Global Citizenship


The Concept of Global Citizenship

The concept of global citizenship lies at the heart of global studies.  The idea of individual humans perceiving reality around them from the vantage-point of a global worldview, and acting in the interests of the planet and humanity as a single group, is fundamental to the strengthening of global law and governance.

Global citizenship is not a new concept; indeed, the idea of universalism was one of the central characteristics of ancient and classical civilizations.  Over the past four centuries, however, the Westphalian era of the nation-state has introduced and strengthened the concept of national citizenship to one of political dominance.  Yet the notion of global citizenship is becoming articulated by a new generation of leaders, as evidenced by the speeches of young national leaders of Austria, Canada, France and New Zealand (see the address by the NZ Prime Minister in the link):

A definition and analysis of the concept of ‘global citizenship’ may be found in a chapter on the subject, authored by the Centre’s Director, Dr Kennedy Graham (Kennedy Graham, ‘Global Citizenship’ (2015) Global Citizenship)

Global Citizenship Education

The Centre has been active from its early days in promoting interest in global citizenship among NZ students at both secondary and tertiary levels.

Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is at the cutting edge of 21st century education and will set New Zealand students apart in global leadership, innovation and responsibility. GCED is especially important for NZ, to overcome its geographical isolation and could be at the core of ensuring that we remain an exemplary ‘remote global nation’.

The concepts that shape global citizenship are global interdependence and cultural diversity – global citizens respect human rights, cultural diversity, peace and the environment. Equipped with the values of rights, respect, and responsibility, students gain knowledge and understanding of global concerns while developing the global competence, critical thinking, and cooperation skills to meet the challenges of a complex world. GCED is about equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and values to participate as active citizens.
GCED supports the aspirations of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) as well as international obligations and trends, in particular, the Sustainable Development Goals (4.7) GCED makes connections between the concept of global citizenship and the bicultural foundation of New Zealand’s society by partnership sharing the guardianship of the earth.
The NZCGS supports the development and promotion of GCED through its own global citizenship programme and in collaboration with other agencies – schools, universities, political, NGOs and IGOs.

In 2013 the Centre hosted its first Global Citizenship conference for students, at Auckland Girls’ Grammar school. Around 30 senior secondary students from around New Zealand met to explore difficult questions and concepts around sovereignty and governance of global commons and goods. Eight students were selected to attend a weekend retreat at the Centre’s base on Waiheke Island to further develop their ideas and a draft a report on what it means for a young person to be a global citizen in the 21st century.

With generous funding by way of a grant from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, the Centre is able to expand its Global Citizenship Education in New Zealand project in two ways; the promotion and development of GCED and the expansion of its student conference projects in 2016.

International research will be undertaken into best practices, in collaboration with ASPnet ( supporting the development and implementation of GCED in New Zealand.

The funding allows for two conferences in 2016, on 13 May the second student conference on global citizenship will be held in Wellington, co hosted by the NZCGS and the NZ National Commission for UNESCO and will be attended by up to 100 students from around New Zealand.

A second conference on 1 July has a creative arts focus, entitled Creative Activism and Global Citizenship Conference. Students link up to a showcase of artists around the world and create their own work in the areas of media studies, music, creative writing and drama. Conference details are listed below.

Student Global Citizenship Report 2016 NZCGSStudentGlobalCitizenshipReport
Student Global Citizenship Report 2014 global_citizenship_report

The University of Birmingham, Global Citizenship Education: The Needs of Teachers and Learners education_for_global_citizenship_a_guide_for_schools

Oxfam, Education for Global Citizenship: A Guide for Schools global_citizenship_report

Articles from the New Zealand Centre for Global Studies:
Global Citizenship Responsibility

Media Coverage:
Education Gazette Article: An interdependent whole
UNESCO NZ Article: Supporting Global Citizenship Education in New Zealand
Radio New Zealand story on #Create1World Conference.

Student Conferences

The inaugural project for the New Zealand Centre for Global Studies was a Global Citizenship Education student conference where some 30 students from around New Zealand took part in a day of presentations and mentored workshops to discuss questions around what it means to be a global citizen in the 21st century. Eight students were selected from the group to attend a weekend retreat where they further developed the discussion and wrote a draft report on their findings.

Funding from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO allowed the project to expand significantly in 2016. This time two student conferences were held, one based on the orginal, academic model and the second through arts – capturing a broader range of students from around New Zealand.

Both conferences were held in Wellington, the first launched with a cross party reception at Parliament House, where the 100 participants were welcomed by NZCGS board members, members of parliament and the chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. NZCGS Director and Member of Parliament, Dr Kennedy Graham welcomed and addressed the group. Words of welcome and encouragement followed from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO Chair, Ian McKinnon; NZCGS Chair, Dr Adrian Macey, and Members of Parliament, Mark Mitchell and Su’a Williams. This occasion provided and opportunity for the students to meet each other and their mentors. The scene was set for a full day ahead of presensations and workshops that were wide-ranging on issues around global governance and common goods. The day was facilitated and coordinated by Libby Giles, with the assistance of Isabella Lenihan-Ikin.

