• Are you a Global Citizen?

    Regular readers of this blog know that I often refer to our pale blue dot as our “global village.” By calling it a global village I seek to erase the imaginary lines we have drawn between us and imaginary distinctions we pretend separate us from one another, every other living creature, and the planet we share.

    An NGO called “Global Citizen” has been launched to engage citizens of our global village. Global Citizen is seeking to pull together the power of concerned citizens all across our planet who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges—and use their power to get other people involved too.

    The NGO seeks to fight extreme poverty and inequality around the world, and support approaches that will make life more sustainable for all people in our little global village.

    The Global Citizen NGO was created from the Global Poverty Project, as a hub for innovative campaigns that work towards a world where every child can survive and thrive. Global Citizen seeks a “world where every child has a chance to go to school, a world where women and girls are protected from violence, and where preventable diseases aren't holding people back.”

    Discussion starters:

    1. What does it mean to be a “global citizen?” Are you one?
    2. Will you join in and help Global Citizen with these noble goals?

  • Peace: Is our global village becoming more or less peaceful?

    How would you measure peace? Is “peace” simply the absence of war?

    The Institute for Economics and Peace ranks 162 independent states covering in an annual report titled the “Global Peace Index.”

    According to the report (click here) the ten most peaceful states are:

    Iceland

    Denmark

    Austria

    New Zealand

    Switzerland

    Finland

    Canada

    Japan

    Australia

    Czech Republic

     

    And the ten least peaceful states are:

    Syria

    Iraq

    Afghanistan

    South Sudan

    Central African Republic

    Somalia

    Sudan

    DR Congo

    Pakistan

    North Korea

    Discussion starters:

    1. Do the rankings help us better understand relations among nations?
    2. Do you agree with the most peaceful and least peaceful rankings? 
  • US Senate Torture Report: Is torture always wrong?

    The British Prime Minister David Cameron has said, “Torture is wrong, torture is always wrong.”

    Cameron said, “Those of us who want to see a safer and more secure world, who want to see extremism defeated, we won’t succeed if we lose our moral authority, if we lose the things that make or systems work and countries successful.”

    Discussion starters:

    1. Is David Cameron correct? Is torture always wrong?
    2. Do you agree with John Oliver’s portrayal of American torture policy?
  • The Elders Debate Global Issues: Urge Young Leaders to Act

    The Elders is an NGO of global leaders who work to promote peace and human rights. 

    Last week four of the Elders (Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani and Mary Robinson) appeared on BBC World’s Global, a show broadcast to over 200 countries. The Elders answered questions from social media, a studio audience, and from young people from around the world. The discussion ranged across many of the world's biggest concerns, from Syria and Ukraine to migration and extremism.

    The discussion ended with each Elder being asked what advice they'd give their 18-year-old self.

    Mary Robinson's advice was to "Seek forgiveness, not permission." She added that people should be "pushing the button" – taking actions into their own hands instead of waiting for others.

    Kofi Annan said, “You are never too young to lead, never too young to do what you believe is right.”

    Discussion starters:

    1. Do events/discussions like this one shape or change politics and policy?
    2. What is the underlying message in the advice from Mary Robinson and Kofi Annan? Do you agree with them?