In the World, of the World, Participating with Compassion.
Passport to Global Citizenship
In Episode #20 Lainie & Miro take a look at what being a ‘Global citizen’ really means. Then, Lainie interviews a young global citizen in New York, named Sal Lavallo, author of the stimulating blog YoungGlobalCitizen.com
In Episode #20, Miro and Lainie take a look at their lives as a Global Citizen. They explore the ideas surrounding this concept, and invite you, to consider yourselves as global participant.
Lainie and Miro have come up with some ideas as to what being a global citizen means to them.
“I have no country to fight for: my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.”
~Eugene V. Debs
What is a Global Citizen?
- A person who perceives the interconnectedness of all life and living, and who’s actions reflect this knowing.
- A person who has the courage NOT to fear or deny our differences.
- A global citizen is a person with compassion, and maintains an imaginative empathy that reaches beyond our immediate surrounding, and extends our hearts to those suffering in distant places.
- A global citizen respects our individual cultures, and grows from encounters with them.
- Being a global citizen is a state of being all of those things which flows though our attitudes, actions and perspectives. Is being a global citizen a new concept though?
Global Citizenship- A New Concept?
‘Global Citizenship’ is a fairly new term, but it is based on ancient concepts. Both, the Ancient Romans and the Ancient Greeks, defined a ‘citizen’ as someone who not only ‘belonged’ to a place, but was also someone who played a role in advancing society. As the theory of ‘citizenship’ developed and interaction between different countries and cultures increased, several Ancient Greeks and Romans began to call themselves ‘citizens of the world’. They started to look at their lives in a much wider context.
These historical references show that citizenship has never been simply about ‘belonging’ to a physical place, culture or country. It was about making positive changes that contributed to the wellbeing and , the wider environment.
When asked where he came from, the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes replied, ”I am a citizen of the world”. Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, wrote, “My country is the world. My countrymen are mankind”, and Albert Einstein once wrote, “Nationalism is an infantile sickness. It is the measles of the human race.”
As you can see, this is not a new concept. Three great thinkers, were hugely aware of the need for global citizenship, and their messages remain relevant to us today.
Interconnectedness – We are all One
Global citizenship implies we are all interdependent.
“Before you finish eating breakfast this morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
If we ever had any doubt that we are global citizens, we need only look at the images and stories of events taking place around the world, brought to us live into our living rooms. These images transport viewers into the hearts of communities all over the world, with one click, bringing us face to face with with our counterparts and their predicaments. Regardless of the situation or the outcome, we can’t help, but to recognize our interconnectedness with the whole world.
We might feel individually that we don’t have any influence on such events, or that we can’t do anything that would make much of a difference, or that we are not powerful enough to change anything.
But in fact, global citizenship is much less about who we are or what we do.
Global citizenship means having concern, compassion and consideration for our fellow human beings when it comes to human rights. I see it as shift in consciousness and shift of attention. It means through the inner change, the inner shift, one can not help but to be in service wherever you are needed. With this concern, compassion and consideration, there is no other choice but to act upon whatever opportunities come your way.
We believe each one is presented with opportunities and choices, within our individual experiences, as a vital part of the whole interconnectedness.
One example of being a “global citizen” is the awareness that our decisions as consumers sometimes have an impact on the lives and livelihoods of people in other parts of the world. Being aware, conscious and compassionate will then effect our choices. It means asking questions about the food we eat and the clothes we buy: Where were they made? Under what conditions? Are the workers getting their fair share of the profits?
We are all Global Citizens.
Our thoughts here are not of a political nature, nor do we wish to engage in a social, cultural, political or economic argument. We are not advocating for anarchy or aligning ourselves with any political movement. We are merely sharing about how we experience in the world, which is something we do quite intentionally. Lainie truly believes that borders and boundaries are a thing of the past. There is only one citizenship that holds value, and that is “global citizenship”.
The earth was born as a green oasis without national borders. We share this perfect venue with all of humanity, the embodiment of our common destiny. Our collective survival relies upon it. Today, 2011, we must rethink the questions: to what end national identity? to what purpose national borders?
“I come from a background of activism, which I no longer subscribe to. In the past, I strived to change the world, make a dent in issues that mattered to me, usually surround civil rights, peace and the earth’s health. This activism was a huge part of my education in compassion. However, activism strives to change the world from the outside- in. Through traveling with Miro, I have discovered that all change happens from the inside-out. In other words ‘being’ the compassion can effect the world just by virtue of being in it. By being compassion and interacting with the adults and children we encounter, we cannot help but to effect our collective future.”
The Responsibility of a Global Citizen
Global citizenship, in short, means being aware, in everything that we do, of the impact that our actions can and will have on a global scale, and taking responsibility for the consequences.
“My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
We searched online to see if we could find a universal list of Global Citizen responsibilities, and here’ s what we found:
An organization called Global Citizenship defines a ‘Global Mindset’ as:
- Being open and non-judgmental
- Seeing diversity as a source of creativity
- Being willing to learn from others and to collaborate
- Being curious about different cultures, and reflective about your own Identifying as a citizen of the world, not just one nation or locality
Oxfam defines a Global Citizenas someone who:
- Is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen
- Respects and values diversity
- Has an understanding of how the world works
- Is outraged by social injustice
- Participates in the community at a range of levels, from local to global Is willing to act to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place
- Takes responsibility for their actions
Young Global Citizen
Sal Lavallo is the creator of YoungGlobalCitizen.com, a blog about global citizenship, travel, identity, and learning something new from every person, place, and thing that you encounter. Sal studies Culturally Sustaining Development at New York University and believes that all cultures should be appreciated and have the ability to plan their own path of development. He is also the Founder of Trail of Seeds, Inc a not-for-profit that works with development in agricultural communities around the world. With a German mother, an Italian father from New York, and as a graduate of the United World College, Sal has always loved global issues, intergroup dialogues, and travel. He has worked to pay for his own journeys to over twenty-five countries on five continents. His constant exposure to the world has instilled the thought in him that, at our essence, we are all the same, and that our differences are what make us amazing.
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Miro and Lainie are still in Panama and will remain there throughout the holidays. Sometime after the new year, they will venture into South America and continue their journey southward. They have been reaching out to all of our contacts and asking for references for conscious communities, eco- villages, sustainable farms and volunteer opportunities. Lainie loves working with children, Miro loves working with animals and neither of them have ever worked on a farm, but they’re open to whatever opportunities come their way. Their desire for the first few months of the new year is to participate , volunteer their time and energies. Lainie would really like to be part of an intentional community, one that practices mediation, lives consciously and gives back to the surrounding community, helping to make locals lives a little easier. They are putting it out into the universe and making it known. If you have any suggestions or contacts for us in South America, please don’t hesitate to send off an introduction. They plan on be posting all the organizations they are considering after the beginning of the year so you can participate with their decision making process.
We want to take a moment to thank a few peoplewho have contributed to our travels. Your donations have helped cover our travel expenses and for that, we are so grateful! The people who have contributed to Raising Miro are: Scott Van Pelt, Sashya Amee, Ivan Amador, Heather on Her Travels, Bradford Akerman, Tuan Vutran, Terrance O’Dowd, Eric Hammond, Chip Jacobs, Billy Horn and Sonia Kim. Thank you so much! Your support is heart-felt and much appreciated!
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To those of you who have supported us so far on this journey, the donations we’ve received and the wonderful words of encouragement. Thank you all for your comments and feedback, and please keep them coming. Thank you Hanna for giving us a wonderful professional boost with the intro & outro, engineered by Hanna Jakobson, music “Multilayered Timbres” by Dr. Pimp courtesy of CC (creative commons) license.