Global citizenship is not about stamps in passports, it’s about understanding our interdependence and our shared responsibility for our local communities and the world,” said Daniel Obst, President & CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs, at the opening of a virtual event hosted together with Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) during the 2021 International Education Week.

The November 17, 2021 event titled, Making Global Citizenship Education a National Priority, followed on The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit hosted by New Zealand, with panelists also including: Carla Rey Vasquez, ENZ Global Citizens Manager; Romina Kasman, Head of Education Sector UNESCO Multicountry Office; and Lit Wei Chin, APEC Youth Representative and Auckland Unlimited’s Climate Change and Sustainability Executive.

Watch the event recording here: 

All panelists agreed that the pandemic has had a severe impact on education, but that it has also made it clear that global citizenship must be front and center in national curricula, continued teacher education and a daily practice. 

Other nations can follow the example on New Zealand’s education strategy which shifts the focus from international education to focusing more on cultural and social values in the student experience both for domestic and international students, shared ENZ’s Carla Rey Vasquez. 

Global citizenship education must not be left to chance, if we want to ensure equitable and inclusive access to it worldwide, UNESCO’s Romina Kasman emphasized. Global Citizenship Education is part of a holistic ecosystem, she concluded.

The importance of youth voices and activism was highlighted by Lit Wei Chin. He stated that young people cannot be just a tick box, they have to be heard on issues of global economy, quality education, climate action, equity and empowerment of marginalized communities.