Education for Sustainable Development (ESD),
Global Citizenship, and Curriculum Development


Global Citizenship Education

Depending on the way that education for Global Citizenship is defined, ESD and Global Citizenship have considerable overlap and many would consider that a global citizen would naturally embrace concepts of environmental stewardship, social justice, ethics, wellbeing and a 'futures perspective' as suggested in the quotations below.

Global Citizenship Education is a sometimes-contested term that lacks a single standard definition. One definition of global citizenship, that pays reference to the complexity of the term, yet is quite clear, is from the United Nations Academic Hub on Global Citizenship. It states that;

Global citizenship is an umbrella term for the social, political, environmental, or economic actions of globally-minded individuals and communities on a worldwide scale. The term can refer to the belief that, rather than actors affecting isolated societies, individuals are members of multiple, diverse, local and non-local networks. Global citizenship is an interdisciplinary lens through which to analyse the history and development of our changing world. Although there is no standard definition of global citizenship, there are common topics that guide conversations in the field.

It goes on to state that common global citizenship topics are 'corporate responsibility, cultural identity, economic fairness, education, environment, gender equality, globalization, health, human rights, peace, social entrepreneurship, social justice, and sustainable development.'

This lack of a standard definition also means Global Citizenship is a flexible and multifaceted term, though some would say this allows some degree of 'picking and choosing'. Personal understandings of the concept will be influenced by an individual’s own experiences and perceptions.

Global citizenship is more than learning about seemingly complex 'global issues' such as sustainable development, conflict and international trade - important as these are. It is also about the global dimension to local issues, which are present in all our lives, localities, and communities.

(Brownlie , A. (2001). Citizenship Education: the global dimension, guidance for key stages 3 and 4. London, UK: Development Education Association.)

Certainly, global citizenship is not determined merely by the number of languages one speaks, or the number of countries to which one has travelled. I have many friends who could be considered quite ordinary citizens, but who possess an inner nobility; who have never travelled beyond their native place, yet who are genuinely concerned for the peace and prosperity of the world.

Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship, a presentation by Daisaku Ikeda (1996)

In 2013 the HEA-funded a Teaching Development Grants project at MMU, Global Citizens, Global Futures, to explore student and staff concepts of global citizenship and to pilot a student award via MMU Futures. This project occurred over fifteen-months and provided the impetus for further strategic initiatives and for a student society. There is also an online Global Citizens Enquiry that explores definitions of Global Citizenship further.