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by Sophie Rodriguez, student writer

 

Dr. Carlos Juarez, dean of HPU’s College of International Studies, opened the Oct. 28th symposium and introduced Baruah, associate director of the Yadunandan Center for India Studies and a geography faculty member at California State University, Long Beach.

In front of nearly 165 students, Baruah began by addressing polarized views on global citizenship. Some believe, she said, that every human by way of living on the globe is inherently a global citizen. Others believe there is no such thing as a global citizen because the law defines citizenship as duty to one’s country. Her views lie somewhere in the middle.

According to Baruah, global citizenship is a realization of the huge range of perspectives that operate in our world. Global citizenship means we avoid ethnocentric mind sets. It also means having the humility to admit that we may not have all the answers or even know the real problem. She emphasized education and understanding as the tools by which change will occur. We need to be understanding of different beliefs and values, be aware of their complexity, and not label or judge, she said.

Baruah also stressed the importance of what she calls responsible local living: “The problems we think are far away may actually be on our doorstep,” she said, such transnational issues as war, global warming, and human rights are redefining citizenship on a global scale. Weather, for example does not respect national boundaries.

In the absence of a global lawmaking body, the responsibility falls to all citizens to bring about local change that can have global implications.

Baruah was followed by two presentations: “Historical Perspective on Globalization and Global Issues,” by Dr. Mark Gilbert, and “Globalization and Oil,” by Dr. Jon Davidann. Gilbert, who holds HPU’s National Endowment for the Humanities Endowed Chair in World History, focused on historical examples of globalization and its effects. He cited the Black Death and the impact of Islam on the medieval and the modern worlds as examples. According to Dr. Gilbert, miniaturization technologies, satellite links, the benefits to large companies afforded by economy of scale, and recent migration trends, are all examples of globalization in its present day form.

Davidann, associate professor of history at HPU and author of A World of Crises and Progress: The American YMCA in Japan, wrapped up the morning presentations with an informational speech on what he referred to as the “three Ds”: American domination of the oil market, the environmental degradation caused by the extraction and transportation of oil, and the crisis that will be caused by the depletion of oil sources as we see a peak in oil production.

After the presentations, attendees organized into discussion forums, lead by Global Leadership and Organizational Change Club members and faculty. Students were asked to participate in formulating individual action plans to aid them in becoming better global citizens.

For lunch, in the tradition of global commerce, students bartered for buffet items.

The Global Citizenship Symposiums are held twice a year and are intended to enhance student’s awareness of global issues. For the spring, HPU will take on the topic of sustainability. Students who are interested in campus sustainability, or in global leadership, are invited to GLOC club meetings every Wednesday, 4 p.m. in MP 103.

 

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