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Global citizenship education: Definitions and debates

Bronwyn E. Wood

The idea of global citizenship or world citizenship is the idea that human beings are “citizens of the world” (Dower & Williams, 2002, p. 1). This notion of membership of a wider global, universal, or cosmopolitan citizenship goes back to the Stoics in the time of the ancient world of the Greeks and the Romans (Heater, 1999). In such times, the ideas of virtues, including moderation in the passions and endurance of adversity, was viewed as an ideal—and such people called themselves the “cosmo-polities” or “citizens of the cosmos”. They viewed their role and responsibilities as part of an ordered (global) reasoned life in which acting as a global citizen was a natural response to one’s position in life and the cosmos (Dower & Williams, 2002). Yet, as an idea it is highly contested.

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