This is the master’s thesis of the DEEEP4 project coordinator Tobias Troll. It is a reflection on the process of “Building a Global Citizens’ Movement” as seen by arguably the key person involved in its steering and coordination.

This dissertation examines the potential and character of a global citizens movement to address a paradigm shift towards a just and sustainable planetary future, and the role development education (GCE) can play in facilitating such a process.

This research builds on 12 interviews with local movement organisers, international NGO leaders, global activists and development educators from 6 continents on the character, potential and challenges of a global citizens movement.

Three essential elements for the advancement of a global citizens movement are identified: The acknowledgment of the need for a great transition, a changing role and practice of NGOs, and a focus on cultural transformation. It concludes that development education (GCE) can play a crucial role in facilitating the re-appropriation of political change by citizens if focused on values, emancipation and social transformation. 

The particular value of this resource lies in the author’s mapping of different understandings / conceptualizations of change (p. 56-58), as seen seen by different participants in the movement. It is of use to anyone involved in building partnership and networks that aim to be innovative and personally/institutionally transformative.

The transcribed interviews offer first-person accounts of how global/social change is seen differently by the members of the movement and represent a collection of highly authentic and divergent positions, often taking critical (radical reform) stances. The thesis also introduces in an accessible way the Berkana Institute “Lifecycle of emergence” and the Smart CSO’s Great Transition change models.

While the thesis offers accounts of critical (self)reflection (from the author and the interviewees), it does not explicitly engage critically with the proposed models of change (the SMART CSO and Berkana Insititute) neither does it examine in more detail the role of GCE as a vehicle for change.

The thesis includes reference to the Johannesburg 2013 Conference.