Windows on the world



Windows on the world
In short, the national historical canon has created
quite a stir: releasing creative energy, enthusiasm and
In June 2007, NCDO (Netherlands Committee for
delivered an address that caused a great deal of
the way of other identifications; what it comes down to is
looking for connections. Prince Claus was noted for his
The fuss centred around a simple fact that she
sincere involvement in problems of world poverty, and
Our project to develop a canon for global citizenship
referred to in her speech, namely that there is no such
yet at the same time he considered himself to be a
University’s Faculty of Geosciences initiated the
did not and does not have the same status, resources and
thing as Dutch identity. She even quoted her father-in-law,
Dutchman. For NCDO, global citizenship has, for a
development of a canon for global citizenship, chiefly
ambitions as the Dutch canon project. Nevertheless we
Prince Claus, who had previously stated: “I don’t know
considerable time, been a key notion in its educational
intended for use in education.
followed the idea of a canon. Reactions to the historical
what it’s like to be a Dutchman. I have various loyalties
activities. Even so, it does not only concern young
canon revealed that providing a selective list of topics, or
and I am a global citizen and a European and a
people’s involvement in global issues, but also their
A variously composed committee (see appendix 4
for the personal particulars of the committee members)
if you like, icons or windows, fills a strong need for
was charged with the task.
surveyability and choice-making. Global citizenship, as
What actually is a global citizen? The WRR report
Why a canon for global citizenship? The idea first
an area for special attention in education, is very
briefly considers the question. Writing about globalization
arose after the success of the Dutch historical and
comprehensive and difficult to define. These guidelines
and the significance of this process for national identity
Ultimately it is about simple, though not always
cultural canon. Naturally that was a much larger-scale
may therefore prove useful in clarifying the issue for
the authors observe: “After the seventies, globalization
easy things: an awareness that extends beyond the
initiative than is feasible in our case. The establishment
teachers, trainee teachers, instructors, authors of
was, for a long time, welcomed with ideas of
borders of the local or national community, insight in
of the Committee for the Development of the Dutch
educational tools and others.
cosmopolitanism and global citizenship. In anticipation
international developments, empathy with and respect
participation in their own country’s pluriform society.
Seen in this way, global citizenship is the international
dimension of engagement in society.
Canon by the Minister of Education was based on a wide
Experience with the historical canon has made it
of a global future, nationalism was rejected as outmoded.
for people from other parts of the world, reflection on
social consensus on the problem of inadequate historical
clear that a canon proposal always results in debate: why
For a long time international orientations and global
the many connections between one’s personal situation
awareness in Dutch society. The committee had ample
were these elements chosen and not others, what is the
citizenship had a positive reputation in the Netherlands.
and conditions elsewhere, plus the readiness to draw
resources available to realize its goals. Because of the
underlying logic? With this canon for global citizenship
Since then, it has become clear that the answer to
conclusions from them. In many different ways, numerous
sense of urgency felt about this issue, the historical canon
we hope to incite a similar debate. After all, the discussion
globalization cannot be that we are now all cosmopolites.”
authors have pleaded for this kind of attitude towards
has a value of its own: by arguing about the selection of
Until now it was mainly an elite decision to adopt a
global citizenship.4
accompanying website,, was and is
topics and windows everyone can hone their own ideas
cosmopolitan identity, according to the WRR. “A large
frequently visited. Numerous local or thematic canons
on global citizenship.
proportion of the population seeks its meaningful
parameters and footholds on a lower geographical level:
In our view there is nothing elitist about global citizenship.
received a great deal of media attention.
emerged in the slipstream of the national canon. In 2008,
parties were organized in every province to launch the
historical canon in the education sector. It has meanwhile
that of the state, the region or even the town.
Involvement in international society has always been
Global citizenship does not in fact mean that
prevalent in the Netherlands. Market research bureau
been decided that the canon will be included in the core
During the presentation of the Scientific Council for
identification with one’s own country is passé, far from
Motivaction has been charged by NCDO with carrying
aims for primary education and basic secondary school
Government Policy (WRR) report Identification with the
it. What it means is knowledge of and involvement with
out research on a regular basis into Dutch people’s views
Netherlands in September 2007, Princess Máxima
the world outside the Netherlands. It does not stand in
on fighting poverty and other global issues. In 2008,
almost half of those questioned gave money to
despite this, the WRR cautiously distanced itself from
organizations dedicated to development cooperation.
the terms global citizenship and cosmopolitanism has to
Approximately two-thirds of the sample survey supported
do with the fact that they are often misapplied and have
the size of the national budget for development aid.
From other studies we know that the Dutch regard
Misapplied by groups in society which have capitalized
on the current phase of globalization, are mobile and
On the basis of these research data we may assume that
have little or no bond with the local (and national)
not only involvement with one’s own society, but also
community to which they happen to belong. They have
solidarity with the world as a whole is considered by the
an international horizon and manage to acquire personal
Dutch population to be a goal worth pursuing and as
wealth in the wake of globalization while others are
something quite normal.
confronted with the negative results of privatization and
someone who is socially committed as a good citizen.
The ‘elitist’ association is attached rather to another
the downscaling of the welfare state.9 If privileged groups
concept used in the WRR report: cosmopolitanism. The
such as these are wrongly portrayed as global citizens or
writers cite authors who refer to cosmopolitanism as “a
cosmopolites, it is understandable that these terms are
cause and a privilege of an international elite” or even as
considered elitist. It should be clear that in this report
“the provincialism of the indulged”. Nevertheless, there
global citizenship is not taken in this sense.
is nothing elitist about cosmopolitanism – a profound
awareness of universal values and rights. What is elitist
though, is to call oneself cosmopolitan because one has a
Global involvement is increasingly fostered by the
lot of money and has seen a lot of the world. In that case,
realization of what is happening in the world.The modern
as a cosmopolite one wants to stand out from other
citizen has countless channels at his disposal to help him
people who have not been fortunate enough to travel so
far. It has little to do with global citizenship. An
Nevertheless the question has been raised whether the
international group of young people was once asked
existing information supply is adequate enough to
whether a rich and widely-travelled person was, by
achieve a balanced image. For this purpose let us take a
definition, a global citizen. No, was the unanimous
look at three important sources of information: education,
answer; that depends on one’s involvement in what
media and social organizations.
happens in the world, nearby and far away.
You can hardly oppose an attitude like this. That
First of all, education. The Netherlands has good
school books and well-educated teachers, despite
pertinent discussions on erosion in the level of teachers’
Generally speaking, the media are a rich source of
analyses does not become watered down. At any rate, the
education, particularly in primary education. The reason
information for the global citizen.The quality newspapers
classic institutions play a less important part in this
Education: that is what most of the articles and websites
for creating a historical canon was, however, the
which provide background information on world
on global citizenship are about. Internationally, education
conclusion that Dutch people’s historical awareness is
developments only have a relatively small reading public.
All in all, people’s orientation on international
is regarded as perhaps the most important means of
poor. Apparently, good teachers and educational tools
For many Dutch people television is the main source of
society has significantly changed character, in addition
laying a foundation for global citizenship: in other words,
are no guarantee for a broad knowledge base. The
social information. Increasingly, though, television
to which the international context itself is continually
for knowledge of and involvement with the world outside
government prescribes less and less what lessons at
information on development, sustainability and human
changing. A balanced orientation on the fate of humanity
one’s own country. In the next chapter we shall deal with
school should deal with, including lessons which are
rights is presented frivolously and disguised as
worldwide may fade into the background at a time when
global citizenship and education. But let us first take a
intended to contribute to a basic knowledge of world
entertainment. This entails the risk of oversimplification
individualization, the pursuit of self-interest (and the
look at the term global citizenship.
relations. If more or less everything can be addressed
and inadvertent distortion of the picture. In addition,
interests of one’s own small circle) and calculating
Whatever global citizenship may be exactly, it
within very broad core aims, things quickly become
the Internet is a virtually inexhaustible source of facts
citizenship are powerful trends. Strengthening the basis
certainly does not mean the enlargement of national
equally important and therefore equally unimportant
and views about international issues. However, there is
for international engagement and solidarity therefore
citizenship as we know it in Western European countries,
too. Core aims do not accentuate.
no information on the extent to which Dutch citizens
requires continuous attention, and fortunately that
for instance, to a world scale. If we take citizenship to be
actively make use of the Internet to orient themselves as
attention exists. It is a core task for NCDO. A good
a historically achieved ‘contract’ between a state and its
of, for example, poverty and inequality, even though
‘global citizens’.
example is the masterclass on increasing public support
citizens, with rights and obligations attached, it is not
continual adjustment is essential in the current age of
organized some years ago by NCDO. Numerous social
possible to translate this kind of citizenship to a world
globalization. Although the Netherlands has a strong
membership of churches, trade unions or political parties
organizations were able to expand their expertise as a
level. After all, there is not a single world government
tradition of socially oriented school subjects and
is declining, as repeatedly shown by the Social and
result. The project also resulted in a practically oriented
willing to enter into a contract with all global citizens,
Nor do core aims incite one to revise existing images
development education, it remains a conjecture whether
Cultural Planning Bureau.
Constant interest in global citizenship is also
nor can any development be observed towards such a
required in education. In this respect the Windows on
world government.14 Legally founded citizenship with all
the World presented in this report fit the bill.
its rights and obligations is valid exclusively on a national
schools actually do pass on balanced pictures of the new
Fewer people make use of these sources of
international reality to young people. There are few hard
information to acquaint themselves with international
data available. This has also been pointed out by the
themes. On the other hand, membership of idealistic
level and even differs in content from country to country.
Council of Europe’s North-South Centre in its report on
organizations – also in the field of international solidarity
This lack of a world administration has consequences for
global education in the Netherlands. What we do know,
– shows an upward trend. This is often ‘chequebook
the functioning of the global civil society. Citizens who
for example, is that, on average, primary school pupils
solidarity’, one of the many manifestations of what we
are internationally active must eventually influence
have a rather simplistic and stereotype image of ‘poor
now call practical idealism.
There is nothing wrong
national states, which of course determine the rights and
countries’. Facts such as these ought to make us stop
with practical idealism, the urge specifically to do
obligations of their citizens and can decide, whether or
and think: apparently the education system is not
something to solve world problems, as long as the social
not collectively, on action. 15
succeeding in adjusting one-sided pictures.
interest in a balanced picture and in more in-depth
Citizenship is pre-eminently a term that implies
Planning Bureau, social involvement or making an effort
for the community and for the less fortunate is the
both inclusion and exclusion.
By the accidental fact of being born in a country
essence of what we ourselves consider important about
one acquires certain rights that do not apply to
citizenship.18 If we continue this line of thinking, the
non-citizens of that country. In this respect global
term global citizenship implies that a similar degree of
citizenship is an interesting term, at least in the
involvement and effort should extend to people beyond
metaphorical sense, since the word implies that the
our national borders. This is precisely how global
dichotomy of inclusion-exclusion is transcended.
citizenship is defined by NCDO.
who can exclude whom from global citizenship? After all,
We could also ask ourselves: who or what can fulfil
as a citizen of the world everyone has certain rights, even
the role of global citizen? Citizens are always individuals,
if they cannot be enforced by any global authority:
but does the same apply to global citizens? Many big
human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration
companies call themselves global citizens and go in for
of Human Rights, or basic socio-economic rights as
established in the ambition of the millennium goals.
organizations, particularly the international ones, also
Unfortunately, for millions of people such rights remain
refer to themselves as citizens of the international civil
theoretical. Global citizens, people taking an active part
society.19 All very well, but what we have in mind in this
in international society, will agree that all people should
report is individual persons as global citizens: anchored
have these rights. In this sense, global citizenship implies
in their local, national or transnational connections, but
an ethical position.
