Global citizenship applies the concept of citizenship to a global level, and is strongly connected with the concepts of globalization and cosmopolitanism. World citizenship is a related term which can be distinguished from global citizenship, although some may merge the two concepts. Various ideas about what a global citizen is exist. Global citizenship can be defined as a moral and ethical disposition which can guide the understanding of individuals or groups of local and global contexts, and remind them of their relative responsibilities within various communities. (Heater, 2008, 47-99)
According to some accounts, citizenship is motivated by local interests (love of family, communal fairness, self-interest), global interests (a sense of universal equality), and concern for fellow human beings, human rights and human dignity. The key tenets of global citizenship include respect for any and all fellow global citizens, regardless of race, religion or creed and give rise to a universal sympathy beyond the barriers of nationality. These sentiments were initially summarized by the American philosopher (Heater, 2008, 47-99)
When translated into participatory action, global citizenship entails a responsibility to reduce international inequality (both social and economic), to refrain from action which hinders individuals' well-being, and avoid contributing to environmental degradation.
Within the educational system, the concept of global citizenship education (GCE) is at times beginning to supersede movements such as multicultural education, peace education, human rights education and international education. Additionally, GCE rapidly incorporates references to the aforementioned movements. (Falk, 2008, 25)
In international relations, global citizenship can refer to states' responsibility to act with the awareness that the world is a global community, by recognizing and fulfilling its obligations towards the global world, as well as the rights of global citizens. For example, states can choose to recognize the right to freedom of movement. Global citizenship is related to the international relations theory of idealism, which holds that states should include a level of moral goodwill in their foreign policy decisions.
Many citizens could be labeled as emerging global citizens are actively engaged in efforts on a global scale - whether through business ventures, environmentalism, concern for nuclear weapons, health issues or immigration problems. The phenomenon of global citizenship can also be summarized by its emergence people a lack of any global governing body. In other words, it is as if global citizens spontaneously erupted of their own volition. Some may identify a base in grassroots activism as common thread within the phenomenon of their emergence.
In a paper entitled "Global Citizenship - Towards a Definition," scholar Taso G. Lagos writes about the relation between global activism and global citizenship:
Global girls activity is on the rise. Demonstrations in Seattle in 1999, Genoa in 2001 and at dozens of other sites, brought activists together from around the world and localized global issues in unprecedented ways. These and other activities suggest the possibility of an emerging global citizenry. Individuals from a wide variety of nations, both in the North and South, move across boundaries for different activities and ...