Global Citizenship: Intro and Origins

Notions of “global citizenship” and “global citizenship education” have evolved, to some extent, from the United Nations’ efforts to promote peace education in classrooms and schools around the world. In 2001, the groundbreaking text, “Learning the Way of Peace: A Teachers’ Guide to Peace Education” was published in New Delhi, with the direct involvement of over a dozen member countries. It has, at its core, the aims of developing peace within oneself, peace with society, and peace with nature.

While peace education is considered with some urgency in less-developed counties, its scope has not been embraced by education in the West.  There are an increasing number of economic and political ties between the nations of the world, though these connections have mostly worked to increase gaps between rich and less well-off countries. This results in cultural distance, a shocking disparity in the labour force worldwide, and very little awareness on the part of consumers about how their habits of consumption play vital roles in perpetuating injustice. Global citizenship attempts to address the disconnect.

Global citizenship is an approach that fosters understanding of local and global issues and offers tools for action that are practical and impactful. Though peace education has been criticized for being context dependent, global citizenship education has been touted as universal. It is not merely a topic of study.  It is a platform from which all other curriculum can be considered.

Resources for your consideration:

The Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research, hosted by the University of Alberta, is a leading contributor to discussions on the impact of global citizenship education. Their site offers mostly research findings and publications, some with an applied-practice stance, such as The National Youth White Paper on Global Citizenship (July 2015)



The Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation, ACIC’s sister organization, has done extensive work on Global Citizenship education and offers a series of modules for use in the junior high and high school classroom. You can preview one of the modules at the link below and request copies for your classroom. You’ll find interesting resources on this site, including contributions by Saskatchewan students about their involvement in community and global projects.



United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has a great number of resources related to Global Citizenship Education available on their site.

And also from UNESCO, the groundbreaking publication that paved the way for our current study: Learning the Way of Peace: A Teachers’ Guide to Peace Education (2001)


This PDF is Germany’s take on implementing the 17 sustainable development goals. It is only 8 pages long, well-presented, and offers practical incremental solutions. Perhaps students could get some ideas of the approaches Canada could take by comparison. Click to access this resource: 2030 Agenda Implementation in and by Germany – German NGOs March 2016


The Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, ACIC’s sister organization, offers educational resources for educators interested in global issues like poverty, food security, and health. They also offer youth opportunities to visit member projects in the Global South. 


The Our Canada Project (OCP) was the brain child of a diverse group of 22 youth from across Canada.  These youth were brought together for 48 hours to figure out how to inspire all youth from every area in Canada to be more responsible citizens. The answer: give youth a chance to share their voice and they will take action.  And so, the Our Canada Project was born. (from their About page.)


And finally, the We Day Campaign offers considerable educator resources, including lessons and activities that complement the information we’ve provided here.