The Mediterranean Sea is significantly warmer than it was just a few years ago, and at the same time heavy storms are also becoming more frequent in Austria. The example of climate change provides compelling evidence that national unilateral action and outdated recipes are no match for current global challenges. Hans Karl Peterlini has held the UNESCO Chair “Global Citizenship Education – Culture of Diversity and Peace” since 2020 and he emphasises: “We are increasingly dealing with existential issues that cannot be tackled by national governments alone.”
Global citizenship means operating in a way that is responsible on a “planetary” level and focusing on a cosmopolitan view. The aim of the idea of “global citizenship” is to recognise and address complex connections between the local, the national and the global. According to Hans Karl Peterlini (Department of Educational Science), this necessity is evident is clear from many present-day examples: “Climate change and migration movements show us that global challenges do not stop at national borders.”
Human-induced climate change also highlights global interconnections: “It does not exist on its own, but in connection with modes of production and lifestyles across the world”, as, Peterlini continues: “The world is bigger than the familiar unit that is the nation state. If we continue to think like this within our nation-state logic, we will run this planet off the road.” People’s lifestyles are linked to all the phenomena that have emerged globally to threaten our survival, Peterlini observes. “We must not ignore the fact that there are problems beyond our own tiny reality that affect us all.”
The vision of planetary responsibility is also grounded in local and global projects. In the OeAD-funded “Sparkling Science” project “Transform4School – Model Schools for Learning about Democracy and Peace”, efforts are being made with all school stakeholders to develop a participatory school culture and to work in concrete terms on selected goals of the 17 “Sustainable Development Goals”. In the Global Campus Online “GloCo” project, which is funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the province of Carinthia, dialogue groups from the Global North and the Global South work together with small projects in the field to tackle the major challenges of our time. Another flagship of the UNESCO Chair is the continuing education programme Global Citizenship Education, which will enter its fourth cycle in 2023/24.
Hans Karl Peterlini has held the UNESCO Chair “Global Citizenship Education – Culture of Diversity and Peace” since the end of 2020. The position draws together contributions from people, schools, institutions, NGOs and political and civil society initiatives for global learning and facilitates the exchange of ideas between them. At the University of Klagenfurt, projects include the Master’s degree programme “Diversity Education”, the continuing education programme “Global Citizenship Education” and the extension programme “Transdisciplinary Peace Studies”. More information is availble at: https://www.aau.at/en/unesco-chair-global-citizenship-education/