Virtual Townhall: Global Citizenship

On March 20, 2015, over 400 students from five high schools across Canada came together to collaborate, through the use of technology, in a Virtual Town Hall to discuss the youth’s vision for Global Citizenship Education.

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  1. From Alberta to Ontario, downtown Toronto to Yellowknife, the youth of Canada exchanged ideas, debated alternatives, and ultimately created a document that represents their voice on the relationship Canadians should have with the rest of the world.
  2. In the month prior to the Virtual Town Hall, student leaders, systematically chosen from each school to represent Canada’s diverse geographic and demographic population, met on a weekly basis to exchange ideas, work with and listen to experts, and create a common framework.
  3. Equipped with this knowledge and empowered through online technology, the student leaders facilitated a full-day virtual town hall where 400 youth peers engaged in a dialogue with local and international experts to address three critical questions:
  4. 1.What are our obligations as global citizens? What are the rights and responsibilities that we have?
    2.To what extent can well-intentioned global citizenship initiatives reinforce or resist power inequities?
    3.What types of policies/practices will enable/facilitate global citizenship?
  5. Representing voices of high school students across Canada, students came together to discuss how to rise above the challenges to achieve global equality. As global citizens, they should fight power inequities in the following ways:
    1.Ensure the voices of marginalized and influential citizens are heard equally
    2.Question what we know and the information we receive about other people in the world and particularly, critically view media in order to challenge preconceived biases, understand varying contexts, and learn how to create sustainable change
    3.Share the collective duty of enforcing cultural, economic, environmental, and social rights, both individual and collective and encourage a diverse and accepting society
  6. The students recognize that achieving equality would be a simple task if every country had the same history and privilege.
  7. The global community should work together to give everyone to give equal opportunities and take into account the differences amongst people. However, that this concept of equity will not be obtained until the voices of people in undermined groups are considered and valued. What is needed is empathy.
  8. Individuals are permitted to share their voices, but must also be open to those of others. In essence, this is both an inherent right and responsibility of a global citizen.
  9. The western part of the world is often guilty of being blinded by the idea of a single story.
  10. Individuals don't question what is forward by the popular culture and media. People are deceived into
    thinking that what is shown in the media is the full story, when, in truth, it is merely just a small glance at the larger problem.
  11. One example of how the biases of western countries is to developing world is can be seen through foreign aid programs.
  12. Many western nations,find themselves prone to the “saviour complex”. That is because western history teaches us to not see everyone as equals. We create a division between the people who need “help” and the ones providing the "help”.
  13. Instead of the idea of one group of people saving another, it should be a collaboration of all involved groups working together, as equals, to address the problem
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