Citizenship does not only consist of rights but also
with an eye for and involvement with events in other
parts of the world.
obligations. National civic duties can be legally
Finally, the following: just as there can be very
established, such as military service, compulsory voting
different views on national citizenship, the same applies
or taxation. However, civic duties are increasingly moral
to global citizenship. American citizenship has a different
obligations too, such as observing generally accepted
content, tradition and legal philosophical basis from, for
codes of behaviour and developing and putting into
instance, German or South African citizenship. Countries
practice social engagement, in whatever form.
can also differ fundamentally in the social rights of their
As already stated, the majority of Dutch citizens
citizens. These differences are not only linked with the
regard social engagement as an essential feature of good
welfare of countries, but also with their political
citizenship. According to the Social and Cultural
Consequently, global citizenship can also be interpreted
in different ways. For those interested: the Citizenship
learning traditions can have a place, and virtually all
‘Education for International Understanding’ project
school subjects can provide a meaningful contribution.
bureau in Beijing which initiates the revision of syllabuses,
makes school textbooks more global and organizes and
Studies journal is a rich source of similar debates, both
on citizenship in the general sense as well as on global
Anyone wishing to find out more about education for
global citizenship runs the risk of becoming bogged
Each country has its own terms. Globales Lernen is an
carries out training courses for teachers.
Nevertheless, it is clear that education for global
All in all, global citizenship is certainly not citizenship
down in terminological confusion. In the Netherlands
established expression in Germany.
In the United
citizenship is mainly a matter for the rich man’s world.
in the current legal sense. However, there are elements of
alone we have a rich array of terms: global education,
Kingdom, global education, citizenship education and
You could define it as the way in which we, at the
citizenship which can be easily translated to a global
development education, international education, peace
education for global citizenship are frequently used terms.
education level, justify unequal global relations and our
level. In the first place there is the idea that there are
education, learning for sustainability, human rights
Both countries also have a wide range of other partly
(changing) position in them. If we set aside differences in
rights (human rights) which apply to each individual.
education and so on. In recent years there have been ever
outdated terms with more or less the same meaning, just
terminology, there appear to be many points in common
Secondly, there is the moral obligation to familiarize
stronger arguments in favour of citizenship education, in
as is the case in the Netherlands. In almost all Western
internationally in the way in which education for global
ourselves with the international society to which we
which an international dimension would appear to be
European countries, education for global citizenship, as
citizenship is perceived. Moreover, these are constants:
belong and to bear the consequences – in whatever form.
self-evident. And media education is also receiving
we shall call it here, has had a long tradition and rich
similarities which persist through time.25 Let us take a
What these consequences are, may differ from person to
attention: the development of literacy in critically and
look at these key principles.
person. They could, for example, include conscious
selectively dealing with messages and signals from the
consumer behaviour, an open and non-discriminatory
rich media environment.
One can even speak of a worldwide trend, as
Kenneth Tye concluded in the 1990s on the basis of an
attitude within one’s own society, active participation as
Especially confusing is the status of this education:
inventory carried out in over fifty countries. In most of
a citizen, well-considered voting behaviour or involvement
it is never about new school subjects, but about
the countries, subjects with a global aspect were taught
in a development project.
approaches and areas for special attention which have to
at schools, such as environment(al studies), population
be included in the existing curriculum, in other words in
issues, interethnic relations, peace, democracy and
Education for global citizenship requires first of all a
the current school subjects and areas of learning. For
human rights. And these were not only the prosperous
knowledge base. Or as Hanvey put it in 1976: “a
this reason global citizenship in education is also a matter
countries like Australia, Canada or Japan, but also the
state-of-the-planet awareness”.26
of geography, history, economics, social studies, cultural
rising nations such as South Korea, Russia and China.
This naturally includes knowledge both of spatial
and arts education, Dutch or English.
Russia has a national network of ten centres for global
differences (in nature, resources, economy or welfare)
We do not wish to deal with all these terms and
education which support schools. Although there is no
and of developments through time (for example
traditions here at great length. Global citizenship in
equivalent term for global education in China, schools
colonization and decolonization, the globalization
education stands for all school activities connected with
do devote attention to international awareness, global
knowledge, skills and values which are of importance to
environmental issues, the globalization of the economy
In addition, a degree of insight is required in
an international orientation on society. All education and
and international population problems. There is an
interdependence on a world scale, the most important
global issues at this moment and possible solutions.
humanity; commitment to social justice and equity;
Hicks, who listed the experiences of thirty years of global
belief that people can make a difference. 31
education in 2003, refers to problems of inequality,
It is striking that critical values and attitudes such as
injustice, war and peace, environment and alienation.
dedication to social justice are less prominent in the
The development organization Oxfam suggests similar
American tradition of global education. However, there
areas for special attention: peace and conflict; social
are still many similarities with the European approach.
justice and equality; globalization and interdependence;
The American author Case, for example, speaks of the
development of world-mindedness and empathy, of
An awareness of links between what is local and what is
fostering resistance to thinking in terms of prejudices
global also belongs to the knowledge base on which the
and stereotypes, and of intercultural understanding.32
sustainable development; diversity and discrimination.
majority appears to agree. Incidentally, in the American
approach, issues receive less attention than they do in
Europe. But this is only a nuance: the diversity in
Especially in Western Europe, ideas on education for
practices and approaches is extremely wide, even within
global citizenship have followed the growing interest in
the United States.
skills in education. Incidentally, it is remarkable that
British authors with long-standing experience of
development education and international solidarity
As far as the role of values is concerned, Hicks speaks of
hardly ever mention this dimension; they often speak of
the intrinsic dimension of education for global citizenship.
values, but rarely of skills. 33
The discussion of global themes at school inevitably
Current interest in skills appears to be mainly a
entails an exploration of various value perspectives and
matter of strategy: global education goes along with what
the education sector wants. Oxfam’s curriculum for
global citizenship deals with the required global citizenship
In the British and, in a wider sense, also the
skills at length: critical thinking, the ability to argue
European context, values and attitudes which correspond
effectively, the ability to challenge injustice and
to the European tradition of critical democratic
inequalities, respect for other people and cooperation
citizenship often come up for discussion. Typical, for
and conflict resolution. 34 Aiming to achieve such skills in
example, is what Oxfam sums up as ingredients: sense of
students forms an implicit part of the tradition of global
identity and self-esteem; empathy and sense of common
learning in many countries. Listed more explicitly under
the heading of skills, however, they appear to be a
changes in the world entail changes in the design of global
dissimilar list. Nevertheless, it is clearly recognized
education. There is dynamism in the desired knowledge
In countries neighbouring the Netherlands, much
development education, on the global dimension of
internationally that education for global citizenship
base, the value assessments change character and the
attention is focused on education for global citizenship.
citizenship education.39
should be linked with education trends.
discussion on skills is lively.
In 2004, the Flemish parliament accepted a programme
Using various examples, the leaflet indicates how
for development education which included: “Activities
global themes and activities can be integrated into lessons
Regarding the latter: global education is also
interpreted nowadays as education that enables young
on the various aspects of citizenship, such as political
The above summary leads to the conclusion that there is
people to be resilient and successful in an increasingly
anchoring aimed at developing people’s insights, attitudes
literacy, social and moral responsibility and involvement
a high degree of international consensus about what
competitive world. This calls for skills such as the ability
and behaviour to enable them to work together on the
in the local community. This is just a random example
education for global citizenship should involve, despite
to carry on learning, to quickly access and analyse
development of a more solidary and sustainable global
from the British context, and there are hundreds more
differences in culture and terminology.
The three elements mentioned make up the
information, creativity, resourcefulness and knowledge
society.” The Flemish government subsidizes the Kleur
like it. The Guardian newspaper, for example, published
of languages. It is about employability in a world in which
Bekennen (showing one’s colours) organization which
in 2008 an eight-page supplement entirely devoted to
connecting theme: creating a solid knowledge base,
one can no longer take for granted that there will be
focuses on global citizenship in schools. In Germany, it
reflection on values and attitudes and learning the skills
sufficient jobs and opportunities in what we used to call
is not only schools that participate in Globales Lernen
backgrounds and, in particular, a great many examples
required to transform knowledge and values into words
the prosperous West. This approach to education is
(there is no current German equivalent for the term
from teaching in practice at British schools.40
and deeds. The crux of the matter is that young people
naturally of major importance, but it is not global
global citizenship), but a great deal of effort is put into
The fact that education for global citizenship is
should develop a broad global perspective on society and
education as referred to in this report. What we mean is
flourishing in the United Kingdom is mainly because it
on their own lives and citizenship, that they should
education that offers developing citizens a balanced and
Experiences in the United Kingdom are particularly
links up with citizenship, which is a statutory National
become aware of the many forms of solidarity in the
contemporary orientation on international society, so
interesting. In and around the British education system
Curriculum subject. Its aims and content have been
that they learn to reflect on the many connections in the
people are actively engaged in designing education for
established by the government.41 In addition, the
world and on their own position in it.
global citizenship. “Young people in the United Kingdom
National Curriculum indicates which cross-curricular
deeply rooted in ideas of international solidarity in a
are growing up in a context that is increasingly global.
themes should be dealt with. One of these is global
world that could be divided into the rich West and the
Local citizenship can only really be understood if it is
dimension and sustainable development. Building this
poor South. Times have changed, but that does not mean
viewed in a wider context and if we are aware of the
theme into the relatively new subject of citizenship
that solidarity should be thrown out like the baby with
systems that connect us with other places in the world.
education is a natural conclusion.
the bathwater. Questions on the why, with whom and
Leaving students unaware of the global dimension of
Various government institutions have developed
how of solidarity have naturally become more complex.
citizenship means that they would remain uninformed as
resources to help give this global dimension a place in
to the nature of their own lives and their role in the world
citizenship education or in other subjects. 42
Global education naturally has a tradition that is
engagement have also acquired a dimension of
enlightened self-interest. It goes without saying that
research and development in this branch of education.
they live in.”
These are the opening words of a leaflet by the
There is also far more debate about education for
global citizenship in the United Kingdom than in the
Netherlands. The discussion is partly about content: for
substantive, pedagogical and didactic basis for global
citizenship education?
In the Netherlands, global citizenship education is
citizenship, or about the danger to global education of
not a key education issue. However, valuable things are
Another part of the
being done in schools, but as mentioned previously, the
debate is about education strategy. The combination of
open and international attitude of global citizenship
global education’s established field of action with the fairly
requires constant attention and maintenance, also in
recent field of citizenship education is not always a
education. One of the initiatives in this respect is to
favourable one. Between the two fields there is a yawning
develop a ‘canon’ for global citizenship in education.
gap of language, ideology, conceptual parameters and
This initiative is the focus of the rest of this report.
neo-liberal citizenship thinking.
ambition. Citizenship teachers who also focus attention
on the global dimension often do not have sufficient
personal engagement nor the intellectual baggage.
School textbooks for citizenship education have a highly
cognitive slant, possibly at the expense of reflection and
value orientations on global themes. 44 In short, there is
still a great deal of work ahead for the United Kingdom
to bring global education and citizenship education closer
We in the Netherlands have a lot to learn from British
experiences. Is it wise to link education for global
citizenship to citizenship education which is gaining
ground in Dutch schools as well? What are the
opportunities, the conditions, the pitfalls? What degree
of government steering is desirable and effective? How
do you go about organizing extra training and refresher
courses for teachers? And especially: what should be the
The initiators had in mind a canon with some 20 to 25 windows on the world: in other words, an extremely selective
collection in an immense field of action. To achieve its aim the committee gratefully accepted a number of the national
canon committee’s basic principles which have certainly contributed to the success of its project.45 Our main points of
departure are listed below.
This canon does not offer a list of topics, but windows on the world. These windows invite one to look through
them: at other places, other times, other people; at the connections with one’s own life and one’s own surroundings.
Of course every window has a chosen icon: a concrete spot, event, organization or person. But the aim is to look
beyond this icon.
The canon is substantive, in other words it brings information about the world. But it also expressly makes
connections with fundamental values and attitudes which are important for global citizenship.
The canon aims to prompt stories, conversations, reflection. The canon is only a starting point. True training for
global citizenship can only take place if the canon is used in a responsible pedagogical and didactic fashion.
