TCU - Global Citizenship

“Think Global” Student Response Winner: The Syrian Exodus-A Global Crisis by Teresa Cenney

In the Think Global panel at TCU, experts examined the Syrian Crisis and ways both the civilian population and governments could help. An important notion to consider when addressing this crisis is global citizenship.

Global citizenship is about being a part of an emerging world community. Thinking in terms of global engagement allows people to group together and have a sense that they belong to one, global community built upon a foundational governance structure articulated by shared values and beliefs. These forces of global engagement allow people to better identify as global citizens. By viewing ourselves as global citizens, we do not forgo our host nation or other identities such as ethnicity or political beliefs, we simply use these traditional characteristics to continue to form who we are and what we want the world to become. We share a concern and in turn a responsibility to act for the betterment of our host countries and those around us in times of humanitarian disasters, detrimental environmental factors, economic crises, and in the case of Syria, civil conflicts and wars.

Ordinary citizens can help to significantly change the situation. Simple tasks like raising money to donate to education programs and refugee camps can make a huge difference. Beyond donating money, global citizens can act in personal ways, advocating at the local level for solutions to this now global problem. The panelists pointed out that the United States has the largest immigrant population in the world. Based on a 2013 United Nations report, the United States houses 45 million immigrants. The total population of the United States stands at a grand total of 318.9 million people. However, the United States has only taken in 1,500 Syrian refugees. This is a minuscule amount in comparison to the amount of refugees other countries have taken in. To put it in perspective, Germany has a population of roughly 80 million people and has pledged to take in 1.5 million refugees. The amount of refugees Germany has pledged to take in is one thousand times bigger than the United States. The United States is nearly four times larger than Germany. If the major world powers took in an equal number of refugees, in proportion to their population, so many more refugees would have a place to stay, as well as access to education and more job opportunities.

As world powers continue to debate migration policies and the surrounding Middle Eastern countries harbor fleeing refugees, the country of Syria remains wrought with civil war and unrest under the Assad regime. If people use the growing, global identity and apply it to the Syrian Crisis, a major change can happen.