Is “global citizenship” the best way forward in the 21st century?

DEBATE: Is “global citizenship” the best way forward in the 21st century? Take a stand.

PROMPT: Write an 800-900 word essay for or against “Global Citizenship”

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Introduction: Why does this global problem matter, Thesis (Hightlight), Preview.

Robust Example:

“In this paper I will argue for/against “global citizenship,” which means standing as one for the values of respect and caring for life on earth, including ecological integrity, justice, democracy and peace.”

Minimal Example:

“I will argue for/against “global citizenship” defined in the interests of global capitalism as “sustainable development.”

2. Present & explain one global problem to make your case for or against GC, e.g. population, war, climate change, poverty, etc. Draw support for your grasp of the problem from at least one film assigned in the course.

3. Define & defend “global citizenship” using one or more of the following texts. Give reasons why it should be defined in the way you have defined it.


Kant’s “Perpetual Peace”
UN Declaration of Human Rights
Earth Charter / Singer / Leopold
“Sustainable Development”
MacGregor’s Procedural Definition

4. Argue that “global citizenship” will (or will not) provide the best values to guide us in solving 21st century problems. Make reference to the specific aspects of the problem you outlined above and point out how GC will help (or not). Draw support for your position from at least one argument presented in the required readings.

5. Present and respond to your opposition’s best argument drawing support from at least one of the arguments in the course readings.

6. Conclude with a brief reflection on the consequences of pursuing (or failing to pursue) the course of values you argue for in your essay.



Be sure you read & understand the VALUES intro to this unit, pp. 385 – 387.

“Global citizenship” is an essentially contested concept. Part of the challenge of the essay is for you to make it clear what definition you are supporting. Please use only the readings for this course to define the concept.

Making your case based on solving a global problem does not mean you should ignore the local implications or personal experience. The persuasiveness of your case depends on bringing the global home.

This is not a paper about the efficacy of ethics, i.e. whether ethics can or cannot solve our problems. Rather it is about which values you stand for, i.e. your ethics. Hence, you would be missing the point if you argued that ethics cannot save us.

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