The canon is a selection, but it does not want to curb. Everyone is free to make variations on the windows. Or to
bring the canon up for discussion. The canon is therefore open, not closed.
The canon is an invitation to teachers, schools and instructors to consider the following questions: what do we
think about the proposed windows? What would we like to discuss and how are we going to do it? Does the canon
give us a reason for adapting what we were already doing?
The canon is an invitation to make connections between the world and the students’ own environment and
The canon is a step, hopefully in the right direction, but it is certainly not the last word. Everyone who is
professionally involved in education for global citizenship is invited to flesh out the canon. And of course the
canon is open to revision in the future.
These are all comprehensive themes. That is why the committee has selected three icons or windows for each theme,
The working method of the committee can best be described as continuous brainstorming. Sometimes we followed the
each illustrating an aspect of the broad theme by means of a concrete approach. The choice of windows is more
inductive path: all of the committee members made lists of topics which certainly had to be included. This of course
arbitrary than that of the themes. The canonical value of this proposal (or at least attempt) is expressed in the complex
resulted in far too many for a canon with a maximum of 25 windows. Then we switched again to the deductive path:
of themes. The central values of education for global citizenship have been taken into account, as will become obvious
starting from a general premise, we attempted to order and combine all of the ideas. During this clustering process,
from the thematic introductions in part B. In these, the icons or windows are concrete examples which are, to a certain
international ideas on the key themes of education for global citizenship, as briefly described above, were of course
extent, exchangeable for other examples, perhaps better attuned to the perceptions of the environment of a group of
students, or to current events.
Another source of inspiration came from consulting various groups. Teachers, trainee teachers, geoscience
students, experts from development education institutions, members of the Platform Allochtone Ouders en Onderwijs
Ahead of part B of this report, there now follows an example to illustrate the set-up. One of the themes is globalization.
(Immigrant Parents and Education Platform), a group of some thirty people from developing countries: the committee
It is evident that this phenomenon is linked to a number of other themes, such as distribution, human rights or
conferred with all these experts in a workshop context or other forms of discussion. This gave an impression of the
sustainable development. In our classification, the theme of globalization stands in particular for the strong
topics and perspectives which should at any rate be given a place.
interconnection and interdependence of areas and people in the world. Because this is an extremely complex theme,
three aspects have been highlighted to flesh it out:
This process resulted in the proposal for 24 ‘windows on the world’ in part B of this report. Unlike the historical canon,
The (shifting) economic relations and economic centres in a world closely linked by trade and investment. The
we grouped these windows in eight central themes because this provided the opportunity of discussing the fundamental
window selected is that of Shanghai – a metropolis that appeals to the imagination, as a symbol for the growing
values at issue in education for global citizenship. Each of the themes represents an important dimension of global
economic importance of China.
relations and of our relation to the world outside the Netherlands. And each theme stands for certain values.
The vast international migration streams which have developed in the world in the wake of globalization processes.
The window selected is that of Ceuta – the Spanish exclave in Morocco where many African migrants end up
The eight themes are:
detained, and which makes it painfully clear which political and moral dilemmas are raised by the migration
Cultural exchange as a dimension of globalization, giving rise all over the world to new patterns and hybrids in
food, music, fashion and so on. The window selected here is that of the djembé – a West African musical instrument
representing indigenous traditions, but also international exchange between styles of music.
It should be clear that the committee could have selected other aspects of globalization – although the choices
here were fairly obvious – and in particular, that other windows could certainly have been used to illustrate the aspects
chosen. Instead of Shanghai (as a window on the economic aspect of globalization), numerous other alternatives would
not have been out of place: New York, a well-known multinational company, the Indian IT sector, the shipping
container, and so on. It is a matter of choice.
In choosing the windows, attention was paid to variation in several respects: they include places, events, organizations
and objects; some refer to the past, others to the present; distribution across the world was also kept in mind. But it
still remains a choice. In the classroom other windows can also be used, elaborating on these lines of thought. At any
rate, the committee’s view is that the series of 24 windows presented here offers a varied outlook on the world and
represents important aspects of the key themes of global citizenship.
Whoever wants to start using the series of windows must realize that the icons are ‘windows’ for good reason: you
can look through them and see an entire landscape. Shanghai, for instance, is in itself a dynamic and fascinating city:
well worth learning about. But Shanghai as a starting point offers the opportunity to look through the window and
discuss all kinds of questions which then arise. Why is China’s economy growing so fast? What does this mean for us
and for people in other parts of the world? What share do international companies have in the rise of China?
The questions that will be asked about the windows – and at what level – will depend on the education context:
age level and school type, social topicality, teachers’ efforts, time to discuss such topics in class. At any rate, the
framework of 8 themes and 24 windows will offer teachers and instructors assistance in the choices they make in their
teaching. Incidentally, in this report the texts accompanying the themes and windows are not written at a language
level that will appeal to primary and secondary school pupils. This report only provides an initial impetus. Developing
the windows in educational resources – such as a website, written teaching material and films – is a matter for later
concern and goes beyond the scope of the committee. In the next chapter a brief indication will be given of how various
actors can make use of this canon proposal in practical teaching.
During the work of the committee, all kinds of ideas came up about the use of this canon, especially in education. It is
up to NCDO and other actors who are involved in education for global citizenship to pick up these ideas or to
formulate them better. The committee will confine itself here to listing a number of possibilities.
Teachers in primary and secondary education can use the windows on the world to reflect individually or
collectively on their own teaching and if necessary to make adaptations to their lessons. In the windows they may
perhaps see elements of global citizenship which they have so far neglected. The windows give them new ideas.
The series of windows may help them to make more conscious substantive choices. It goes without saying that in
the various types and levels of education different choices will be made in the ways in which this global canon is
Teachers at colleges of education - from teacher training colleges for primary education to postgraduate
teacher training courses in relevant subjects - can build the windows on the world into their lessons. This could
help invite future teachers to reflect on what they are teaching: how do I want to let young people find out about
the world? How do I feel about the committee’s selection of perspectives? What would I do differently and why?
Key figures in teachers associations can explain the windows and bring them up for discussion at conferences
and workshops. In this way teachers can be warmed up to the idea of a canon for global citizenship and become
involved in the debate.
Educational publishers can use the 8 themes and 24 windows as a source of inspiration for their teaching
resources: to add more structure to how they interpret core objectives; to develop substantive innovations; possibly
also to make available to schools separate teaching resources on global citizenship, in whatever form.
NCDO can use this canon in its educational activities, especially by encouraging schools and development
education institutes to apply and elaborate the windows.
An attractive and accessible website on the themes and windows will be created, similar to on the
historical canon. Ideally, this website should contain appealing information for pupils, in words and pictures,
suggestions for teachers on how to expand the windows, as well as tips for sources on the chosen themes, such as
relevant museums, films and juvenile literature. Moreover, by means of a web environment it is possible to actively
involve pupils in the topics, for instance in the form of a competition to design a 25th window (see also the canon
of Amsterdam).
24 windows appears to be an ideal number for a global calendar: two icons a month. A calendar like this in the
classroom is an invitation to include various windows in teaching activities throughout the year.
This report can be used in the national debate on citizenship education. It contains numerous arguments and
suggestions for giving the global dimension a place in citizenship education in schools.
It will of course be necessary to bring the framework of themes and windows up to date in a few years’ time, but
before then this canon will hopefully serve as a starting point in global citizenship education – not as a static
model, but as an impetus to critical thinking and debate. This discussion, both on our current proposal and in due
course on its revision, may prove a good means of mobilizing teachers, instructors and other persons involved.
This canon is a beginning, not the end.
We believe that it is good for young people to
become aware of the rich diversity in the world in all its
The world has an enormous diversity of languages,
aspects and to develop respect for diversity. It is also
religions, landscapes and forms of society. This diversity
important that young people start to realize how
can be observed at a global level, but also at a national or
important and valuable diversity is in their own lives:
even local level. Through trade, migration and cultural
how other cultures have influenced the Netherlands,
exchange, rich diversity can also be experienced locally:
how much we can learn from other viewpoints.
Three aspects have been selected to illustrate the
in the range of restaurants, products, music styles, ethnic
theme of diversity:
Globalization does not make all places or lifestyles equal;
it rather gives rise to new forms of diversity as a result of
The historical and cultural diversity of the world with
contact and exchange. At the same time there are forms
a wide variety of civilizations, art and social forms.
of diversity that are threatened, such as the Earth’s
Unesco’s World Heritage List bears witness to this
cultural wealth.
Window chosen: the Taj Mahal.
Diversity in the world, from global to local, is not
only a fact, it is also a value in itself. Diversity is enriching.
Confrontation with different values, ideas, behaviour,
The biodiversity of the Earth with all its different
knowledge traditions or lifestyles can prompt reflection
climates, landscapes animals and plants, all of which
on one’s own perspective, mutual learning and
contribute to the ecosystem. Window chosen: the
Amazon region.
For this reason, diversity is an important theme for
global citizenship. An introduction to the fascinating
Diversity in everyday life: languages, manners, food,
diversity on a global scale as well as in one’s own
environment promotes interest in the world and
Window chosen: Chinese.
contributes to the development of empathy. It is not only
about diversity that is immediately visible, such as
differences in languages, building styles or rituals, but
also about less visible diversity: the different perspectives
on the world and on meaning.
the Spanish colonizers. It is thus a unique relic of the
sophisticated Inca civilization.
The Netherlands also contains world heritage. The
The Taj Mahal in the Northern Indian city of Agra
Defence Line of Amsterdam, for example, or the former
gleams dazzlingly white. The great Mughal emperor
island of Schokland, the windmills at Kinderdijk and the
Shah Jahan had the marble tomb built in the seventeenth
Beemster Polder. Many Dutch heritage properties are
century for his third and favourite wife, who died giving
linked with the battle against and management of the
birth to her fourteenth child. With its four minarets, the
water. At a time of globalization it is particularly
luminously beautiful Taj Mahal was to reach up to the
important to cherish the historical and cultural diversity
sky so that it could escort the emperor’s wife, Mumtaz
on earth. Unesco keeps a blacklist of threatened world
Mahal, to heaven. The love story behind this monument
heritage properties. Especially in developing countries it
has always fired the imagination. Architecturally, the Taj
is not always possible to give enough attention to the
Mahal is exceptional because it represents a peak in
protection of cultural heritage. A great deal of attention
Islamic architecture in which traditional Persian and
Hindu elements are also incorporated: the so-called
cooperation, and the groundwork for this was done by
Mughal style. For these reasons the Taj Mahal was put
Prince Claus, among others. He considered culture to be
on Unesco’s World Heritage List in 1983 and is one of
a determinant for the self-awareness of a people and
the most popular buildings on the list among tourists.
therefore also for development. The Prince Claus Fund
The Unesco list includes cultural and natural
heritage that is considered unique, irreplaceable and the
acts in his spirit for the protection of cultural wealth
throughout the world.
property of the whole world. In mid-2008 the list
included 878 properties. Examples of world heritage
sites can be found on all continents. Tsodilo, a desert
area with thousands of rock paintings in Botswana,
Africa, was added to the list because of its religious and
spiritual significance for local peoples and its unique tale
of human settlement over several millennia. Another
example is Machu Picchu, the Inca city built high up in
the mountains of Peru in the fifteenth century. Because
of its concealed location it escaped being plundered by
spatial requirements of the surrounding cities. Politics is
organized in such a way that short-term interests often
predominate. Nevertheless, there appears to be an
In photographs taken from space one is struck by how
ongoing change in public opinion, although extrapolating
colourful the Earth is: the predominant blue of the
environmental standpoints to one’s own behaviour is
oceans, the yellowish brown of the deserts, the white of
another matter. Numerous Dutch organizations are
the poles and high mountains, the many shades of green
concerned with conservation of the landscape and the
of the rainforests. Particularly conspicuous is the green
variety of species, both at home and abroad. In 2007, the
of the Amazon region. This extensive rainforest is
sometimes called the lung of the earth. And with good
Netherlands had some four million members, as opposed
reason, for with its seven million square kilometres it is
to only 600,000 in 1980. An influential ex-politician like
by far the largest forest in the world.
