Syracuse London is lucky enough to be based in the heart of a global city: 37% of its inhabitants were born outside of the United Kingdom. 43 countries have a population of more than 20,000 people in Greater London, while over 300 languages are spoken in its schools. Nearly 40% of the world’s foreign equities are traded in London, and the city is also home to thriving creative industries, diplomatic initiatives, and transport hubs.
Making the most of this global city, 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.
There are lines all across the Earth
Lines that divide us
Lines change the idea of “citizen of the world”
And break you down to what you really are:
American. Arab. A girl.
Who are you when the line goes away?
When you cross a new line, what do you say?
I truly believe that one day those lines will melt like snow
But for now
There are borders waiting to be crossed
…I hope that you go
(by Sunny Balkin for the “Questioning Borders” Symposium)
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.
Thinking of ourselves as belonging to the world as a whole helps nurture respect for life, wherever it exists. Being aware of how our actions have consequences 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 – questions that the Syracuse London Program helps students consider. Our Symposium Series invites our wider community to join students in reflecting on key issues for “People & Planet”. The Syracuse London Internship Program builds students’ professional skills while examining corporate social responsibility and changemaking in the global workplace. Our Ambassadorial Exchange Program with Lockerbie addresses meaningful responses to global terrorism and celebrates the Syracuse-Scotland connection. Our Discover UK series takes students on day and overnight field trips to visit new places as ethical, informed tourists. A Town Hall series involves student-led conversations about topics such as gender equity, anti-racism, and environmental justice, while regular wellbeing activities invest in our personal and collective, physical and mental health.
Fall 2019 student Isaiah Brooks giving remarks at the Syracuse London Symposium commemorating Black History Month. During his opening, Isaiah reminded attendees that “my Black History is just one version of a long and complicated story. Tonight, you are encouraged to consider the impact not only of history on Black communities, but of the Black community on history…”
To learn more about global citizenship at Syracuse London, get in touch with our Outreach & Engagement Staff.
featured image by Hollan Obinger, 2018