Globalization consists more specifically of economic, political and cultural connections. It brings with it great benefits, including increases in financial growth and production, the spread of democracy and humanitarian movements, increased access to information and education, and rising living standards for many. However, it also has resulted in great inequalities, abuses of the environment, threats to local cultures and the exploitation of labor.
The common theme with the major challenges facing us is that they do not stop at borders. They are problems without passports, and they impact the entire world community. To deal with these problems, we must approach them as members of the world community. In other words, we must become world citizens.
A Solid Foundation
Citizenship is often associated with a particular political region, but limiting our responsibilities to those within a political boundary in an era of global connections limits the richness of human opportunity and the potential for our world. We must expand our sense of community and sense of belonging to all of humanity.
World citizenship is not a new idea. Many great thinkers across centuries and cultures have spoken to the spirit of the concept.
“No man is an island intire of itselfe … any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
—John Donne, Devotions (XVII), 1624
“My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
—Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791–1792
“We seek victory — not over any nation or people — but over the ancient enemies of us all; victory over ignorance, poverty, disease and human degradation wherever they may be found.”
—Dwight Eisenhower, State of the Union Address, 1959
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail, 1963
“… mankind’s sole salvation lies in everyone making everything his business; in the people of the East being vitally concerned with what is thought in the West, the people of the West vitally concerned with what goes on in the East.”
—Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Lecture Address, 1970
“When a certain community is destroyed, in reality it destroys a part of all of us. Any conflict within humanity should be considered a family conflict.”
—The Dalai Lama, Interview, 2006