Ruud Lubbers draws capacity crowds at youth festivals
The biodiversity of the Amazon region is vast, thirty
and elsewhere with his enthusiastic plea for the Earth
percent of the total variety of life forms is found here.
Charter, in which principles of harmonious human
According to rough estimates there are 2.5 million
coexistence are linked with respect for the natural
species of insects, almost 2,000 species of birds and
mammals and 3,000 species of fish. The diversity of trees
and plants is also unequalled, with some 40,000 different
species. The Amazon rainforest is an important source of
tropical hardwood. Because of the enormous demand
for it (also from the Netherlands) together with the
extraction of minerals and land claims for extensive
agriculture, one-fifth of the Amazon region has meanwhile
been deforested. For the quality of the earth’s environment
this is an extremely disturbing development.
The economic value of the Amazon region competes
for priority with the landscape and biological value. This
conflict is observed worldwide on a larger or smaller
scale. In the Netherlands, for example, the landscape
value of the Green Heart is threatening to lose out to the
number of speakers is now very small. Even in Europe
there are endangered languages requiring extra attention,
such as Frisian, Basque and Yiddish (the latter language
Chinese is actually a collective term for a group of
has hardly any speakers left).
languages. The standard language in China is the dialect
Several years ago, Unesco began mapping oral and
of Beijing and surroundings, known abroad as Mandarin
immaterial heritage, such as dialects, festive rituals,
or Mandarin Chinese (after the former governing elite
theatrical forms, traditional crafts or unique indigenous
who spoke it). With 900 million speakers, it is by far the
knowledge of nature. In the Netherlands, the Meertens
most spoken language in the world. A total of 1.4 billion
Institute and the Dutch Centre for Popular Culture are
people speak a variant of Chinese as their mother tongue.
working on this. In the past, there was a tendency in the
Chinese has unique features, such as character writing
Netherlands to look down on local folklore, but there is
and the importance of pitch for the meaning of words.
now increasing interest in and recognition of the variety
The Chinese languages belong to the Sino-Tibetan
of cultural customs in the Netherlands and abroad.
family of languages. This is only one of the many dozens
Attachment to a community, to one’s environment and
of language families in the world. A language family is an
to shared cultural traditions appears to be of crucial
umbrella covering all sorts of language groups. Dutch
importance to people’s well-being.
belongs to the Indo-European family. Although counting
them is difficult – the distinction between language and
dialect is not clearly defined – the number of living
languages at the moment is estimated to be at least six
Languages give an impression of the cultural wealth
the world has to offer, but languages can also be a source
of conflict. In Belgium, the language boundary between
Flemish and Walloon is a divisive element in society. In
many places in the world, minority languages are
threatened with extinction.To call a halt to this irreversible
cultural loss, Unesco has drawn up a Red List of
Endangered Languages. No less than three thousand
languages are on the point of extinction because the
and on world issues connected with identity (and its
manipulation) is of great importance. In a positive sense,
People belong to communities. A Muslima in Albania,
social identity represents essential values for each person:
for instance, can feel part of the Ummah, the community
the feeling of belonging somewhere, community spirit,
of all Muslims in the world. At the same time she can feel
self-esteem. In a negative sense, we-they thinking can
Albanian, in other words, a member of the national
arouse dangerous conflicts. That is why encouraging
community, and alongside this she can feel attached to
interest and respect for other identities, whether these
the local community, her family and her occupational
are religious, national or transnational identifications, is
group. In this way, all people have a number of groups to
an important element.
which they feel linked, and they derive an important part
Three aspects have been selected to illustrate the
of their identity from these social relations.
Social identification, the sense of belonging
theme of identity:
somewhere, is a natural human need. A community
cannot function well if there is not a certain degree of
Religious identity as a source of inspiration in the
community spirit and solidarity. If something like this is
lives of billions of people on earth and unfortunately
lacking, it is almost impossible to live together
sometimes also as a source of internal and international
conflicts. Window chosen: Hinduism.
Unfortunately, identity is sometimes manipulated,
mostly for political ends. Familiar examples are
National identity, not as an established fact, but as a
nationalism and racism, in which, in opposition to the
process in which, in the combined action of the state and
we-group of the community, a they-group is constructed
the inhabitants of a country, the national layer of identity
which is laden with stereotypes and enemy images. In
is continually changing. Window chosen: Spain.
international history there are scores of examples of this
kind of polarization between social identities. Many wars
Harmonious coexistence in a community of people
have already ensued from this, and even nowadays,
with very different ethnic and religious identities.Window
nationalism, ethnic contrasts and religiously inspired
chosen: Paramaribo.
enemy images constitute an important source of conflicts,
both between countries as well as between population
groups within the same country.
In global citizenship education, reflecting on identity
Due to secularisation, these pillars have largely been
toppled. Nowadays 44% of the Dutch population do not
adhere to a religion. At the same time, the growing
Ganesha, the god with the elephant head, is one of the
following of Islam is a new phenomenon. At the end of
many Hindu deities. Other well-known gods are Brahma,
2007, 5% of the Dutch population was Muslim, but this
Vishnu and Shiva. With 900 million followers, Hinduism
religion occupies a large place in the public debate. Many
is the third world religion. Only Christianity (2.1 billion)
immigrants cherish Islam as being essential to their
and Islam (1.1 billion) are larger. By far the most Hindus
identity, and tend to interpret the Koran strictly. Other
live in India, but as a result of the migration of Hindustanis
Muslims seek a European interpretation of Islam. At the
to Suriname and subsequently to the Netherlands, this
same time non-Islamic opinion leaders question whether
religion is also found there. Unlike Islam or Christianity,
Islam in its present form is compatible with the integration
Hinduism does not have a founding father. A familiar
of migrants in Dutch society. In this way the issue of
metaphor to Hindus is that of Hinduism as the trunk of
religious identity suddenly plays a part again in Dutch
a tree on which all other religions grow in the form of
public debate.
leaves. This explains their tolerance towards other
religious movements.
Just like other religions, Hinduism defines people’s
identity and the culture of societies. Hindus, for example,
believe that all living beings on earth are intimately
connected with the Creator. That is why they have deep
respect for all living things. In the past, Hindu society
had the extremely hierarchical caste system, in which
people were assigned from birth to one of the four castes,
or belonged to the outcastes, or Pariahs. Although India
has now officially abolished this system, it still sometimes
leads to discrimination in practice.
In the Netherlands too, religion has had a great
influence on the culture and identity of believers. For a
long time the country was organized in Catholic,
Protestant and secular ‘pillars’ or vertical compartments.
In a world in which states play an important part, a
great deal of importance is attached to state formation
and to national identity, interpreted as solidarity with the
The Alhambra fortress in the city of Granada is one of
state. But identity forming is a tricky process; Spain is
Spain’s most characteristic sights. The medieval fortress
not exceptional in this. Within the United Kingdom too,
was placed on Unesco’s World Heritage List on the
the regions of Scotland, Wales and England have different
recommendation of Spain. It was founded by Spain’s
identities. For relatively new states in, for instance, Africa,
Moorish conquerors. This building is an example of the
building national identity is certainly a laborious process.
layered structure of national identity: national traditions
Apart from ceding sovereignty to regions, nation-states
change through time and are susceptible to external
can also do the same to higher-scale levels. European
influences. Dutch identity has also been influenced by
unification has led to the Netherlands and the other 26
the fact that the Netherlands operated worldwide as a
member states ceding substantial competence to the EU
trading country and had overseas colonies.
in all kinds of policy areas. Despite this fact, a
National identity is a layered phenomenon in other
ways too. In the perception of the inhabitants of a country
corresponding ‘European identity’ has still hardly taken
it can go hand in hand with strong regional bonds. Spain
Social identification can link people together and is
has been one state for a long time: after the expulsion of
important for the cohesion of society. Unfortunately,
the Moors in 1492 it became unified, and under the
national identity is often politically misused. Creating a
Habsburg emperors, even became a world power
national identity often goes hand in hand with opposition
dominating over a large portion of Europe and the
to foreigners or to deviant minority groups in the society.
greater part of South and Central America. Since then,
The national characteristics of the population then
Spanish has been a world language. Nevertheless, many
become artificially emphasized. The two world wars of
Spaniards feel attached in the first place to their region.
the twentieth century bear witness to the possible effects
The country is divided into eighteen autonomous
of this.
regions with a considerable degree of administrative,
financial and economic independence. For the Basque
nationalists this arrangement did not go far enough, so
they are attempting to achieve an independent Euskadi
by force.
their ancestors came from to work as contract labourers
in Suriname at the end of the nineteenth and beginning
of the twentieth century.
Paramaribo is the capital of Suriname and a melting pot
of cultures. The city, with almost a quarter of a million
multicultural and also transnational character. In the
Netherlands, for example, there are large groups of Turks
Hindustanis, Chinese, Native Americans (Indians) and
and Moroccans as a result of the shortage of workers in
Maroons (descendants of runaway slaves). As a result of
the 1960s. These guest or immigrant workers and their
the colonial past, Dutch is by far the most widely spoken
language in Paramaribo households. Other frequently
Netherlands permanently, but still maintain close ties
Sarnami Hindustani and Javanese.
motherland. In
medium-sized cities, this migration flow has meanwhile
Many religions also exist alongside each other in
affected the population composition. Amsterdam is now
Paramaribo: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and
the city with the greatest number of nationalities
other religious persuasions. Keizerstraat in Paramaribo
worldwide among its inhabitants (177 nationalities on 1
is the only place in the world where a mosque and a
January 2007, which is more than New York, for example.
synagogue stand next to each other in peace. A little
This increasingly multicultural character of urban hubs
further on, the street also has a Catholic church and a
can be observed throughout the world, also, for example,
Hindu temple. It is not only religions and population
in the Asian and Latin American metropolises that are
groups that reflect Paramaribo’s diversity. Because of the
experiencing an economic boom.
different rulers in the past and the many cultures
populating Paramaribo, the city has a unique wooden
architecture. It is for good reason that the historic centre
of Paramaribo is on Unesco’s World Heritage List.
Suriname in general and Paramaribo in particular
are not only striking examples of a multicultural society,
but also of a transnational community. Many Surinamers
maintain a strong tie with the former colonial power the
Netherlands, for instance because they have relatives
there. Hindustanis have a strong bond with India where
actual fact; does it represent a Western system of values
or is it a matter of universal legitimacy?
After the Second World War, many world leaders were
highly motivated to put a stop to the horrors of war and
Whatever the case may be: human rights are an
violence by a means of a joint effort. The United Nations
extremely important theme in international society. They
was founded and soon after, in 1948, the famous
are coinfluential in world politics and in the work of
Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.
many social pressure groups. The UN’s millennium goals
Thinking about human rights was not in itself new, but it
– in which 189 world leaders have committed their
was brought to an international level for the first time by
nations to tackle poverty amongst other development
this epoch-making document. The Universal Declaration
goals – are linked with economic and social human
was mainly about civil and political rights, such as the
right to freedom of opinion and freedom of religion. The
In global citizenship education it is essential to learn
declaration formed the basis for two binding treaties
and think about human rights.They stand for fundamental
between the UN member states: one about civil and
values, such as the equality of all people, justice and the
political rights, and later, one about economic, social
fundamental right of each individual to freedom and to
and cultural rights (such as the right to food, education
development opportunities. What is the link between
and housing).
one’s own behaviour, for example as a consumer, and
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still
human rights elsewhere in the world? Where does our
often cited as a benchmark by which governments or
government stand on human rights and what do we think
international companies can be called to account for
of this? What can we do to improve the human rights
their conduct. But there is also much debate about
situation internationally?
human rights. Are they applicable and enforceable at all
times and all places? Do the collective rights of peoples,
such as the right to self-determination or the right to
liberation from oppression and colonialism, also belong
to human rights? And especially: are human rights
experienced in the same way in different cultures? How
universal is the current formulation of human rights in
Three aspects have been selected to illustrate the
theme of human rights:
Commitment to the observance of human rights
worldwide, through the action of international
individual behaviour. Human rights must be
guarded and fought for. Window chosen: Amnesty
Violations of what we now regard as human rights in
the course of international history and the historic
development of the struggle for human rights.
