“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”
– Socrates [as quoted by Plutarch], circa 420 BC
Our world seems to be growing in two opposite directions at once – increasingly fragmented on the one hand, increasingly connected on the other. In an age where humanity has developed unprecedented capabilities for both destructive competition and symbiotic cooperation, the concept of global citizenship has never been more relevant.
Viewed together, the myriad of planetary crises we face is daunting. So much so, that at times it can cause us to forget that we are now bearing witness to the emergence of something extraordinary – a civic movement that is larger in scale and more profound in motive than anything that has yet occurred in history.
Individuals are realising that pursuing material self-interest at others’ expense doesn’t ultimately make us happier. Governments are realising that policy must be formed through an integrative approach. Charities are realising that their task is to empower rather than create dependence. And multinational corporations are realising that the bottom line has to include human and environmental costs.
In the past few years we have seen fair trade grow from a 30 thousand to a 130 million dollar industry. We’ve seen mass protests against economic inequality in just about every major Western city. Where once there was blind faith we’ve seen widespread questioning of the ‘growth at any cost’ economic paradigm. And we have seen the power of the internet to facilitate revolution – technological, industrial, and social.
The wave is building, ready to break on the shore of our collective yearning for a brighter future. Now all of us are called upon – as individuals, as men and women of integrity – to express and enact our aspirations for an ethical culture. It is for this that our generation will be remembered. For this is the age of social innovation, and we are its standard bearers.
Our obligations now stretch beyond local, provincial, or national boundaries. We carry a responsibility towards every other person on Earth, towards the broader ecology of which each of us is a part, and towards generations that are yet to be born.
Being a global citizen means responding to the call of your own conscience; it means undertaking a path of self-inquiry to discover and embody your deepest hope for the world; it means, essentially, taking an active role in your own well-being and that of the planet.
You are invited to become a global citizen, today.
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