‘Global Citizenship’ on the rise

Global mobility experts report a rise in the phenomenon of the ‘Global Citizen’ as the world marks United Nations Day.

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As the world marks United Nations Day today, 24 October, business experts are reporting a rise in the number of well-travelled, culturally aware professionals who see themselves as a ‘Global Citizen’ rather than a product of their country of birth.So much has changed since the United Nations first came into force in 1945 with a mission to bring the world together.Advances in technology and transportation, for instance, have dramatically increased awareness of other cultures and resulted in a global business community of workers who have experienced work and life in a large number of different countries.So as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks about his desire to work for ‘the entire human family of seven billion people and care for the earth, our one and only home’ global business is doing its own bit – even in a world where political and sociological problems remain a big challenge.

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Benedict Slonecki of Crown World Mobility, a worldwide business, which helps corporations manage global talent, has been researching the rise of the ‘global citizen’ and believes it is a significant trend. “It’s a buzzword that has been circulating for several years now in the global mobility industry but we’ve noticed a recent rise in the phenomenon amongst assignees we support on behalf of our clients,” said Benedict, a UK citizen with English-Polish heritage who is currently based Hong Kong.“It can be loosely defined as an individual who no longer feels they belong to a specific nation or cultural group regardless of what their passport says – normally as a result of living and working abroad.“A study by GlobeScan and BBC World Service earlier this year found that nearly half of those surveyed from emerging economic countries identify more as a global citizen than as a citizen from their own country.“It’s an interesting concept and one worth bringing into focus at a time when the UK has been battling so hard with questions of identity. Are we British? Are we European? Are we citizens of the world? In business a lot of people are leaning towards the latter.”Thousands of British expats work and live abroad, many on assignment for a global corporation, and as a result experience a cultural shift that changes the way they think.Some become so immersed in a variety of cultures that they now feel like a global citizen.Shân Norman, Vice President, Client Services, Crown World Mobility, believes there could be benefits for big business.“I think global citizens are more attractive to employ, they bring diversity of opinions and a wider open outlook,” she said. “If we were all global citizens there would be less conflict, fewer borders and more understanding and openness.”Seventy-one years after the UN Charter was signed it is certainly something to think about.

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