Window chosen: the Amsterdam monument to
Socio-economic rights and the support that can be
offered via development cooperation to honour
such rights. Window chosen: education in Kenya.
world at the same time. It is mainly volunteers
participating in these campaigns who have ensured that
Amnesty has expanded to become a factor that
governments have to reckon with.
A candle entwined with barbed wire is the symbol of
As well as Amnesty International, organizations
Amnesty International. This organization campaigns for
such as Human Rights Watch, Aim for Human Rights
the protection of human rights as laid down in the
and the Red Cross are dedicated to protecting human
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Amnesty
rights. History shows that individuals can also have a big
International was founded in London in 1961. The
impact on the observance of human rights. This can be
organization now has over 2.2 million members in 160
seen from the lives of human rights advocates like Martin
countries and strives worldwide for full observance of
Luther King (United States), Nelson Mandela (South
the Universal Declaration. Amnesty works for the release
Africa) and Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma).
of prisoners of conscience, the right to a fair trial within
Violation of human rights does not only occur in
a reasonable time for other prisoners, the abolition of
dictatorships or war situations. In democracies too,
torture and the death penalty, to halt other serious
human rights can be at issue for all kinds of reasons. The
human rights abuses such as excessive government force
Unites States, for instance, has held terror suspects for
and attacks on civilians in war zones.
years at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba without
Since the past few years, social, economic and
any form of trial. And in the Netherlands, security
cultural rights have also come under the scope of
measures were taken after the attacks of September 11,
Amnesty’s work, for example in preventing discrimination
2001, which are sometimes at odds with civil liberties,
in access to health care, education or housing.
such as the right to protection of personal details. Here
Through unusual actions the organization focuses
we have a dilemma between individual rights and the
attention on people who are imprisoned because of their
interests of the society which wants to defend itself
convictions. At the beginning of 2008, for instance,
against the threat of terrorism.
Amnesty organized a letter writing action for Tibetan
monks who had been detained by the authorities because
they refused to denounce the Dalai Lama. Because
branches of Amnesty in various countries participate in
these actions, governments which violate human rights
are bombarded with protests from all corners of the
the vanquished. The Greeks and Romans in particular
applied this principle. In the early Middle Ages, aversion
developed towards holding fellow Christians in slavery.
From that moment on, unfree workers were mainly
The National Monument to the History of Dutch Slavery
recruited among the Slavic population of Eastern Europe
was unveiled by Queen Beatrix in Amsterdam’s
which was as yet unchristianized, and this explains the
Oosterpark in 2002. The sculpture group serves mainly
origin of the word slave.
to commemorate the centuries-long Dutch participation
Slavery is a form of involuntary service in which a
in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Since Columbus crossed
person is treated as another person’s property. This is not
the Atlantic in 1492, Europeans have settled in the New
a phenomenon from the past but still daily practice in
World.The Portuguese began with sugar cane plantations
large parts of the world. An estimated ten million children
in Brazil, employing slaves from Africa to work on them.
– other estimates even speak of a hundred million – work
All colonizing European states adopted this practice.
as slaves.Take, for instance, the child soldiers in Colombia
Together they transported an estimated twelve million
and Sierra Leone. Or the child slaves on the cocoa
Africans in this slave trade over a period of some two
plantations on the Ivory Coast. Or the child prostitutes
hundred years. Over half a million of them were
in Southeast Asia. Initiatives have sprung up worldwide
transported by the Dutch.
to put an end to this exploitation, such as protest marches
At fort Elmina in what is now Ghana, the slaves
against child slavery in the Indian carpet industry and
purchased were embarked by the Dutch for the long
the ‘slave-free’ chocolate bar Tony’s Chocolonely which
ocean voyage. At first the slaves went to the then Dutch
has been on the market in the Netherlands since 2005.
possessions in Brazil. Later they were mainly shipped to
Suriname and the Dutch Antilles, partly to work on the
plantations there and partly to be resold at the slave
market of Curacao. Pressured by the English, King
William I forbade the Dutch slave trade in 1814, but not
until 1863 was slavery itself abolished in the Dutch
colonies. The Netherlands was one of the last European
states to do so.
Slavery belongs to all times and all cultures. In
ancient times it was the custom for the victor to enslave
sometimes the financial means are just not sufficient.
The implementation of the right to education falters
partly because families in developing countries often
Full classes at Kenyan schools. When the Kenyan
depend on their children’s income. Another problem is
government made primary education free in 2003,
the availability of a sufficient number of well-trained
one-and-a-half million extra pupils flocked in. But the
schools were not prepared for such an influx. Classes of
Human rights have traditionally been interpreted
around a hundred children are no longer an exception;
mainly as political rights and liberties. More recently,
there is a shortage of teachers and teaching material.
attention has been focused on social and economic
Nevertheless, the measure is still widely supported.
rights. A country like China refuses to allow the West to
Being able to go to school makes a world of difference to
tackle the political rights restrictions that apply in this
a child’s life. According to the UN’s millennium goals,
country. Instead they point to the substantial social and
by 2015 all children should be able to attend primary
economic progress which has improved the position of
school. The number of children worldwide that are not
many citizens. Limiting human rights to individual
allowed to go to school dropped from 96 million in 1999
political rights is, in their view, a western bias. A similar
to 72 million in 2005. The target is coming closer, but
issue is that it is unlikely that the UN millennium goals
progress is slow.
to which government leaders from 189 countries have
With the decision to make primary education free,
committed themselves will be achieved by the agreed
Kenya complied with the provisions of the Convention
date of 2015. How hard are these goals, and are they not
on the Rights of a Child: every child has a right to
rights? International pressure groups consider that
education and in particular to free primary education.
development goals should be more firmly anchored in
This UN convention dates from 1989 and deals with
the Universal Human Rights.
three kinds of rights. Firstly, the right to facilities,
education, health care and rehabilitation services.
Secondly, the right to protection against abuse,
exploitation, neglect, child labour, armed conflicts,
human trafficking and slavery. And finally, the right to
participate in society. Although almost all countries in
the world have signed the treaty, they certainly do not all
comply with it. Not always out of unwillingness;
the climatological conditions, the reserves of natural
resources and biodiversity.
The well-known Brundtland report of 1987, Our
Orientation towards sustainable development issues
common future, has been a milestone in the evolution of
is an essential part of global citizenship education. The
sustainable development thinking. In it, this ideal is
major issues involved affect the survival of all human
defined as a “development that meets the needs of the
beings. Moreover, sustainability-related thinking and
present without compromising the ability of future
acting brings up the question of fundamental values:
generations to meet their own needs”. The interest in
solidarity (both with other earth dwellers in the past as
this issue is of course linked to the international
well as with future generations), a harmonious and
realization that the modern world is not developing
respectful relationship between man and nature, and
sustainably. This has become painfully clear during the
reflection on a responsible lifestyle.
past few years in particular. The climate is changing
Which technological innovations, adaptations to
because the world population is drastically increasing the
one’s personal lifestyle and forms of international
natural greenhouse effect. Raw materials such as oil, coal
cooperation are required to make the transition to a
and gas are getting more and more expensive as they
more sustainable world? A knowledge base is also
become scarcer, partly due to the enormous demand
necessary to achieve adequate insight into the factors
from China, India and other parts of the world that are
determining sustainable development: from population
undergoing rapid economic development. It is also
growth to sound natural resource extraction, from
becoming increasingly difficult to meet the growing and
international policy to technological innovation.
to some extent more prosperous world population’s
demand for food.
Sustainable development – a desire rather than a
trend – can be broadly interpreted: one may rightly
wonder whether the development of the world is
‘sustainable’ in a political, social, economic or cultural
sense. However, here we shall confine ourselves to
sustainability in the stricter sense: the relation between
humanity and the earth it inhabits. Think for instance of
Three aspects have been selected to illustrate the
theme of sustainable development:
Population growth and urbanization in relation to the
availability of natural resources, environmental
quality and prospects for a more sustainable
development. Window chosen: Mexico City.
The availability of strategic natural resources such as
fresh water, agricultural land or energy sources, and
the opportunities for better distribution of scarce
resources. Window chosen: drinking water in the
Middle East.
Climate change, the international policy to reduce its
speed, the necessary adaptation to climate change
and the consequences for various parts of the Earth.
Window chosen: the North Pole.
growth. It warned of natural resources being exhausted
by the continuously growing demand for food, energy
and drinking water.
Traffic jams! Only one of the problems confronting a
However, this is by no means solely due to the
metropolis like Mexico City. With over twenty million
countries. The
inhabitants the Mexican capital is one of the largest cities
Netherlands, for example, has a small population growth,
in the world. The suburbs are still expanding explosively,
but the ‘ecological footprint’ (the effect on the
with all the consequences entailed.
environment per inhabitant) is disproportionately large.
The city was founded by the Aztecs in 1325 on an
A Dutchman’s demand for agricultural land, woods,
island in the high-lying Lake Texcoco. Building rapidly
fishing-grounds and fossil fuels is five times that of a
extended towards other islands, creating a kind of Venice.
Kenyan or an Indian. If every global citizen were to use
But it is precisely this location that is the cause of a great
the same amount of energy, space, food and water as a
number of problems the city has to deal with. The
Dutchman, the natural resources would rapidly be
metropolis lies in a valley completely surrounded by high
depleted and the environment would become even more
volcanoes. The result is that the polluted air/smog is
trapped. Because Mexico City is located at the lowest
Yet the West has no legitimate basis for denying
point of the valley it is difficult for polluted water to flow
others what one considers quite normal for oneself. How
away. Consequently, what remains of Lake Texcoco is
can the world population escape this dilemma?
exceptionally poisonous. This in turn causes drinking
water problems.
An increasingly greater percentage of the world
population live in enormous urban agglomerations. This
tendency is mainly visible in developing countries. Cities
like Mumbai (Bombay), Shanghai, Lagos and Jakarta
have to contend with problems similar to those of Mexico
City. More and more land and resources are required to
accommodate the population growth. As early as 1972,
the Club of Rome concluded that there are limits to
intensive consumption, but also through pollution and
dehydration. Moreover, access to clean drinking water is
unequally distributed. 900 million people, especially in
developing countries, lack access to safe drinking water.
Safe drinking water is scarce in the dry Middle East,
Drinking contaminated water plus the presence of
which is why conflicts arise between all kinds of countries
polluted surface water are largely responsible for the
and population groups. Turkey is building dams in the
transfer of germs in these countries.
rivers Euphrates and Tigris for energy production and
Sustainable extraction and equal distribution of
irrigation, much to the annoyance of Iraq and Syria.
water are therefore urgently called for. In this respect,
Israel, Jordan and Lebanon dispute the water of the river
water does not differ from other natural resources such
as gas and oil, reserves of which are not inexhaustible
Egypt depends on the Nile for 95% of its water
either. In the Netherlands, there is often concern about
because rainfall is negligible and the ground water supply
the possible depletion of gas deposit in Groningen, which
is very limited. However, the upstream part of the river
has been exploited since 1959. When the gas field is
flows through the territories of nine other countries.
empty, the Netherlands will be dependent on imports. In
Through treaties dating from the colonial period, Egypt
this way the energy supply becomes an international
has imposed on neighbouring countries that they may
issue. Because of the danger of energy sources becoming
not build any water works in the Nile to tap water from
depleted, but even more because of the climate, increasing
the river. Up to now, Egypt has adhered to this, if need
attention is paid to sustainable alternatives such as wind
be under threat of armed intervention.
and solar energy. Another option is burning biomass
Elsewhere in the world there can also be a conflict
(which now accounts for half the sustainable energy in
about the water supply. Water consumption doubles
the Netherlands), though it has recently become clear
every twenty years, twice as fast as the population growth.
that this has negative consequences for the world’s food
Intensive agriculture accounts for 65%, industry for 25%
and households for 10% of use. Top consumers are the
rich countries. Just like other natural resources, the
supply of fresh water on earth is not inexhaustible.
