Imagine There’s No Countries . . .

Considering the Possibility and Practice of Global Citizenship

Archive for January, 2009

Chapter Seven: “The Practices of Global Citizenship” by Hans Schattle

Posted by jonthepackardman on January 31, 2009

“As the 2004 campaign proceeded, widening public recognition of the global impact of U.S. presidential elections worked its way into media references to global citizenship. One American voter – a former infantry soldier in the U.S. Army – even linked the idea of a global citizenry with the principle of giving citizens around the world a voice in the election. Originally from Prescott, Arizona, and living in Malaysia in 2004, Eric Ossemig offered his vote to the people of Malaysia, the moderate Muslim country where he had lived for fourteen years. He invited Malaysians to cast their vote on a web page that he had set up, and he promised to cast his ballot, in turn, for the candidate who won. Ossemig told the Voice of America, the international news service run by the U.S. government, that non-Americans ought to be given a voice in deciding the leader of the world’s superpower: ‘The global citizenry does not vote for its global leader. Americans vote for the next global leader, who happens to be the U.S. president.’ ” … In the end this guy ended up submitting his vote for John Kerry – the choice of 60% of the voters. “Ossemig said he had wanted simply to make a symbolic contribution towards opening up U.S. foreign policy to stakeholders around the world: ‘The U.S. president’s responsibilities were once mostly limited to handling U.S. matters for U.S. citizens. Not anymore… In an era where U.S. policy increasingly affects us all, why is it that only U.S. citizens can vote for a U.S. president who – reluctantly or not – is an increasingly global leader? Shouldn’t we all have a say in who our global leader is to be?’ ”

Are you KIDDING me?! This proposal is outlandish to say the least. What kind of American “citizen” would have the AUDACITY to suggest that the entire world be able to vote for OUR president??? Is this a joke? I don’t care if we are the world’s superpower, I don’t care if what we do affects other countries, and I don’t care if our President’s decisions impact those beyond our borders. The power to elect the President of the United States of America is for American citizens only. I cannot get over how absolutely absurd this idea is.

In addition, Schattle also mentioned in this chapter that there was a website set up by American citizens apologizing to the world for electing Bush to a second term (sorryeverybody.com). How un-American! These people are shameful – I don’t care if you don’t like the President that we ELECTED by our country’s political process; get over it! Support the man that your country elected, don’t apologize, make excuses, or bash our country’s leader.

It must also be pointed out that the rest of the world responded to this site with a site of its own: apologiesaccepted.com. I visited both sites and it has become clear that they belong solely to the liberal citizens of our country and world. After the most recent election, people have all kinds of posts about Obama, and their “HOPE” and how “We finally did it”. Oh please, give me a break. I cannot even express how idiotic these sites are. AMERICANS: HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR YOUR POLITICAL PROCESS. To the rest of the world: I’M SORRY YOU DIDN’T APPROVE OF OUR 2004 ELECTION. PERHAPS WE SHOULD JUST SELL OUR VOTES TO YOU…

And no, I’m not going to link to those sites – I don’t want to support them in any way, shape, or form. If you want to see how liberal they are for yourself, you can type them into the search bar –

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Virtual Citizenship

Posted by bklunk on January 30, 2009

One of the interesting discussions about global citizenship is whether real citizenship requires the possiblity of face-to-face contact.  The possibility of interacting in virtual environments offers one way of imagining citizenship on a broader scale, but some doubt that interacting avatars would provide the same substantive communication.  Here is a short video about our Second Life campus.

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Sister Cities International: A Global Citizen Diplomacy Network

Posted by mayacu on January 29, 2009

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WE ARE PENN STATE (and we have friends from Duke, too)

Posted by bklunk on January 29, 2009

No Sweat :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education’s Source for News, Views and Jobs

News from Inside Higer Education about the issue of colleges and universities sellling branded apparel possibly manufactured in sweatshops around the world. 

A major supplier of college apparel has brokered a unique deal,
promising to pay more for garments produced by a factory in the
Dominican Republic if workers there are paid a living wage. While not
publicly announced by the company, the plan proposed by Knights Apparel
is already drawing support in higher education. Officials at Duke and
Pennsylvania State Universities have confirmed that their bookstores
will be buying from the Knights Apparel factory, and a committee at the
University of Connecticut is considering participation as well.

“This is one factory in one country, so we understand the
limitations of that,” said Damon Sims, vice president for student
affairs at Penn State. “But it’s also the first factory to be doing
things the right way. It’s clear their intention is to provide workers
with a verified living wage and insuring they have freedom of
[unionization] rights; that is a difference that matters.”

The key word is “verified.” Penn State and a host of institutions
have long had codes of conduct that require licensees to meet minimum
fair labor standards, but college officials at Penn State and elsewhere
concede that those codes have been nearly impossible to enforce. The
Knights Apparel plan, as described by college officials, will allow an
independent group – the Workers Rights Consortium – to verify that the factory is meeting standards. 

