Global Citizenship 101
On Friday Nov. 17, students and faculty from the Political Science Department travelled to SUNY Adirondacks for a night of discussion on global citizenship. “Global Citizenship 101,” organized by the World Awareness Children’s Museum in collaboration with Professor Kate Graney from the Political Science Department, gave high school students a taste for college discussions through two panel presentations and small group discussions.
Skidmore professors made up the first panel to establish some foundational knowledge of world affairs with the students. Professor Feryaz Ocakli opened the discussion by addressing common misperceptions surrounding the Middle East — his area of expertise. Professor Megan Turnbull followed up by asking for common stereotypes surrounding African politics, the topic of her research. Students were surprised to find growing economies, urban metropolises, and modern technology in several of the continent’s countries. Finally, Professor Yelena Biberman-Ocakli used her expertise of South Asia to challenge students to embrace diverse viewpoints when considering other countries. Students were slow to acknowledge India as the world’s largest democracy measured by population, or even the presence of democracy in the region itself. Following these brief presentations, students were eager to ask questions about the role of Islam in the Middle East and American politics, and in what ways America can help in international development.
The second panel was made up of world travelers to share personal experiences and advice for travelling abroad. A global brand marketer, a real estate agent with family in Europe and Egypt, and a young columnist from The Chronicle comprised this three-person panel. The panel disused the process of translation as more than simply language, but cultural interpretations as well, which dramatically impact abroad experiences. The panel suggested students think in global terms but act locally.
Following the panel discussions, high school students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, were split into small groups for discussions. The discussions were led by Skidmore students Jillian Seigel ’18, Nosheen Hotaki ’18, Jane Moretta-Miller ’18, Eli Bliss ’20, Jinan Al-Busaidi ’20, Aniba Rahman ’20, and Hunter McWilliams ’20. Students were once again challenged to confront their biases and preconceptions to consider a global citizen world view. Relations such as music, film, food, and literature could be seen as cultural bridges — tools to appreciating diversity. Students were guided in understanding and appreciating their role as Americans in a global context to interrogate the information they come across, and to see the world from differing point of views.