Although three-quarters of the earth’s surface is covered
by water, only half a percent of this is available as drinking
water. And this quantity is decreasing, not only through
The Netherlands, like Bangladesh, is a densely
populated and low-lying river delta. Unlike Bangladesh,
however, the Netherlands does have the means to combat
The ice at the North Pole is melting. Satellite photographs
rising sea levels. The so-called Delta Committee
over the past two decades show that the size of the ice
concluded in 2008 that the safety level behind the Dutch
cap is rapidly shrinking. If it continues to melt at this
dikes had to be raised by a factor of ten at least. Stronger
rate, it will not be long before the northern sea route to
dikes and sand suppletion along the coast are possible
Asia is navigable in summer. Estimates first arrived at
solutions.The cost of these is estimated by the Committee
2070, then 2030 and now some computer models have
at 1 to 1.5 billion euros annually, less than half a percent
estimated an ice-free North Pole from the summer of
of the gross domestic product.
2013. Global warming, caused by the increased
For Bangladesh it is quite a different matter. The
greenhouse effect, is responsible for polar ice melting.
gross domestic product of that country is not one-tenth
The greenhouse effect is increased by the emission of
that of the Netherlands, even though almost ten times as
CO2 and other gases by industries, power plants and
many people live there. It has no money to protect its
automobiles. An attempt is being made worldwide to
575 kilometres of coastline. Already Bangladesh regularly
come to an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas
suffers flooding; any further rise in sea level will be
emissions. The Kyoto Protocol is now in force, but has
disastrous for the population. All they can do is flee. This
not been ratified by the biggest polluters such as China
introduces a new phenomenon: the climate refugee.
and the United States, who fear a negative effect on their
The sea level is rising worldwide due to climate
change. This has far-reaching consequences for humans
and animals. The polar bear, for instance, is losing large
sections of its habitat. People living in low-lying areas are
threatened by the rising sea level. Estimates vary from a
few centimetres to one and a half metres. Developing
countries will probably be the most heavily hit because
they do not have the means to take adequate
Globalization poses many challenges to the international
community, but it is also a process that has brought more
Globalization in its widest definition is the increase of
prosperity to millions of people and that has fascinating
international relations and flows in all kinds of fields:
consequences, such as technological progress and
capital (investments, transfer of funds), people (migrants,
cultural exchange.
Three aspects have been selected to illustrate the
tourists), goods (cars, clothing, food, semimanufactures,
raw materials), ideas (knowledge, education, science)
theme of globalization:
and cultures (film, music, lifestyles, consumption
Through globalization, more and more people,
relations with multinational concerns, trade flows,
areas, countries and businesses have become linked and
international transfer of funds, and metropolises
form part of a coherent world system. Transnational
manifesting themselves as economic hubs. Window
organizations have started to play a larger part in the
chosen: Shanghai.
international issues belonging to globalization, such as
the organization of free trade and combatting climate
Global migration streams, their effects in areas of
change. In order to understand this world and function
origin and destination and the laborious debate on
in it, one needs to be aware of the global patterns of
the canalization o f international migration. Window
exchange, of the interdependence of people in this world,
chosen: Ceuta, the Spanish exclave in Morocco.
of the complexity of all these relations and the
corresponding balance of power.
Cultural exchange on a world scale, leading to the
Acquiring some insight into globalization processes
development of enriching new patterns and hybrids
and the consequences of these for citizens of various
in music, art, food and fashion. Window chosen: the
countries is therefore an essential part of global citizenship
education. In debates on globalization, fundamental
values are often brought up, such as justice, equality,
openness and tolerance, solidarity and ecologically sound
action. Some historical knowledge is also important for
the global citizen: how the relationships in the world
developed from the colonial and imperial era to the
present age of free trade and a new world order.
Shanghai and Beijing areas. Meanwhile, China has
become a major player in global economy. Chinese
companies are expanding their activities in other parts of
The global economy is increasingly dominated by
the world, also in the West. In addition, China has
economic hubs. The largest of these at the moment are
large-scale investments in Africa to safeguard the growing
New York, London and Tokyo. But cities like Dubai and
demand for imported raw materials and energy. In view
Shanghai are rapidly emerging as new financial and
also of the emergence of India, which, like China, is a
economic centres.
country that accounts for a significant proportion of the
Shanghai is China’s largest city, with an estimated
twenty million people. The metropolis has more
world population, Asia’s economic role is rapidly gaining
skyscrapers than New York, a public transport system
As to the worldwide consequences of economic
exceeding that of London, the biggest harbour in the
globalization, views differ. The positive interpretation
world and, in Pudong, a brand-new business centre. The
says that a free global market in the sphere of trade and
region accounts for 30% of China’s foreign export, 20%
investment ensures that more and more people share in
of its industrial production and attracts 25% of all foreign
the proceeds from the growing world economy. The
negative interpretation of globalization emphasizes that
corporations, such as General Motors and Volkswagen,
the free market policy is the agenda of prosperous
have their head offices in Shanghai. As a result of the
countries and multinational corporations. In this
economic growth, the standard of living of a large
perspective, economic independence leads to increasing
proportion of the city’s population is rising.
economic inequality.
Shanghai and in a broader sense, China, are profiting
from economic globalization. Multinational concerns
nowadays play an important part in the organization of
production and consumption. Flows of goods, capital
and information run increasingly within and between
multinationals moved their labour-intensive production
processes to low-wage countries such as Singapore,
Taiwan, South Korea and Hongkong. And when wages
rose there, they also moved to China, especially to the
economic refugees are regarded by many Europeans as a
threat to their own position. These feelings plus the fear
of a tidal wave of migrants preserve the policy of a
European barbed wire in North Africa symbolizes the
Fortress Europe.
painful dilemmas of international migration. Ceuta is a
Nevertheless, pleas are regularly heard in political
unique section of the European Union’s external border.
circles for a regulated admission of labour migrants.
The Spanish exclave in North Africa is surrounded by
Although Europe and also the United States painstakingly
Moroccan territory. Ceuta is popular with Spaniards for
guard their southern boundaries, migration need not
day trips because of tax-free shopping. Morocco disputes
only be regarded as a problem. Migrants, for instance,
the Spanish presence and regards Ceuta as its territory.
do work that the inhabitants do not want to do. And the
But Ceuta is mainly in the news because it is a
arrival of migrants leads to cultural diversity which can
favourite destination for African migrants heading for
encourage creativity and innovation. In addition,
Europe. Migrants attempt to enter the city unnoticed so
migrants send money to relatives in their country of
that they can then board the ferry to Spain. To prevent
origin. According to the World Bank this is an important
this, Spain has built a barbed wire fence three metres
impulse for the development of backward regions. The
high around the exclave. Sentries and patrols guard the
volume of these cash operations by far exceeds the
frontier. At night the fence is floodlit and it is monitored
amount of official development aid.
by sensors and cameras. This makes the border around
Ceuta one of the most heavily guarded external frontiers
of the EU.
The border fence around Ceuta is a symbol for
Fortress Europe.Whereas the opportunities for migration
between the countries of the European Union have
increased, it is more and more difficult for Africans to get
into Europe in order to settle there. However, European
countries do open their borders to (highly) educated
workers of which there is a shortage, such as nurses,
scientists and specialist technicians. Europe also allows
in political refugees. But poor African migrants who are
generally unskilled do not belong to the chosen. These
Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Miriam Makeba from
South Africa have shown the Western public that Africa
is more than just a continent of hunger and poverty.
The djembé is mainly played in West Africa. The drum is
At the same time there is also the risk of cultural
famous for the different sounds and tones one can make
uniformization due to the more dominant position of
with it; learning to play it well can take years. It is made
certain countries and companies in the global interplay
from a hollowed-out tree trunk with a goatskin stretched
of forces. On a national scale this effect is already visible:
over it, and is played standing or sitting and clasped
the familiar chains and brands are present in every Dutch
between the legs. African music and its rhythms have
shopping centre. At the same time the tourist sees the
influenced music styles worldwide through trade and
same shops and advertisements in foreign cities.
slavery, take for example Latin-American and Caribbean
American influences in particular are noticeable in the
music (rumba and salsa). Jazz developed in the United
remotest corners of the earth. In her influential book No
States as a mixture of African and Western music.
Logo, published in 2000, the Canadian activist Naomi
Nowadays, classical Western music also makes more
Klein, with the anti-globalization movement in her wake,
use of percussion instruments or elements from Eastern
contended against the constraints of global branding.
music. Moreover, African or Afro-American influences
The struggle for direction in cultural and economic
are unmistakeable in popular music styles such as reggae,
globalization is still very much alive and ongoing.
rhythm & blues, hiphop and rap.
Conversely, a continent like Africa has experienced
musical influences from all over the world. As a result of
colonialism and improved methods of communication,
Western music, especially rock and pop, can now be
heard everywhere in Africa. This has led to the
disappearance of traditional music, but also to the
emergence of new hybrids. Music is an outstanding
example of how cultural exchange can lead to exceptional
things. It does not only create space for musical innovation
but it also promotes the equality of global relations.
African musicians like Youssou N’Dour and Salif Keita
from Senegal, Amadou & Mariam from Mali and
in the world manage to buy and consume which part of
the global resources, and with what right?
The distribution of income, opportunities, work and
Awareness of distribution issues, including the huge
access to education, health care or basic food among
problem of poverty and combatting poverty, is an
people in the world is very unequal. Not only between
essential part of global citizenship education. Thinking
prosperous and poor countries, but the distribution
about distribution issues brings up different values:
between groups of people within countries is a growing
equality, justice, solidarity. Thinking about distribution
problem. This applies to African countries, for example,
also requires knowledge of the poverty problem: what
where the standard of living of the elite often contrasts
does poverty mean in everyday life, what are the structural
sharply with that of the rest of the population. But there
aspects, what part does the international economic order
is also a distribution problem in Western countries.
play and what can be done from the Netherlands to
Because of the excessive remunerations in the upper
influence unequal distribution?
echelons of the labour market, income discrepancy is on
the increase.
The global distribution issue is not a simple black
and white tale of rich and poor countries, nor can it be
solved in a trice. The neo-liberal climate in the current
phase of globalization is partly to blame, together with
the shift from state intervention to a free market system
which has taken place in many countries.
The issue of unequal distribution is a layered story
in which in a number of developing countries large
groups of people are better off thanks to economic
growth (as in India, Brazil and China), while in other
areas (particularly in Africa) hardly any advantage is
taken of the opportunities offered by globalization. In
countries that are booming economically, new elites
emerge which emulate the Western standard of living. An
extra dimension in the distribution issue stems from the
increasing scarcity of natural resources: which countries
Three aspects have been selected to illustrate the
theme of distribution:
agreements within the scope of the United Nations
millennium goals and the meaning of development
cooperation. Window chosen: millennium goal 1.
The unequal access to food, housing and health care, as
well as possibilities to improve access to such
essential matters via national policy and international
cooperation. Window chosen: child mortality in
The global issue of increasing food shortage and rising
prices, with all its consequences for people with a
very low income. Window chosen: food riots in
important factor in the struggle against poverty is
reducing the economic inequality within a country. In
some countries economic progress is being made, but at
A beggar on the streets of New York: poverty is a problem
the cost of the poorest people. The World Bank has
that is not exclusive to developing countries. Even in the
calculated that there would be fifteen euros a day for
prosperous West, some people live around subsistence
everyone if all the money were equally divided
level. In developing countries the situation is even more
harrowing, despite the first millennium goal agreed in
There is no extreme poverty in the Netherlands.
