Global Citizenship: A Conversation with Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

In a time when questions of national identity and citizenship have taken on extreme importance, Atossa Abrahamian's discussion of her book, The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen was inevitably going to lead a lively evening at the Paris Center.

December 25, 2015

Moderated by Programs Manager Loren Wolfe, the conversation dealt with a variety of topics relating to global citizenship and the thorny issues that accompany it. Ranging from inequality, statelessness, wealth, and national boundaries, the discussion engaged the audience and touched on some of the most relevant issues in the news today.

About The Cosmopolites: The buying and selling of citizenship has become a thriving business in just a few years. Entrepreneurs and libertarians are renouncing America and Europe in favor of tax havens like Singapore and the Caribbean. But Abrahamian discovered, the story of twenty-first-century citizenship is bigger than millionaires seeking their next passport. When Abrahamian learned that a group of mysterious middlemen were persuading island nations like the Comoros, St. Kitts, and Antigua to turn to selling citizenship as a new source of revenue after the 2008 financial crisis, she decided to follow the money trail to the Middle East. There, she found that the customers of passports-in-bulk programs were the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, oil-rich countries that don’t want to confer their own citizenship on their bidoon people, or stateless minorities who have no documentation (Columbia Global Reports, 2015).

About Columbia Global Reports: Columbia Global Reports is a new publishing imprint that’s producing four to six ambitious works of journalism and analysis a year, each on a different underreported story in the world.