A Youth-led Advocacy Initiative for Global Citizenship

The "Youth-led Advocacy Initiative for Global Citizenship, Responsibility, and Cooperation" project kicked off with two events in Istanbul.

October 28, 2022

Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul, in collaboration with Columbia Global Centers | Tunis, Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development and School of International Affairs, Boğaziçi University, Anadolu University, South Mediterranean University, and Global Master’s in Development Practice, kicked off a project titled “Youth-led Advocacy Initiative for Global Citizenship, Responsibility, and Cooperation,” supported by the President’s Global Innovation Fund.

With a youth-led, bottom-up approach, the main goal of this project is to create a network of university students, who will be advocating 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 program is led by Yanis Ben Amor, Assistant Professor of Global Health, Özge Karadağ, Senior Staff Associate, Center for Sustainable Development and Daniel Naujoks, lecturer at SIPA. Columbia Global Centers in Istanbul and Tunis will work together in this project.

Education for global citizenship is necessary as an empowering tool for “learners of all ages to assume active roles, both locally and globally, in building more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure societies,” as defined by UNESCO and outlined in the target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, examples of specific educational programs or curricula on global citizenship and sustainable development framework are few. This project seeks to bridge this gap, starting with selected universities in Türkiye and Tunisia for reviewing, developing, and disseminating the best educational practices and curricula on global citizenship and sustainable development framework via established national and international networks.

The project started with a consultation meeting in Istanbul to bring together researchers and students from Columbia University, Boğaziçi University, Anadolu University, and South Mediterranean University, in addition to experts and youth from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Global Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Program. The students are now working with academics in their respective universities to assess existing undergraduate and graduate curricula with a mixed-methods study, advocate for a multidisciplinary course for all higher education students that will focus on global citizenship, and create an online curricular content to be adapted to different educational settings.

The Youth-led Advocacy Initiative for Global Citizenship took a significant stride as it embarked on its second leg in Tunis, following the successful inaugural event held in Istanbul by Columbia Global Centers. With an esteemed delegation from Columbia University (US), Bogazici University (Turkey), and Anadolu University (Turkey), along with the active participation of Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul and esteemed guests from Tunisian universities, companies, and civil society, the workshop/conference in Tunis fostered engaging discussions, diverse perspectives, and innovative ideas surrounding global citizenship. This collaborative effort serves as a testament to the importance of youth-driven advocacy and its potential to shape a more inclusive and interconnected world. To learn more about the event in Tunis, please follow the link.