2000 by the UN member states: the percentage of people
However, polarization can be observed. The gap between
living in extreme poverty must be reduced by half in
the very poor and the very rich is widening. For example,
2015.Extreme poverty means that a person has less than
the number of Dutch people forced to make use of food
one dollar a day to spend.
banks is increasing. On the other hand, there does not
Under the influence of globalization, extreme
poverty appears to have been driven back. In 1990, 29%
appear to be an upper limit to top incomes in the
corporate and public sectors.
of the world population lived on less than a dollar a day,
in 2004 this had dropped to 18%. Progress, however, is
unequally divided across the world. Particularly in China
and India, the two emerging economic superpowers,
poverty has been substantially reduced. And Sub-Saharan
Africa has recently experienced economic growth.
Although the percentage of extremely poor is decreasing
slightly, their absolute numbers are rising due to the
rapid population growth.
Prosperity is unequally divided from the geographical
point of view, but also within societies. Many developing
countries have a well-to-do elite alongside large groups
of people living in extreme poverty. People living in the
country are often poorer than townspeople. In addition
to which, women – especially in developing countries –
are economically more vulnerable than men. An
percent of the population has four times as much chance
of reaching its fifth birthday as a child from the poorest
twenty percent. This shows that access to health care
forms part of the distribution issue, just like access to
food and housing.
Bolivia is one of the most successful countries in reducing
An interesting Dutch initiative from the medical
child mortality. Health care for children under five and
circle, supported by a number of Dutch multinationals,
for pregnant women is now free. Children are vaccinated
is the Health Insurance Fund for inhabitants of a number
against measles, polio, tetanus and whooping-cough.
of African countries. Employees of these companies and
However, this health programme is not easily accessible
their families can join a collective health insurance.
to the Indian population living in rural areas. Thanks
Thanks to a premium subsidy they can access a standard
partly to the help of international organizations like
package that also covers HIV inhibitors. Despite these
Unicef, child mortality in Latin America and Asia has
and similar efforts, the sixth millennium goal, which is to
been reduced by over fifty percent since 1990. According
halt the spread of AIDS, malaria and other fatal diseases,
to the millennium objectives, child mortality should be
will probably not be achieved in 2015; at least, that is the
reduced worldwide by two-thirds in 2015. A country like
expectation of medical experts. The worldwide struggle
Bolivia will probably achieve this aim, but figures in
against infectious diseases and other epidemics – certainly
many African countries are less favourable, even though
in the case of diseases for which there is still no effective
progress is being made there.
vaccine – is so immense that it will take a long time.
Worldwide, over nine million children per year still
die before they are five; a large proportion of them from
diseases that are relatively easy to treat such as diarrhoea,
pneumonia and malaria. Malnutrition, and consequently
weakened resistance to disease, is a major factor. In
addition, in many developing countries’ basic health care
and vaccination programmes do not reach the entire
population. It is significant that in the Netherlands there
is one doctor available for every 385 inhabitants as
opposed to a ratio of 1 to 100,000 in a country like
Ethiopia. In Indonesia, a child from the richest twenty
issue. Worldwide enough food is produced for everyone.
In spite of this, nine hundred million people are
The world food problem is actually a distribution
At the beginning of 2008, food riots broke out in various
malnourished and many more are threatened with
parts of the world, such as Indonesia. They were a
hunger and malnutrition in the future. The basic problem
reaction to the food prices which had risen by 75%
is that as a result of poverty, war and complex trade
worldwide since 2005. In 2007 alone, prices of
structures, many people do not have access to food.
agricultural products rose by an average of 40%. The
In the Netherlands, food shortage has become an
poorest people were the hardest hit because they spend a
unfamiliar term, but in the past it was a regular
relatively large proportion of their income on food. In
phenomenon. In 1917, a potato riot broke out in
Indonesia, the government has for years kept the price of
Amsterdam when, due to the First World War, there were
food artificially low through subsidies and through
problems with the food supply and consequently a
market influence by buying up food, but this programme
shortage of food. Workers’ wives plundered a ship
threatens to succumb to the rising prices of imported
carrying potatoes and later also besieged shops and
food. Indonesia could be self-sufficient in, for example,
warehouses. Ten people died.
rice production, the domestic price of which is half that
Since the Second World War, the standard of living
on the world market, but a planned expansion of the rice
has increased so much that food riots like these would
areas has hardly been realized yet.
now be unthinkable in the Netherlands, but the global
There are a number of developments underlying
food crisis may also lead to changes in Dutch policy.
the rise in prices. The main cause is increased prosperity
Thus the question has already been raised whether the
in China and India, as a result of which the demand for
loss of agricultural land in the Netherlands should not be
food (especially meat) has risen. At the same time the
production of biofuels is swallowing up a proportion of
the harvests. In addition – whether or not under the
influence of climate changes – recent floods in West
Africa, extreme drought in Australia and heavy
snowstorms in China have had repercussions on food
production. Finally, food transport has become more
expensive due to expensive fossil fuels.
world. Without empathy for the victims, one threatens to
become insensitive to far-off conflicts. Whoever does feel
The Cold War has been over for some time now, although
empathy will be more likely to realize the meaning of
relations between the former blocs are still not entirely
conflict control, of international political and military
tension-free. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 caused a
cooperation and of the contribution one’s country can
surge of optimism to sweep across the world. Meanwhile,
make to containing conflicts. The basic attitude of
it has become clear that in the new world order, however
resolving conflicts – whatever their scale and nature – as
it may crystallize out, the danger of large-scale conflicts
peacefully as possible, is obviously important.
Three aspects have been selected to illustrate the
is not over. International terrorism creates new challenges
for global military and political cooperation. And there
theme of peace and conflict:
are countless regional conflicts that are difficult to
contain. The international community attempts to meet
The deployment of peacekeeping troops and other
the challenges, but sometimes formal means of exercising
efforts on the part of the international community
power are insufficient, or important countries differ in
to contain conflicts in the world. Window chosen:
their views on the solution. As a result of shortages (of
Blue Helmets in Srebrenica.
water, energy, food, agricultural land), new conflicts can
again emerge.
The challenges to the global community posed by
Containing and if possible resolving regional
international terrorism and the different views on
conflicts, preferably by peaceful means, is of the utmost
how to resolve this problem. Window chosen: the
importance to the world community. But it is just as
attack on the Twin Towers.
important to address the human consequences of current
conflicts, such as the immense streams of refugees that
can develop.
The problem of the streams of refugees caused by
conflicts, and the efforts of neighbouring countries
An important topic in global citizenship education
and of the international community to help the
is the problem of war and peace. Fortunately for most
refugees. Window chosen: Afghan refugees in
young people in the Netherlands, the cruelties and
suffering of war and violence are beyond their experience.
Nevertheless it is of crucial importance that they know
about it, both in a historical perspective (for example,
the history of the Second World War) as well as in today’s
mission and resigned. The trauma of Srebrenica has
become so much a part of national awareness that it is
included in the historical canon. However, this did not
put an end to Dutch involvement in UN missions.
As part of Dutch Blue Helmets in Srebrenica. As part of
The international community regularly attempts to
a UN peacekeeping force, the soldiers of Dutchbat were
control conflicts through deploying peacekeeping troops.
charged with protecting the Muslim enclave. At that time
Sometimes under the flag of regional alliances, but more
it accommodated ten times as many inhabitants as usual.
often under the UN flag. The United Nations does not
Thousands of men, women and children had sought a
have its own army. The men of peacekeeping forces are
safe haven from Bosnian Serb offensives.
supplied voluntarily by the member states.
The hostilities were part of the war in Bosnia, which
The composition of a peacekeeping force is certainly
broke out when the Bosnia-Herzegovina region declared
not a Western affair. Asian and African countries, for
its independence in 1992. The People’s Republic of
example, also supply soldiers. The costs of peacekeeping
Yugoslavia, which until then had appeared a model of
operations, which are generally expensive, are borne by
harmonious coexistence, began to disintegrate. Bosnian
the international community. Not all UN missions have
Serbs disputed the independence, even proclaimed a
been successful, but in El Salvador and Mozambique,
Serbian Republic and with a clash of arms and the
among other places, interventions have resulted in
support of Serbia claimed large sections of the country.
sustainable peace. UN missions are active in many places
On July 11, 1995, Bosnian-Serb tanks rolled into the
in the world, for example in the Sudan and Cyprus, in
enclave under the command of General Ratko Mladic.
the latter case since 1964.
The lightly armed Dutchbat soldiers were unable to offer
the population adequate armed protection.
Mladic and his soldiers deported and murdered
about eight thousand Muslim men and youths, the worst
act of genocide in Europe since the Second World War.
To this day, mass graves of victims are being uncovered.
The Dutch government ordered an independent
investigation into the drama. When this report was
published in 2002, the cabinet of Wim Kok assumed
political responsibility for the failure of the Dutchbat
right from the start and which acquired a more military
character than intended, due to the stubborn resistance
of the Taliban.
Muslim extremism also crops up in the Netherlands,
Until 11 September 2001, the Twin Towers in New York
as demonstrated by the murder of filmmaker Theo van
were a symbol of international trade and human potential.
Gogh in 2004 and threats to politicians like Ayaan Hirsi
After the attack, the gaping hole in Manhattan became a
Ali and Geert Wilders. The number of extremists – in the
symbol of terrorism. Two passenger planes, with an
Netherlands mainly a phenomenon among young people
interval of a quarter of an hour, crashed into the towers
– still appears to be small for the time being. The threat
just after the start of a working day. Less than one hour
of terror became even more tangible with the bloody
after the impact, the South Tower collapsed, followed by
attacks in Madrid on 11 March 2004. Partly as a result
the North Tower. Although many people managed to
of this, but also because of integration problems in
leave the buildings in time, almost three thousand were
practice, heated public debates arose about the danger to
killed. In addition, a hijacked plane struck the Pentagon
the Netherlands of fundamentalist Islam. However, there
and a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. In the latter
is at the same time a constant stream of initiatives at all
case, the passengers overpowered the terrorists, thus
levels of society (in neighbourhoods, at schools, in social
preventing the plane from reaching its target. The attacks
organizations, in cultural-scientific circles) to stimulate
were carried out by nineteen members of the Islamic
the harmonious coexistence of different population
terrorist network Al Qaeda, all from the Middle East.
The events that took place on 9/11 caused an
enormous shock worldwide and had huge consequences.
The United States regarded the attacks as a declaration
of war and in turn declared war on terrorism. In search
for Al Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden, they
invaded Afghanistan. In addition, the war against terror
was used as an argument for attacking Iraq. Along with
other Western governments, the Dutch cabinet of
Balkenende also supported this attack, despite internal
criticism. In Afghanistan, the Netherlands took part in a
reconstruction mission, an effort that was controversial
while the rest have sought safety in their own country.
Often very little attention is paid to the latter groups.
Refugees in neighbouring countries are brought together
in camps under the protection of the UNHCR, and
emergency aid often flows in from various other countries.
Pakistan has accommodated some three million Afghan
However, this kind of help is not a long-term solution.
refugees for more than twenty years. Since the Russian
Not only in Pakistan, but also in Africa and the Middle
invasion in 1979, waves of Afghans flooded across the
East, camps sometimes tend to acquire an almost
border, at first to escape the fighting, but later also the
permanent character. The refugee problem, which is
dictatorial regime of the Taliban or the drought and the
linked to wars and ethnic-religious conflicts, is difficult
poor economic prospects. The last wave was in 2001,
to resolve.
after the attacks of September 11 and the American
reaction to them.
