GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP IN A MULTIPOLAR WORLD

Raymond Matlala

EURO-BRICS Youth Platform

 

INTRODUCTION

In today’s world, the global community is faced with challenges of terrorism and conflicts. It appears that the international system is sliding towards multipolarity, a world in which no single great power is in a position to dominate its peers. This is evident the concept of EURO-BRICS where European countries are forging relations with the BRICS countries. This article seeks to explore mechanisms which can be applied in order to create harmonization in a multipolar world.

 

In an increasingly interconnected world (i.e multipolar world), there exist an ongoing concern about inequality, poverty, poor health, human rights violations, terrorism, conflict and sustainable development. As a result, promoting citizenship in a multipolar world through education is fundamental to mitigating these challenges and enabling people, particularly young and adults to act responsibly towards each other. It is therefore vital for youth of today as the next generation of global leaders to engage on topics such as global citizenship for building a better future for our world, because without the common understanding and tolerance within the youth violence and terrorism will dominate our beautiful world.

 

Defining the concept of a global citizen

It is important to define the concept of “a global citizen” as such this article classify a global citizen as an individual which has values such as cultural diversity, sense of belonging to a common humanity, take actions in their own communities and to contribute to global challenges such as peace building, respect for universal human rights, sustainable development, poverty eradication, good health and mutual respect among cultures and civilizations.

 

According to UNESCO (2014), Global citizenship refers more to a sense of belonging to a broader community and common humanity, promoting a ‘global gaze’ that links the local to the global and the national to the international. It is also a way of understanding, acting and relating oneself to others and the environment in space and in time, based on universal values, through respect for diversity and pluralism. In this context, each individual’s life has implications in day-to-day decisions that connect the global with the local, and vice versa.

The concept of EURO-BRICS as a multipolar world model  

In 2009 Laboratoire européen d’Anticipation Politique (LEAP) amalgamated the two channels of EU and BRICS, hence the limelight shifted to Euro-BRICS. Under the leadership of Hon’ble Frank Biancheri, LEAP came to realise the potential of this rapprochement. It had a strong potential to the vitally needed (re)invention of global governance in a world that had transitioned from being bipolar to being multipolar; a world suddenly presenting strong structural analogies with Europe at the dawn of the XXIth century.

 

A Euro-BRICS academic network developed over the years, included a network of individuals who gathered regularly, ideating and advocating the staging of a Euro-BRICS Summit at some point. The aftermath of the Euro-Russian row saw a serious strain in the relationship of Europe and BRICS nations, which compelled LEAP to involve the youth of these nations to voice their concerns and take corrective measures.

 

This led to the launch of the Euro-BRICS Youth Platform. At the penultimate stage, the concept of Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Summit which was planned to be held in Helsinki was affirmed. The Summit was based on the idea that global governance which was suffering a generational gap, was to be bridged. The combination of a new world conducted by older generations compelled a new generation of young leaders, whose future is at stake, to strive to connect with the established global leadership, and forge pathways into the future, formed one of the major accomplishments post the summit.

Online course(s) to promote global citizenship in addressing multipolar world challenges

Consequently, the EURO-BRICS Youth Platform shall develop an online course and programmes which will promote global citizenship in a multipolar world. This online course should include aspects such as; (a) learning about history of different countries within the EU and BRICS, (b) understanding of the world affairs and challenges, (c) political anticipation, and etc. Furthermore, thematic themes of the EURO-BRICS such as peace, democracy, modernity, and international politics can be covered in the programme. This course can be provided online and the materials can be developed by both LEAP and EURO-BRICS team of experts, contributions can be derived from the youth platform. Therefore, anybody can have access to this course and will then start to shift the mind-set of the people in particular the next generation of leaders of the world.

 

Conclusion

With tensions and conflict rising in today’s world, it is necessary for youth of today to work towards harmonization, peace, respect and ethical leadership. Education provides an opportunity for this harmony to exist.  As a result training the current learners on how to become global citizens in a multipolar world to be part and embedded within our education systems, particularly basic education. As a result, resources should be made available for the implementation and creating awareness of the concept of global citizenship.  As indicated above, LEAP has taken the first step in creating a platform of a multipolar world. It is evident from the EURO-BRICS concept that partnerships and tolerance can be achieved by members of different cultures, religions, values and background, thus providing a better chance for a better future around the globe.

 

References

LEAP. 2015. Why Euro-BRICS? http://www.leap2020.net/euro-brics/why-euro-brics/?lang=en  (accessed April 2016). 

UNESCO. 2014. Global Citizenship Education. Preparing Learners for the Challenges of the 21st Century. Paris: UNESCO. http://unesdoc.unesco.org (accessed December 2015).