The conference day itself was divided into two parts, a morning of presentations at the Royal Society of New Zealand and an afternoon of mentored student workshops at Mātauranga House. Presentations were given by NZCGS board members, Dr Duncan Currie, Associate Professor Graham Hassall, Professor Chris Gallavin, Associate Professor Marjan van den Belt and members of parliament, Jacinda Ardern and Tracey Martin. The day was facilitated by Libby Giles and the presentations covered life as a global citizen, global governance and common goods, sustainability, a Pacific perspective and international law.

For the second part of the day, the group was welcomed to Mātauranga House by Emily Fabling, Director of the Ministry of Education’s International Division. The afternoon opened and closed with plenary sessions with the bulk of the time spent in workshops facilitated by a remarkable team of students from the University of Victoria, led by Isabella Lenihan-Ikin. Isabella was a participant of the Centre’s first global citizenship conference and a key contributor to the success of its second.

The second conference, held in association with Massey University, entitled Create1World, hosted around 200 students, providing an opportunity to explore way to engage as global citizens through the arts. A panel of global performers and activists were beamed in livestream to share in the event and to encourage the students in their endeavours. Participant finalists presented their performances on-site – the competition categories were performance, song writing, media studies and creative writing. Expert facilitated group discussions helped to clarify some of the concepts around global citizenship and galvanise the students into action. Create1World was developed and led by Elpeth Tilley, Associate Professor oe English (Expressive Arts) at Massey University. The events of the day were facilitated by Professor Chris Gallavin, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Humanities and Social Sciences) Massey University, NZCGS Board member.

A group selected from the two conferences met at a retreat, bringing together a range of skills and knowledge. The retreat was held at the Centre, based on Waiheke Island where they were briefed and guided by the NZCGS Director, Dr Kennedy Graham, board members and advisers, Rod Oram, Prue Taylor and Libby Giles. Largely, the students were left to their own devices in the board room where they identified their common values, understanding and commitment. This culminated in the drafting of a statement detailing the imperative to take action to address the challenges faced by the world and the ways in which education for global citizenship is the way forward.

The model of student conferencing developed by the New Zealand Centre for Global Studies and Massey University, provides a unique experience for school students to engage in depth with global issues and to gain an understanding of what it is to be a global citizen. The conferences have attracted a great deal of interest with students and from other organisations in New Zealand and internationally.


Photos from the Global Citizenship Education Conference in Wellington, NZ.

Photos from the 2016 Global Citizenship Education Retreat, Waiheke Island NZ.








Past Global Citizenship Conferences

New Zealand Centre for Global Studies Global Citizenship Education Conference
May 13th, 2016

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The New Zealand Centre for Global Studies (NZCGS) invites applications from Year 11–13 students to attend a one-day conference in Wellington, exploring the concept of global citizenship and how this can affect their individual lives and the political process in the generational time-frame.

The purpose of the conference is to encourage New Zealand high-school students to think creatively and realistically about the concept of global citizenship. It includes presentations from some of the world’s experts in global governance, justice sustainability and law, including Dr Adrian Macey (Senior Associate in the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University, New Zealand’s first Climate Change Ambassador, former Ambassador to France, OECD and Algeria and in Bangkok with responsibilities for Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar); Dr Kennedy Graham (MP, former diplomat for New Zealand and former Director of the United Nations University); Professor Chris Gallavin (Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University, Wellington and former Dean of Law at Canterbury University); Associate Professor Marjan van den Belt (Director of the Ecological Economics Research New Zealand at Massey University); and Associate Professor Graham Hassall (Director of Pacific Island Programmes at Victoria University).

See link for more details and to register:

Creative Activism and Global Citizenship
July 1st, 2016
Massey University, Wellington.

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Massey University and the New Zealand Centre for Global Studies are hosting a youth competition (now open for entries) and conference (Friday 1st July 2016) on Creative Activism and Global Citizenship.
The competition is now open to all Year 11-13 students. Make a video, write a song, create a drama or speech, or write a poem or short story about creativity and global citizenship. Show us how the arts can be used to cross borders, build global understanding and address planetary problems. Thanks to principal sponsor UNESCO NZ, there are cash prizes for first, second and third in each category.
For more detail see
Twitter at
Facebook at

Use the hashtag #create1world to join the conversation.

ANY student or teacher from any highschool grade or subject area can attend the free conference day to learn about creative activism and global citizenship, whether or not they enter the competition. Any year 11-13 student can enter the competition, whether or not they would also like to attend the conference. We look forward to seeing your creative entries and to welcoming you to the #create1world event on July 1

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2017 Conference

In August 2017 Board Members, Adrian Macey (Chair) and Libby Giles, attended and presented at a conference in Taipei, “Sharing Civic Experience: NGO and Global Citizenship Education”.