September 21, 2019

Global Forum explores the meaning of global citizenship

Promoting global citizenship is more than jet-setting across the country, speaking six different languages or wearing a ‘global citizenship’ badge. On Feb. 8, Webster University held a Global Citizenship Forum, allowing students in any of its campuses to log in online and give their opinion of what it means to be a global citizen.

Tammy Mueller, a Webster alumni with a bachelor’s degree in social science, attended the Global Citizenship Forum and said being a global citizen starts with culture.

“A true global citizen, I believe, would be one who doesn’t necessarily have to know or understand every single culture out there, but to know enough to acknowledge (it),” Mueller said. “That they’re there and that they deserve to be respected, and that decisions made without their consent should take their well-being into account.”

Kim Kleinman, the undergraduate advising assistant director, said it’s more about learning the outcomes outlined in Webster’s new general education requirements.

“Students need to learn to communicate clearly and think critically,” Kleinman said. “Those sorts of skills will prepare students for the ever changing world.”

In the forum, students discussed different aspects of being a global citizen.

Julia Bush, a junior education major, said being a global citizen means you keep up to date with what is going on around the world.
“Be aware of the major issues being faced in your region so that you can find a way of contributing no matter how small it may be,” Bush said.

Being able to communicate and understand another language makes a student become much more globally aware, Bush said. Currently taking a foreign language is not a requirement at Webster.

“I was surprised as a freshman to learn that I did not need to take a language course,” Bush said.  “As I learned more about Webster University, this surprised me even more because Webster has such a global presence and prides itself on their global connections. Having language as a requirement would make all the sense in the world for Webster U students.”

Mueller approves of WU changing their general education requirements to match Webster’s mission statement to transform students for global citizenship.

“I am a strong proponent of Webster changing their general education requirements to help students become more globally aware,” Mueller said. “I believe that this will be a difficult process since there are so very many issues which should be included — everything from history to philosophy to law and politics to gender studies and more.”

Kleinman said with the new education requirements, students attending Webster will have the security that their education is geared towards global acknowledgment.

“Students will be able to walk confidently into the future,” Kleinman said.

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