What is global citizenship?

‘Active and global citizenship’ is one of GCU’s Common Good Attributes. 

What qualities constitute global citizenship in our students? In the academic literature definitions abound. Caruana (2010) defines graduates who are global citizens as people “who are aware of world issues and are empowered to bring about change towards a more just, sustainable society” *.

Our Common Good Attributes provide further details on a definition here.

The University of Warwick’s Global People Project suggests a “global people competency approach” which spells out desired behaviour rather than high level ambitions. Examples of such behaviours are presented in the table below.

Selection of desired global competencies

Adapted from Intercultural Competency Framework, University of Warwick (Reid et al, 2010) http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/globalpeople/

Competency Behaviour
Information gathering • Learn about unfamiliar cultures
Flexible thinking • Actively seek to understand unfamiliar behaviour
• Avoid judging people from other cultures on the basis of stereotypes
• Acknowledge that different practices are sensible and meaningful in their cultural context and can add value to their own way of thinking
Flexible behaviour • Learn how and when to adapt by observing other people’s behaviour
• Build a repertoire of behaviour to suit different purposes, contexts and audiences
Language Learning • Do not rely on others’ language skills
• Do not feel self-conscious about your language proficiency
• Do not let your language proficiency hold you back from contributing
Attentive listening • Check and clarify rather than assuming understanding
• Develop ability to anticipate and handle potential misunderstandings
Self awareness • Use diversity as a mirror to explore your own cultural identity
• Reflect on how you may be perceived by people from other backgrounds when you are behaving ‘normally’
Spirit of adventure • Be ready to deal with ambiguous situations
• Develop tolerance of ambiguity
• Enjoy the opportunity to work with diverse groups with different perspectives


* Caruana, V. (2010) The relevance of the internationalised curriculum to graduate capability: the role of new lecturers’ attitudes in shaping the ‘student voice’. In: Jones, E.(ed)  Internationalisation and the Student Voice, Routledge: London, pp.30-43.