What does it mean to be a Global Citizen? - Two Students' perspectives

Two students who took part in the recent U21 Global Citizenship course alongside 2000 other students share their experience of exploring what it means to be a global citizen and connection with others around the world. 

Margarete Schweinitz is a third-year communication science undergraduate studying at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

Picture of Margarete smiling with a red jumper on
This is me, Margarete Schweinitz, the day I had my first workshop with my fellow students.

Before I started with the U21 Global Citizenship program organised by Universitas 21 and Common Purpose, I was nervous. At this point, I did not know what it meant to be a global citizen working on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Yes, I was familiar with the SDGs, but I was unfamiliar with how to work on them.

With the help of the course and my fellow global citizens, I understood that it only takes one person, a vision, and many ideas to make an impact on the world. Quickly, it became clear that the smallest action is a contribution to the SDGs. I chose SDG 10 - reducing inequalities, and regarding this matter, I asked: Does it matter where we are from? And, I realised that it does matter.

As I am focusing on SDG 10, which connects to many other SDGs, I decided to collaborate with fellow students on a project working on SDG 5 - gender equality. With working on SDG 5, I am also focusing on SDG 10 as we are covering issues and opportunities within different countries concerning gender equality.

Now, after the successful completion of the course, I am confident in working on the SDGs and contributing towards a more sustainable society and world by 2030. It often starts with two questions to create change: what can we do better? And how can we do better? It is up to us what we make out of them! 

Priyasha Sharma is a second-year Economics undergraduate studying at the University of Delhi, India

Photo of Priyasha against a red brick wall. She is smiling and has one hand on her hair.

Our environment always fascinated me with its innate uniqueness and ability to nurture life in the grimiest places. I often ponder how lucky we are to exist on the only life-supporting planet in this vast universe. As I grew older, observing how many humans were indifferent to their environmentally harmful actions, I realised that many people don’t treasure their existence here. This behaviour confused me because to me it’s crystal clear that we owe our existence to mother Earth and mustn’t cause it any harm. 

I feel that the major barrier to active climate action is ignorance and low awareness. Thus, I chose SGD 13 – Climate Action, to work upon, on joining the U21 Global Citizenship Program. Prior to this, I was familiar with the SDGs. However, I wasn’t aware of the direction I should work towards to make a difference. The U21 Program showed me that direction by teaching me several aspects of leadership, like interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and how to build the bridge which concatenates ideas & execution. 

Under the program, I successfully formulated a constitution for a local governing body which is based on the UP Societies Act, 2010 and has additional Directive Principles on the crucial themes of Climate Change and Communal Harmony. I wish to raise more awareness about Climate Change and nurture a community which works actively towards holding our leaders accountable for Climate Action. Feel free to connect with me on social media if you want to talk about Climate Action or share your playlist with me! 

Amber Bartlett