This may hearten activists at other campuses who are looking for a way to practice global citizenship.

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Global Citizenship and Economics

Posted by rfrankl on January 27, 2009

There are many arguments touched upon in the Schattle book and that we have touched upon on in class that treat global citizenship not as a necessity or with clear consequences if not engaged in but as something that is good for the sake of it. In light of the economic crisis it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a strong argument for global citizenship as a necessity with clear consequences if not engaged in, no matter how ignoble it might be. There is no escaping the economic crisis today. If you own a business in China you will suffer because you are dependent on American’s having access to lots of credit and feeling good about next month’s pay-check in order to buy those goods that you make, Europe is dependent on American financial and banking companies, and the vast majority of countries in the world are connected to at least one other country for trade or services.
A couple hundred years ago a financial crisis originating in one country would have meant nothing to other countries-the almost total collapse of France’s stock market, central bank, and financial institutions in, I believe, 1720 had little impact on the rest of Europe-but today it means everything precisely because of the world’s interconnectedness and complexity. This raises the importance of some of the essential characteristics of being a global citizen. You need to be deeply, in the sense of knowing all that can be known, aware of not only what is going on in your own country but what is going on in other countries because what happens in that other country could and most likely will effect your own.
Schattle has so far shown people who are deeply aware and concerned with what is going on for the sake of it, because it is what comes natural to them but there is an argument to be made that we need to be global citizens and empathize with other countries because if we don’t, we might lose the proverbial shirts off our backs.

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What’s the Difference Between and Afropolitan and a Global Citizen

Posted by bklunk on January 26, 2009

“What is an Afropolitan?” by Taiye Tuakli-Wosornu – Citizens of the World

Osekre writes about the experience of being an Afropolitan, a phenomenon that clearly reaches, among other places, to the White House.

It’s moments to midnight on Thursday night at Medicine Bar in London.
Zak, boy-genius DJ, is spinning a Fela Kuti remix. The little
downstairs dancefloor swells with smiling, sweating men and women
fusing hip-hop dance moves with a funky sort of djembe. The women show
off enormous afros, tiny t-shirts, gaps in teeth; the men those
incredible torsos unique to and common on African coastlines. The whole
scene speaks of the Cultural Hybrid: kente cloth worn over low-waisted
jeans; ‘African Lady’ over Ludacris bass lines; London meets Lagos
meets Durban meets Dakar. Even the DJ is an ethnic fusion: Nigerian and
Romanian; fair, fearless leader; bobbing his head as the crowd reacts
to a sample of ‘Sweet Mother’.

Were you to ask any of these beautiful, brown-skinned people that basic
question – ‘where are you from?’ – you’d get no single answer from a
single smiling dancer. This one lives in London but was raised in
Toronto and born in Accra; that one works in Lagos but grew up in
Houston, Texas. ‘Home’ for this lot is many things: where their parents
are from; where they go for vacation; where they went to school; where
they see old friends; where they live (or live this year). Like so many
African young people working and living in cities around the globe,
they belong to no single geography, but feel at home in many.

They (read: we) are Afropolitans – the newest generation of African
emigrants, coming soon or collected already at a law firm/chem lab/jazz
lounge near you. You’ll know us by our funny blend of London fashion,
New York jargon, African ethics, and academic successes. Some of us are
ethnic mixes, e.g. Ghanaian and Canadian, Nigerian and Swiss; others
merely cultural mutts: American accent, European affect, African ethos.
Most of us are multilingual: in addition to English and a Romantic or
two, we understand some indigenous tongue and speak a few urban
vernaculars. There is at least one place on The African Continent to
which we tie our sense of self: be it a nation-state (Ethiopia), a city
(Ibadan), or an auntie’s kitchen. Then there’s the G8 city or two (or
three) that we know like the backs of our hands, and the various
institutions that know us for our famed focus. We are Afropolitans: not
citizens, but Africans of the world.

All the pieces of global citizenship are there and a reminder that global citizenship will not be a homogenizing force.

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President Obama’s Inaugural Address

Posted by dgreening on January 25, 2009

In his Inaugural Address last Tuesday, President Obama recognized the disastrous state of the environment.  The “gathering clouds and raging storms” are a more literal image than I had first thought.  But, in keeping with the primary concepts of global citizenship outlined in Chapter 2, President Obama undoubtedly portrays himself as fully aware of the situation, responsible for it, and, most importantly, vows to participate in rectifying this troublesome state of affairs.  Already President Obama has moved for environmental reform, surrounding himself with a host of similarly-minded scientists.  Hopefully we now have a president who can lead us toward the kinds of reforms adopted in Europe, with massive reductions in emissions for cars and power plants a must.  Perhaps now we will join the rest of the global community in a quest to save the environment, with the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, or perhaps an updated version, a good first step.  As an additional cause for hope, a rare occurence when facing an imminent depression, the current economic turmoil will push businesses toward a greener approach, making Obama’s job a little easier, and hopefully making our planet a little cleaner.

