On the 13th of December, French national officer Rosemine Abdallah represented Bridge 47 in a panel discussion on Global Citizenship at the House of UNESCO in Paris, as part of the Transforming Lives: The Power of Human Rights Education exhibition.

Organised by Soka Gakkai International, HRE 2020 and various NGO working groups, the exhibition was first established in 2017 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on Human rights education and training, with the aim of raising awareness on the key role of human rights education in promoting equality, peace and respect for human rights.

As a first-time attendee and panellist, French national officer Rosemine Abdallah represented Bridge 47 in a panel discussion on Global Citizenship. What first struck her was the audience. Rosemine had been told to expect a younger audience, filled with students and young activists. Instead, the attendees were made up of a wide range of active religious and interreligious communities and organisations. While this was not the demographic Rosemine had expected, the diversity of the audience led to some interesting discussions, and for some it was their first introduction to Global Citizenship Education.

The global citizenship roundtable set out to define what global citizenship is in practice and how developing a consciousness of being a citizen of the world is key to respect for human rights. There was some initial confusion as to what Global citizenship was, with one panelist in active opposition as she believed it was a legal concept promoting the idea of a one world government that would result in the elimination of cultural, political and legal diversity.

With this in mind, Rosemine approached the topic firstly by defining a global citizen as someone with a good understanding of global challenges and a desire to take action for a more just world. Then she explained how Global Citizenship Education (GCE) functions as an enabling tool for active citizenship, by equipping learners with an understanding of global issues and the skills and competencies needed to engage in active citizenship.

To contextualise the discussion, Rosemine outlined the evolution of GCE within education in France, referring to the transition from development education to citizenship education. Rosemine also highlighted Bridge 47’s various Train the Trainer events on GCE and the SDGs as examples of GCE in practice, as well as the recent Envision 4.7 event and Roadmap.

Other Global citizenship speakers included Bariza Khiari, President of the Institute of Islamic cultures and Paris Senator, Marion Genaivre, Philosopher and cofounder of Thaé, applied philosophy for management and companies, and Joyce Poan, Global Citizenship Education Section, UNESCO. The panel was moderated by Konstantinos Tararas, Programme Specialist, Inclusion and Rights section UNESCO.

The panel concluded with unanimous agreement that there was a need to introduce GCE into formal education.

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