Developing Agency for Global Citizenship through the Implementation of Human Rights Education
The world we live in today is one in which we can communicate to people on other continents instantly through Skype, Email, Facebook, and even by telephone. We have more cross-cultural encounters presently than in any other time in the history of our planet through the means of industrialization that in turn, has now manifested into globalization. Through this notion of globalization, our world is really only a couple of decades old. Upon the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Communism, our new existence was conceived. This conception resulted in the mass overhaul of what it meant to be a citizen. No longer were we participants in a nation-state infrastructure, but instead, we became participants of the world. Everything we do affects individuals world-wide. Consumerism, communication, and other daily tasks and choices we make expose us to global contact though we are often not cognizant of it. With this being said, our education system is set up to promote national citizenry instead of this novel concept of global citizenry. Gaudelli & Fernekes (2004) describe this idea of global citizenship as being “contingent with a process of imagining the world in new ways that transcend a nation-state fixation while embracing peace, diversity, complexity, and temporal awareness” (p.17). Internationally, the United States is falling behind in promoting this idea of global citizenry, as other post-industrial and first world nations have already adopted this concept into their curriculums. There is resistance to this curriculum, naturally, since it involves major changes which could pose a threat to the state. However, curriculum developers and policy makers must be conscious of how outdated the nation-state fixation lens is in our compulsory education. Our goal as educators is to prepare our students for the problems of tomorrow that they will inherit. These issues are no longer confined to the borders of our nation, but extend from both poles, north to south, and from the prime meridian to the equator. The problems of tomorrow are global problems that will affect us all as members of the human race. Inherent to this idea of global citizenry is human rights education. Gaudelli & Fernekes state that human rights education “is a core element of the transcendent move toward a global civic culture, establishing a foundation for fairness and justice that is potentially universal” (p.17). Central to our role as citizens is knowing our rights, and as global citizens we must know our human rights since these are universal and applicable to all nations. In my capstone, I will address the necessity for human rights education through a historical analysis of how this globalized world formed and its caveats that we must prepare our students for, the inadequacies of the current education infrastructure in promoting global citizenry, and how human rights education promotes global citizenry. I will then discuss the practical application of human rights education, considering the ways in which teachers must teach the subject, and the realities of implementing such a curriculum. Finally, I will discuss the validity in promoting global citizenry through human rights education.