Yanis Ben Amor

Yanis Ben Amor

Recipient of 2022 President's Global Innovation Fund

Co-Principal Investigators: Ozge Karadag, Earth Institute's Center for Sustainable Development;
Daniel M. Naujoks, Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs

Project: "Youth-led advocacy initiative for global citizenship, responsibility, and cooperation"

Global Centers: Istanbul and Tunis

Project Description: The main goal of our project was to create a network of university students to advocate for a curriculum update in their universities to have a multidisciplinary and required course on global citizenship, including topics such as sustainable development, climate change, international migration, one health, health equity, social inclusion, prevention of stigma, racism, and discrimination, in addition to global diplomacy and cooperation. The community based participatory action research methodology for the proposed two-year project included a situation analysis phase followed by an action phase.

The project kicked off in the fall of 2022 with a consultation meeting in Istanbul to bring together researchers and students from Columbia University, Bogazici University, Anadolu University, and South Mediterranean University in Tunisia, in addition to experts and youth from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Global Master’s in Development Practice Program. The students worked with academics in their respective universities to assess existing undergraduate and graduate curricula with a mixed-methods study (situation analysis phase), advocated for a multidisciplinary course for all higher education students that will focus on global citizenship and created an online curricular content to be adapted to different educational settings (action phase).

A two-day workshop was held in June 2023 in Tunisia, commencing at the Mediterranean School of Business. This workshop brought together delegates from Columbia, Bogazici, Anadolu and South Mediterranean universities, along with the Columbia Global Centers in Tunis and Istanbul, and guests from Tunisian universities, companies and civil society. It featured interactive poster sessions and breakout activities, fostering exchanges of ideas, knowledge, and experiences related to global citizenship. Educators, researchers, students and professionals actively engaged in discussions and thought-provoking Q&A sessions. On the second day of the workshop, hosted at the Tunis Center, participants focused on charting the future of the project, defining the next steps and fostering partnerships for further collaboration.

The ultimate goal of the project was that all university students (regardless of their major field of study) have a basic understanding of global issues and sustainable development including global diplomacy and cooperation, and every graduate be equipped with the necessary knowledge and attitude (global responsibility) to contribute to global cooperation to respond to major global issues within their field of study. The project team monitored curricular changes and other educational initiatives in all participating universities throughout the project and prepare policy reports, international conference papers and scientific articles to disseminate examples of best educational practices at the international level.