What is Global Citizenship Education?

The Global Citizenship Foundation, Global Citizenship Education (GCED) can be defined as a transformative, lifelong pursuit that involves both curricular learning and practical experience to shape a mindset to care for humanity and the planet, and to equip individuals with global competencies to undertake responsible actions aimed at forging more just, peaceful, secure, sustainable, tolerant and inclusive societies.

What are the Conceptual Dimensions of Global Citizenship Education?

Global Citizenship Education covers three conceptual dimensions or domains of learning:

Why teach Global Citizenship Education?

The world as we know it today is marred with conflicts, challenges, catastrophes, and crises that need our immediate attention. Climate change, poverty, illiteracy, hunger, violent extremism, and xenophobia are but a few of the many issues that the world continues to grapple with, even today. Global citizenship is a call to action — for people to come together in realizing their role and shared responsibilities of protecting the planet, fostering peace, ensuring global prosperity, respecting diversity, and advancing humanity through partnerships. We believe there is no global without local and as Mahatma Gandhi said ‘If you want to change the world, start with yourself.’

Global Citizenship Education provides a lens to view issues and challenges through, what we at the Global Citizenship Foundation call as “Two-Systems Thinking”. Where you “Think and Act, both global and local” instead of just “Thinking Global and Acting Local”. Global Citizenship Education aims to instill in learners the values, attitudes and behaviors that support responsible global citizenship.

Our Case for Global Citizenship Education

The concept of Global Citizenship is an old idea, and global leaders, educators, and practitioners recognize that the concept of Global Citizenship is relevant today more than ever. Global Citizenship Education inspires and empowers individuals to:

As a result, Global Citizenship Education also prevents generations from the scourge of hate, radicalization, extremism, and violence. Thereby, inspiring learners to be part of the solution to the problems faced across the planet.

Global Impetus

The Education 2030 Agenda and Framework for Action, notably Target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education, mandates the fostering of Education for Global Citizenship by calling on countries to “ensure that all learners are provided with the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”.

Importance of SDG 4.7

Target 4.7 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 intends to realize the social, humanistic and moral purposes of education.Target 4.7 is a passport to ensuring Quality Education, preparing young people for life. It explicitly links education to other SDGs and captures the transformative aspirations of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Role of Educational Institutions in Fulfilling the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 4 and Target 4.7

The concept of global citizenship is embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals through SDG 4: Ensuring Inclusive and Quality Education for All and Promote Life Long Learning, which includes global citizenship as one of its targets.

By 2030, the international community has agreed to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including global citizenship.

Educational Institutions have a responsibility to promote global citizenship by fostering in educators and learners that they are members of both their local and larger global community and can use their skills and education to contribute towards these communities.

Our Whole-Child GCED Framework

The Framework that guides us in fostering Global Citizenship Education in formal and non formal education systems include:

The maxim "Think Global, Act Local" perhaps best suits the last century. This century demands that we develop two-systems thinking. That is to "Think and Act Both Local and Global."
— Aaryan Salman, President, Global Citizenship Foundation

Global Citizenship is Inspired by Ancient Wisdom

The philosophy of global citizenship across cultures and civilizations…

African Philosophy

umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu

(In Zulu Language)

Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning "humanity towards others" or "I am because of who we all are".

Indian Philosophy

अयं निज: परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम् ।
उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥

—Hitopadesha: 1.3.71

"Ayam nijaH paro veti gaNanaa laghuchetasaam udaaracharitaam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam"

The thought that one person is related to me and another is not is that of the narrow-minded. For the broadminded, however, the whole world is one family.


仁 (Ren: “two-man-mindedness”)

—Analects of Confucius

Definition: “Wishing to be established oneself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged oneself, seeks also to enlarge others.”Relationship between two humans: humanity, benevolence

South American Philosophy

sumak kawsay

(In Quechua Language)

In Quechua Sumak Kawsay roughly translates into “good living” or the “good life,” however it means much deeper than this. Throughout South America, it is a way of living in harmony within communities, ourselves, and most importantly, nature.


"I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world."

—Plutarch, Of Banishment

Throughout the history of humankind, many people including Socrates declared to be citizens of the Earth.