The Syracuse London University Program blends academic enquiry, civic engagement, and rich programming to build students’ global citizenship.
“Global citizenship” refers to the idea that all individuals have rights and responsibilities by virtue of their humanity and membership in the world community – pushing our traditional ideas of citizenship, which are focused on legal and political relationships with a particular country.
Global citizens are people who are aware of and understand their place in the wider world, and their impact on it. They recognise that our world is a complex, deeply connected place. They realise that our lives are interdependent, and our choices affect others.
In today’s world, the global is not some faraway concept that exists ‘out there’ somewhere; it is an immediate part of our everyday lives and experiences. When we eat fresh blueberries in the middle of the London winter, we are benefiting from trade ties with communities in other ecosystems. When we call our parents using FaceTime or WhatsApp, we are relying on thousands of people’s combined innovations and a wide-ranging telecommunications system. When we buy a new pair of jeans, we are making a statement about what kinds of labour practices and economic systems we are willing to support.
Key pillars in global citizenship – and thus the guiding principles of Syracuse London – are people and planet. Thinking of ourselves as belonging to the world and humanity at large helps nurture respect for life, wherever it exists. Being aware of how our actions have impact beyond ourselves encourages us to think critically about what is fair and just.
What kind of world do we want to live in? How can we help create that world? These are the questions that global citizens ponder, and that our program seeks to help students consider. Through our London Passport initiative, students hold a tangible representation of their development as global citizens during their time abroad. Our internship, volunteering, community relations (like our special relationship with the Scottish town of Lockerbie following the 1988 Pan Am bombing), and co-curricular learning opportunities support students’ engagement with the world at large.
featured image by Hollan Obinger, 2018