previous
ones. In our first student symposium in fall 2003, 23 undergraduate
students from LIT 2510, a world literature course, presented
their ideas of what global citizenship meant to them. When
we first opened up the discussion on global citizenship, the
terms “globalization” and “global
citizenship” were being used interchangeably.
Discussions within groups made it clear that “globalization” and “global
citizenship” are two distinct concepts.
In the second symposium in the spring of 2004, “globalization” was
examined from a business, history, and English studies perspective,
and “global citizenship” from an anthropology,
global leadership, and English studies perspective. While this
clarified many of the differences between the two concepts,
it was clear that we were progressing toward returning the
symposium to the audience. It is now time for students to actively
contribute to developing a better sense of what characteristics
are important to becoming, and to being, a global citizen.