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What is Global Citizenship?

In our ever more globalised era, global citizenship has evolved into an increasingly crucial concept. But despite its growing ubiquity, many still don’t know what it means. Here, we look at what being a global citizen involves, and just what its benefits are.

What is Global Citizenship?   

Global citizenship has never been more important, especially given our current geopoliticalsituation. With elections approaching around the world — in 2024, four billion people or half of the world’s population will be voting — a concept of global citizenry is needed to understand the ways in which electoral choices reverberate to other countries.   However, being a global citizen is not a simple task. Global citizens have particular responsibilities and obligations to the world, as a consequence of their global citizenship. They understand that their actions do not occur in a vacuum, but rather have implications for other nations and for the global community.   So, what is global citizenship, who can call themselves global citizens, and how might you become a global citizen? This article will seek to understand all facets of global citizenship.  

What is citizenship?  

Citizenship is the membership of a particular country while upholding the rights and responsibilities of that country.   To hold British citizenship, for example, makes a person a British national who can vote in elections and run for office, but is also expected to fulfil their responsibilities of paying tax and obeying laws.   Citizenship goes beyond residency, or the right to live and work in a country for a certain amount time. Citizenship is more demanding, requiring a lifelong commitment to a country. This commitment can be passed down to future generations, as many countries allow citizenship to be passed through families.  

Global citizens and citizens of the world  

Global citizens see themselves as having particular rights and responsibilities to the world, rather than only to one nation. They aim to improve their own nation but also hope to help other nations, too.   As citizens of the world, they believe that responsibilities go beyond borders and are not limited to their own countries of origin.   To global citizens, the freedom to see the world, participate in the global economy, and exercise political choices in a safe environment are all fundamental rights. In turn, their responsibilities come from ensuring that they contribute to the world’s openness, safety and freedom.   Oxfam GB adds that global citizenship is ‘about how decisions in one part of the planet can affect people living in a different part of it, and about how we all share a common humanity and are of equal worth.’  To be a global citizen, you must be constantly considering your place in the world.   Global citizens ‘take an active role in their community and work with others to make our planet more peaceful, sustainable and fairer,’ according to Oxfam. 

What is expected of global citizens?  

Global citizenship directly contradicts the assumption that individuals only have obligations to the nation within which they were born.  Rather, global citizens understand that in an increasingly interconnected world, it is not only possible to feel obligations towards more than one nation; it is sensible.  Global citizens tend to be open minded, well-travelled individuals who feel connected to the rest of the world.   Informed and globally engaged, global citizens are often interested in learning about new cultures, world events and new economic opportunities.   However, global citizenship may be more difficult for some people to attain than others.   For example, staying well-informed on global developments requires time commitments and education. Staying connected to the world economy requires business savvy and monetary commitments.  

Responsibilities of global citizens  

Global citizenship is not attainable for everyone, and should be regarded as a privilege which comes with important responsibilities.   If global citizenship is attainable for you, then it is important to understand the responsibilities of global citizenship. There are many responsibilities, but here are some of the most important:  
  • The responsibility to stay informed of global developments, markets and cultures 
  • The responsibility to listen to multiple, varied perspectives on foreign affairs and globally relevant issues  
  • The responsibility to affirm, respect and contribute to cultural diversity  
  • The responsibility to honour relationships with people from other countries and cultures  
  • The responsibility to think through and recognise the many ways in which people and countries of the world are interconnected and interdependent  
  • The responsibility to share knowledge with others, and learn from them in turn 
  • The responsibility to advocate for greater multilateralism, international cooperation and dialogue with other nations  
  • The responsibility for advocating for the global implementation of international agreements, conventions, and treaties related to international issues  
  • The responsibility for advocating for more equal systems of global justice, environmental justice and collaboration within the world community  

How to become a global citizen 

Dual citizenship   Some people will find that, by accident of birth, they hold citizenships of two countries. Dual citizens have rights and responsibilities in two different countries, which grants them a privileged and important global perspective.   Dual citizenship can grant a person an enhanced ability to travel to different countries, to engage with the global economy and to interact with politics and foreign affairs.  European Union citizenship   The European Union (EU) offers a fascinating model which is similar to global citizenship. As an EU citizen, you have rights to live, work, vote and pay tax in the EU’s 27 member states. These member states are all situated in the same geographic area: Europe.  However, global citizens may not wish to limit their global citizenship to their particular region of the world. Rather, for reasons of wanderlust, weather, governance or economic incentive, global citizens may want to expand their horizons further.   Citizenship by Investment   Global citizens may choose to attain global citizenship through a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme. Citizenship by Investment (CBI) is a method of attaining a second citizenship of a country through making an investment in that country.  A trusted option for people interested in becoming global citizens, CBI often entails an investment in a country’s social programmes or real estate.  The Caribbean is known as the cradle of second Citizenship by Investment.   Spotlight: St Kitts and Nevis   The Caribbean CBI programme of St Kitts and Nevis, for example, offers a Sustainable Island State Contribution which goes towards enhancing the sustainable development and social welfare of the island.  St Kitts and Nevis boasts the world’s first CBI programme and is known as being the gold standard of CBI programmes.  St Kitts and Nevis’ CBI Programme received the top spot in the CBI Index’s ranking of CBI programmes.  St Kitts and Nevis has used CBI funds for fascinating initiatives including renewable energy investment. CBI helped the country create a new Department of Creative Economy, which empowers people in the creative industries to continue developing their talents.   CBI is also aiding future generations in St Kitts and Nevis through funding schools and educational initiatives.  Spotlight: Dominica   The Caribbean CBI programme of Dominica offers an Economic Diversification Fund which aids the island’s goal to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation.   With CBI funds, Dominica is currently building a geothermal power plant along with an international airport, new bridges and new roads to supplement its growing ecotourism industry. This all contributes to the country’s continued economic diversification. The country’s varied and enticing ecotourism offering led to its status as the first country in the world to be benchmarked by Green Globe. Green Globe sets high standards in its certification system of countries offering sustainable ecotourism. Dominica also offers multiple natural parks, four and five-star eco hotels, and protected marine parks. The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is particularly of note as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Both countries also allow investment in real estate, with options often including eco hotels and eco-resorts. These sustainably sourced real estate options are important to helping the natural environment, driving ecotourism on the island, and spurring economic diversification and growth. 

How CS Global Partners can help you become a global citizen  

We have a team across the globe, with many of us having lived, studied and learned in multiple countries around the world. Because of our global experience, we have first-hand knowledge of how important, worrying, and sometimes emotionally taxing a second citizenship or residence decision may be for an individual and his or her family.  We aim to take some of this stress away, making your decision easier. Providing a smooth process and a constant guiding hand to our clients throughout their second citizenship application, we invite you to begin your citizenship journey.   Start your journey to global citizenship today and get in contact with one of our citizenship consultants:   https://csglobalpartners.com/contact/   

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