Global Citizenship is a broad concept with numerous definitions. Broadly speaking, however, all definitions share the idea that to be a global citizen is to be a responsible and active member of the global community and to define oneself beyond national boundaries. It is also associated with an international outlook and experience, philanthropy or concern towards distant others, and involvement in international networks addressing global concerns.
The Centre for Applied Buddhism focuses its work on global citizenship based on three perspectives developed by the educator, philosopher and activist Daisaku Ikeda. These are:
- The altruistic consciousness embodied in the Bodhisattva spirit which is to work for the happiness of all humanity: In contemporary terms, this is an awareness of self and others and a desire for social justice, human rights and equality.
- The interconnectedness and interdependence of all life: Buddhism regards all life and the environment – sentient and non-sentient – as interrelated and interconnected. Global citizens are therefore concerned for the health, happiness and well-being of all people and the planet on which we depend.
- Action based on universal values that protect the dignity of life: Global citizens have a sense of responsibility for the world in which they live and take action in numerous ways, local and global. From a Buddhist perspective this is based on the concept of ‘inner universality’ in which people develop the expansive life condition to embrace all living beings and take action on their behalf.
Since 2018 CfAB has collaborated with the Institute of Education at University College London (UCL) to develop and promote research and scholarly discussion and application of Buddhist perspectives on Global Citizenship. Since then a number of collaborative activities have taken place including:
15-16 May, 2018: The Institute of Education, University College London (UCL), and Centre for Applied Buddhism co-sponsored a two-day international symposium on Global Citizenship at Taplow Court in Taplow, U.K.
7 March 2019: A seminar entitled 'What does Global Citizenship mean for you? Jointly hosted by the Institute of Education and Centre for Applied Buddhism held at the London Ikeda Peace Centre.