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Magical Stream in India Grants Eternal Life.

Posted by clark128 on January 25, 2009

For harmful bacteria, of course.

Pharmaceutical plants have been dumping in the streams of India. This has created a concoction that could treat thousands of people! Now at first glance I thought this was a good thing, since I am all for panaceas. However, as I continued to read I realized the devastating possibilities.

Global Pandemics.

You see, the microbes in these streams that survive in these waters will adapt to be resistant to these drugs. Pretty soon, the folks who live around the water will be catching Extra Strength Flu that resists the medicine we use to treat it. Evolution dictates that over time, these microbes will become more prevalent than their more docile counterparts, and before you know it we’ll all be dead.

Well, wait, maybe WE won’t be dead. After all, it’s in India, and thats like, in China or something.*

Well that’s what YOU think. Believe it or don’t our water in the Beautiful and Glorious country of the United States of America is being contaminated with tasty drugs. Now, the EPA does regulate our water and makes sure that those mean ‘ol pharmacy companies don’t dump too much into our rivers. However, plenty of tasty pills get washed down the drain at various medical establishments.

While it hasn’t reached the astonishing levels in India, it is still indeed a present threat. I personally blame those pill pushers over at the Pharmacy School. The bloods on your hands, Pharmacists.**

*The author of this posts is full aware that India is in fact not part of China. Everybody knows it’s in Australia.

**Just kidding, Pharmacists.

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Obama signs order to close Guantanemo Bay

Posted by mykela1 on January 24, 2009

On Thursday, Obama signed multiple executive orders, one of which will result in the permanent closure of Guantanemo Bay. Another order was made to close all of the CIA’s secret foreign prisons which have long been critizied for their treatment of prisoners. After reading this article, I really do have hope that Obama’s administration will help to rebuild our country’s reputation abroad and relationships with foreign countries. In the spirit of global citizenship, Obama has questioned our government’s treatment of detainees and is taking action to correct these wrongs.

Posted in global citizenship, global issues | 6 Comments »

President Gaviria Lecture at University of the Pacific

Posted by jonthepackardman on January 23, 2009

For my critique of Gaviria’s lecture, as well as a longer explanation and discussion of the topics he covered, please go to my blog, which serves as my E-portfolio, and read the entry titled: “Former President of Columbia, Cesar Gaviria, Speaks at Pacific

Last semester I attended one of the Gerber Lecture Series events in which Cesar Gaviria, former president of Columbia, spoke. Sitting in class this week, it occurred to me that a lot of what Gaviria had to say could be accomplished by the presence of more global citizens in America. Now, you may be saying: ‘Jon, give me a break. America is a cultural melting-pot, how much more globalized could a citizenry get?’ While you may be right in that we do have many immigrants who still maintain ties to their countries of origin, you have failed to see that the three primary parts of global citizenship, as identified in Hans Schattle’s The Practices of Global Citizenship, are not being met. The presence of foreigners in America does not mean that we as a people are aware of what is going on in the world around us. In addition, it does not ensure that we recognize the responsibility that we have to ourselves, our offspring, and the rest of the world, in regards to our individual actions and the potential impacts they may subsequently produce. Furthermore, an active participation in global affairs is necessitated by this account of global citizenship.

President Gaviria covered an array of topics during his lecture, however, the point that he seemed to continuously emphasize was the fact that had the United States paid any attention to Central and South in the last couple of decades, our current financial crisis could have been avoided. He mentioned that his people, much like those within the United States, tend to live above their means and save a smaller proportion of their income. This comes in stark contrast to the Asian populace of the world, which saves approximately 40% of its annual income. This explains why Americans, who have overstretched themselves financially, fall into economic hardship while Asians do not. To summarize, Gaviria claims that had America paid closer attention to the world around it, seen what was happening in Central and South America and juxtaposed that to the economic situation in Asia, we could very have avoided our current plight. Although he made several excellent arguments throughout his lecture, I still believe that the president was somewhat short-sighted.

Cesar Gaviria urged the United States to work with its neighbors to the South in order to build strong economies for all, create a greater standard of living for all, and improve international relations for all of the countries concerned. However, I believe that this suggestion is insufficient. Why stop there? Why not foster amiable relations between all of the countries in the world? Although this goal may be far-fetched, change in that direction must begin sometime. The United States, and all other countries of the world for that matter, should strive to build bonds with not only their neighbors, but with countries half way across the world as well. Global interdependence leads to greater understanding among countries, better international relations, and an ensuing “world peace” that pageant contestants always refer to. Though this argument may seem quite idealized and full of flaws and faulty assumptions, this is the only path to less violence and better relations worldwide. And as Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Though my proposal may be tough to take on and accomplish, the potential benefits far outweigh the challenges.

Posted in global citizenship, global issues | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »