Global Citizenship in Practice
By Lindsay Plodwick ’13
The Global Citizen ship in Practice Conference was held on March 23 presented by both Lehigh University and the United Nations Academic Impact Conference.
The program, held in Rauch Business Center, lasted from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and hosted a plethora of speakers and scholars to from the areas of education, business, and civil society to discuss the field of Global Citizenship.
The goal of the conference, as stated by those planning, was “to help shape a common ground and a common language leading to a better, more sustainable, and more responsible world citizenship.”
Speakers included Gillian Sorensen, former Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Aaron Rippenkroeger, Deputy VP of the Int'l Rescue Committee, and other professors (some from Lehigh), individuals from NGOs, and business leaders. Though the conference was held at Lehigh, it was broadcast online around the world, and they even had speakers beaming in from Ohio State University and University of Oulu, Finland.
For those who were planning the conference, it seemed like a lofty goal to accomplish.
“There wasn’t a set goal we were trying to achieve; we were starting from a blank slate,” said Benjamin Mak ’12, one of the students on the planning committee. They quickly realized that it was not their job to define global citizenship, but rather to show the different perspectives of it as they are lived out in everyday life.
Not only for the community, but for Lehigh itself, this conference was extremely important. Lehigh University has been very active within the Academic Impact community, as it is one of the very few schools to have been granted United Nations Non-Governmental Organization status. They keynote speaker even commented on how impressive Lehigh University was.
The last section of the conference further showed the connection between Lehigh and the global world, as the senior students in the global citizenship program presented their capstone projects. Overall, those in charge of planning were unanimously very happy about how the conference turned out, the attendance, and the discussions that came about from it.
“I think the conference did what it was supposed to do,” Mak said. “that is to reate a discussion between all these different people. It was a lot of work to plan, but it was worth it.”