I find it encouraging to see GCE as a practice, as opposed to a general, empty term.
The main need for global citizenship education comes from all-encompassing forces of globalisation. Globalisation takes its strength, and is an effect of global economy. Also, globalisation is a process - it has its own crises, flows, ups and downs. As such, it is hard to predict, as it is a manifestation of a complex system. Global Citizenship Education wants to alleviate the problem by insisting on dialogue, implementation of human rights and similar value driven education. One of the problems of GCE is that it adds to the complexity, but in a soft, gentle way - it promotes communication and presentation of the different cultural riches, driving understanding and cooperation. In short, it aims to create a community.
The main problem with this approach is already recognized by some critics of the term - the values it promotes are primarily western. Can we force them upon others? Or is GCE a more focused approach - applicable in western countries, where it helps to alleviate and soften cultural and economic shocks that the newcomers face? Is GCE a way to true integration, not just of migrants, but, for example, all of Europe's citizens? I think that it could be one of the mechanisms of cohesion and integration. Certainly, along with the economic development - GCE could be one of the more important factors in Europe of today.
Global Citizenship education is a highly problematic term. All of its constituent terms are subject open not only to the academic discussion, but they appeal to the wide audience - in one word, all the stakeholders. For me, the most important part of all education lies in practice. All ideas - and high ideals - are praiseworthy, but it can all fall on bad, or even worse, indifferent practice. I think that the value that comes out of this project comes from educating the educators - and if we manage to accomplish that, I can see future gets at least a bit brighter.
Hana, I agree on the integrative power of such practices, but I need to emphasize the importance of motivated participants. They can be active, using learned concepts to better their communities, or at least promote discussion.
Maja, I agree that GCE is a problematic term, but we need to concentrate on taking the best, and making the most of it. Concentrating on pure terminological problems only dilutes action.
For one, I would like to know more about other people's experiences. For example, have any of you participated in such projects or activities? I like the idea of Social Erasmus, since it is an inclusive, open practice. I am interested in its reach - such project needs to attract large numbers of people to become sustainable and make a difference. For one, RIGHTS project presents a series of cultural artefacts that can attract people to educate, better themselves and constructively participate in a larger community. From that perspective, BRIGHTS project is on the right track: with limited resources it can reach a large number of people. But, how can we reach people not directly involved in the project (by working on project implementation, or as one of the educators, or participants in the project)? It is not about making them care, as that would be a farfetched goal, but capturing their interest, at least long enough to watch a single video?
I would like to kindly direct your attention towards some threats to GCE. For example, this study presents a case for a strong potential barrier to global citizenship. To keep things short, when threatened, participants of research show a lowering tendency to identify with the idea of global citizenship. Contemporary society's perception of threat negatively impacts their willingness to participate - and that tendency is spurned on and exploited by political groups and associated media. The main driving force of GCE are the values it promotes, and they are threatened by recent developments in geopolitical sphere.
In that light, GCE can be seen as a stabilising factor, acting not only as an endorsement of said values, but as a preventive measure. It aims to disarm the feeling of being threatened, or as Hans Schattle put it in his text, citing the Australian journalist on Global citizenship: “We are a migrant culture, and there are enormous numbers of people with different faces and different coloured skins and different accents. I don’t feel that they’re a threat. That’s my concept if you talk about a global citizen. It’s someone who doesn’t feel threatened by other cultures and who sort of feels his own culture is robust enough to stand up amongst them, that that culture itself is a product of diversity.”
Reaching out is a good step forward, but it needs to be treated as a process and a practice, immersed in the global process, or it will fail. The best way to accomplish that is to be proactive.