Active Global Citizenship: Definition & Significance

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
In this lesson, we discuss the emerging concept of active global citizenship. By the end, you'll understand its basic premise as well as its significance.

Two Kinds of People

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of people: Those that care about others and those that could care less. In the materialistic world, selfishness abounds; so long as one gets what they want, what does it matter if others suffer or nature degrades?

Thankfully, for others there is a moral and ethical responsibility to take care of others, not only in their community, but throughout the world. For these people, it's important to take action that leads to sustainable, positive change in communities across the world. This is exactly what active global citizenship is all about. In this lesson, we define it and go over its significance.

What is Active Global Citizenship?

Active global citizenship is a concept that encompasses individuals who are cognizant of the following:

  • They are just one part in a much bigger world and community; it's not all about themselves.
  • They must take actions that benefit local and international communities.
  • They readily tackle injustices, like discrimination or human rights violations.
  • They value things like cultural diversity.
  • They are responsible for their actions.

Active global citizens empower themselves and others to improve their condition, those around them, and the world at large.


This is a seemingly vague statement, but we can actually demonstrate it with an example. Let's pretend that Amanda is not an active global citizen, while Jessica is.

Amanda works on Wall Street as an investment banker for a firm known to prey on the poor. She has no quarrels with this, as it helps her make a good profit as she takes advantage of poor education and cultural divisiveness. It helps her afford her three million dollar efficiency apartment in the center of the city. When the state government finally goes after her company, she doesn't care; she knows she didn't do anything illegal. She takes no moral or ethical responsibility for her otherwise legal actions and doesn't care to empower others nor improve their condition.

Now let's look at Jessica, an active global citizen. Like Amanda, Jessica works for a financial firm. She makes a good living but through the empowerment of others. See, Jessica makes micro-loans to female business owners in developing countries. These micro-loans help those women build businesses that provide a living for others, stay away from abusive spouses, put their kids through school, and stay away from predatory local lenders. Jessica lives a good life in her job in finance but she ensures others are empowered to do the same. When something goes wrong, Jessica take responsibility for failure as well.

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