The Netherlands only offers admission to refugees
who fear personal persecution in their own country,
In Pakistan the Afghans live partly in refugee camps
according to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention
on the border, and partly in the cities. Most have been
which is implemented worldwide. The threat of armed
living there for over fifteen years. Almost half of them
conflict is not a basic criterion for recognition as a
were born in Pakistan; these children and young people
refugee. But the Netherlands does participate in the
only know Afghanistan from stories their parents tell
UNHCR’s invitation only policy. This organization
them. Since the fall of the Taliban regime at the end of
selects refugees in the camps who qualify for asylum in
2001, the UN refugee organization UNHCR has been
the safe West, because of traumas, for example. The
working on repatriation. Pakistan is urging all refugees to
Netherlands is one of the countries that accept quota
return and has already closed a considerable number of
refugees under this regulation and invites five hundred
camps. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have indeed
refugees annually, which, incidentally, is only a fraction
returned, but Pakistan is still accommodating some 2.5
of the stream of people spontaneously applying for
million Afghans.
asylum in the Netherlands.
They are not attracted by the idea of returning to the
continuing violence and inadequately functioning Afghan
Worldwide, an estimated thirty million people are
refugees. Over a third of them have fled across the border,
sustainability and in what ways do they achieve success?
How do we cope with feelings of guilt and how do we
In the open and connected world of today in which areas
create for ourselves meaningful ways of involvement?
are highly interdependent and in which we are kept up to
Discussing such questions is very important because it
date daily by the media about what is happening
enables one to make a balanced assessment of one’s own
elsewhere, global involvement is virtually inevitable.
position and ambitions as a global citizen.
Three aspects have been selected to illustrate the
Shielding oneself from information about international
developments is more likely to lead to reflexes of fear and
theme of global citizenship:
distrust. But how do you flesh out this global involvement?
What possibilities for action are there for global
The international political community and the activities
it undertakes to address issues of development,
security, sustainability and human rights. Window
The United Nations is not a world government but
chosen: the United Nations.
it does form a context within which countries, social
organizations and sometimes also large companies work
together to steer international development in the right
The possibilities as a global citizen to make a
direction. As citizens of our own country, we can critically
personal contribution, by means of consumption and
cooperation. We
environment or better compliance with human
rights. Window chosen: the Max Havelaar Fairtrade
Certification Mark.
environment or human rights on a world scale. In
addition, we can try to be aware of our daily choices in
the sphere of consumption and lifestyle (for instance the
The role of the modern media, in particular television
possibility of buying fair trade products or reducing
and the internet, as windows on the world enabling
energy consumption).
citizens to form a well-founded opinion about
Education for global citizenship must also cover the
international developments, while at the same time
way in which everyone deals with the effects of global
being alert to the cultural and political bias of the
involvement in their own lives. How do we access
image presented by these media. Window chosen:
information and is this information unbiased? What
Al Jazeera.
examples are there of local or international groups
Since 1946, The Hague has been the seat of the
International Court of Justice, which deals with legal
disputes between states. Moreover, in 2002 the
The headquarters of the United Nations (UN) is on the
International Criminal Court was established here,
East River in New York. The organization was founded
which is formally independent but which does cooperate
immediately after the Second World War as a successor
closely with the United Nations. This court can prosecute
to the pre-war League of Nations. The 51 founder states
individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against
hoped to create the conditions for lasting world peace. In
humanity. Both bodies are important for the further
addition, they wanted to create an international platform
development of international law, which can impose
for humanitarian aid and the protection of human rights.
fewer sanctions than national judicial systems.
The UN Charter recognizes the sovereign equality of
Since its foundation, the UN’s objectives have lost
states and forbids the use of violence in international
none of their relevance. The importance of international
cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and
At present the intergovernmental organization has
scientific sphere, the strengthening of the international
192 member states. This means that almost every
legal system and ensuring international peace and
internationally recognized, independent country is a
security has only increased. Despite disappointments,
member of the organization. Decisions are taken by the
the UN has achieved a great deal, amongst other things
General Assembly, in which all member states are
in the field of human rights, health care, agriculture,
represented, or by the Security Council. The latter organ
infrastructure and economic development. However, the
is the highest level of administration, and apart from ten
demand for reform of the organization is becoming
non-permanent elected members it also includes five
stronger. Due to the shortage of funds, but also because
permanent members who have the right of veto (the
of excessive bureaucracy, its effectiveness leaves much to
United States, Russia, China, France and the United
be desired.
Kingdom). In addition, numerous specialist organizations
form part of the UN system, including the children’s
fund Unicef, the cultural and scientific institution
Unesco, the World Food Organization and the World
Health Organization.
The Netherlands also accommodates several UN
foundations, schools, hospitals, sports clubs or groups of
friends that set up their own development projects.
In the business community there is an ongoing
trend towards socially responsible enterprise, in which
The Max Havelaar Fairtrade Certification Mark was
one justifies the influence of one’s own management on
originally created to certify coffee marketed at a price
sustainability and on the development prospects of the
that was favourable to the producers. The initiative came
population in the countries where one is active. Through
about in 1988 during negotiations between Mexican
the Global Compact initiative of 2000, the United
coffee farmers and a Dutch relief organization. The name
Nations is seeking to bring businesses together with
of the certification mark is borrowed from the book Max
governments and social organizations to achieve ten
Havelaar (1860) by Multatuli, in which the abuses
goals in the areas of human rights, labour, environment
resulting from colonial rule in the Dutch East Indies
and anti-corruption. Four thousand organizations have
were exposed.
already joined in. A similar Dutch initiative is the
Meanwhile the label is no longer only linked to
so-called Schokland Agreements, in which several
coffee. Max Havelaar is now the name of the Dutch
organizations are committed to realizing concrete goals
Fairtrade certification mark for food. It guarantees that
in the field of development cooperation. This was started
organizations of small farmers or plantations have
off by the Dutch government.
received a fair price for their product. By purchasing
Fairtrade products consumers can make, through their
lifestyle, a personal contribution to a fairer distribution
of wealth, but also to a cleaner environment or better
compliance with human rights.
In addition to relief, this conscious consumption
behaviour is also a pillar of development cooperation.
This kind of do-it-yourself development aid fits a trend
in which citizens do not shift the responsibility for a
better world to the state, church or relief organizations,
but assume responsibility themselves for their behaviour
and its consequences. Also part of this trend are private
newspapers and radio and television stations to have a
correspondent in every country, they employ news
agencies. Consequently, large Western news agencies like
It is not only the economy that is undergoing a process of
Reuters, AP and AFP traditionally had a substantial
globalization, but also the media. For a long time the
influence on conceptualization. Since the rise of the
American TV station CNN was a symbol of this
Internet, the media landscape has become a lot more
development. Meanwhile other players have arrived on
varied.Young people in particular make increasing use of
the market, such as BBC world and Al Jazeera. This Arab
the Internet to find out more about the world. Weblogs
television network has its headquarters in Qatar, and in
of citizens from all over the world give us the opportunity
its own words, is the only politically independent
of looking directly into other living-rooms. In countries
television channel in the Middle East. It began
with a restricted freedom of the press such as China,
broadcasting in 1996, the year in which BBC World’s
citizens explore and utilize the farthest limits of the
Arabic programmes were subjected to Saudi censorship.
Internet. In this way, the new media provide opportunities
At the time of the Second Gulf War, Al Jazeera was an
for citizen journalism and for the international exchange
important news source because it had a reporter in Iraq.
of pictures, observations and opinions on a scale that is
The channel became known worldwide when it
unprecedented in history.
broadcasted several video messages from Bin Laden.
This did not go down well with the American government,
but Al Jazeera viewed it as neutral journalism.
Until the arrival of Al Jazeera, the international
media landscape was dominated by Western television
networks. The Arab station meant that citizens in the
Middle East and in other parts of the world were no
longer exclusively dependent for their gathering of news
on information brought (inevitably) from a Western
perspective. Moreover, people in the Middle East gained
access to an Arabic news channel that was not under
government control.
The media play a decisive role in people’s
image-forming. Because it is far too expensive for
Armstrong 2006.
John Urry (1999) poses a number of probing questions on this subject. For instance: if citizenship exists by the
grace of inclusion and exclusion, are global citizens opposed to citizens of the world who do not consider themselves
to be global citizens?
The first report of the canon committee appeared in 2006, and consisted of a background document (part A) and
the actual proposal for the canon with the windows (part B). Part C was published in 2007 and was a reaction to
On ethics in a globalizing world see Singer 2002.
the debate on the canon proposal, which had by then taken place.
Dekker & De Hart 2005, p. 80.
Princess Máxima’s speech can be read on under Actueel resp. Toespraken. In the social
What actors can conceivably be called global citizens and what logical and substantial problems are attached to
such stretched ideas of citizenship is discussed in Beneker & Van der Vaart 2006, among others.
debate on the speech, a major part was played by
writer and professor Paul Scheffer, who, in his book Het land van aankomst, actually advocates new forms of
A few examples from Citizenship Studies must suffice here. Nyers (2004) pursues the matter of what the current
“national bonding”(Scheffer 2007).
preoccupation with security means for citizenship. Dean (2004) discusses the uncomfortable relation between
Wetenschappelijke Raad (Scientific Council) 2007, p. 24.See for example the debate between Amartya Sen and
solidarity and market thinking in European thinking on citizenship, in particular in Great Britain. The debate on
Kwame Appiah in Gorelick 2006. The geoethical principle of global citizenship has been discussed in Stoddard
what global citizenship could imply, can be found in Arneil 2007, Bowden 2003 and Schattle 2005, among
& Cornwell 2003, among others.
Van der Lelij et al. 2008. Some other recent Motivaction studies in this area are: Lampert et al. 2007, Van der Lelij
Core syllabus Learning for Sustainable Development in Remmers 2007. For citizenship education see for example
et al. 2007, Metaal andVan der Lelij 2007.These reports can be consulted at under Ons kenniscentrum
Eijsackers 2006. On media education: Raad voor Cultuur (Council for Culture) 2005, Ministerie van OCW
(abstracts and complete texts).
(Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science) 2006.
The website contains a hoard of sources and suggestions for and academic literature on
Dekker & De Hart 2005.
Wetenschappelijke Raad 2007, p. 24.
See the well-known essay ‘Patriotism and cosmopolitanism’ by Martha Nussbaum (1994). The young people’s
Tye 2003. Kenneth Tye sent questionnaires to 100 countries and got a response from 52 countries.
opinion cited is described in Beneker & Van der Vaart 2008, p. 5.
Tye 2003, p. 166.
A similar dichotomy in society as a result of neoliberal globalization is well described by Baumann (1999) among
Similarities of this kind in global education thinking have been demonstrated by Hicks (2003) and Kirkwood
Globales Lernen in the German-speaking regions of Europe.
(2001) among others.
others. In the Netherlands, the issue has, for example, been raised by Thomas von der Dunk (2004) and Rein
Heijne (2006).
Hanvey 1976.
North-South Centre 2005. For the research among primary school pupils see Zondervan 2007.
Hicks 2003, p. 271. The Oxfam categories have also been borrowed from this author, p. 272.
See Meerman’s research (2007).
Also interesting is that in global education in American schools, the role played by one’s own country comes up
A recent SCP report with many details on social participation is Bijl et al. 2007 (chapter 7). On practical idealism
far more often than in British or Canadian schools. For more differences between the three countries in the tone
set for global education in their schools, see Pike 2000.
see Van den Berg & Koers 2003. There was a heated debate on the subject in NRC Handelsblad and De Volkskrant in
2005; see for example Nieuwenhuis 2005.
Van der Velden 2007.
For a thorough and multidisciplinary analysis of the concept of global citizenship see Dower & Williams 2002.
Hicks 2003, p. 271.
The term critical democratic citizenship is derived from Veugelers 2003. Starting from other styles of citizenship,
such as calculating citizenship, such values and attitudes are less obvious. Critical democratic citizenship does not
only have a strong tradition within idealistic social organizations, but also within Western European societies as a
Oxfam 2006, p. 7.
Case 1993.
This applies, for example, to Huckle (2002) and Hicks (2003).
Oxfam 2006, p. 6.
See for example Nordgren 2002.
Ministry of the Flemish Community 2004.
For the formulation of the theory and development of the concept of Globales Lernen see for example Trisch
2005, Scheunpflug 2008 and Kramer 2008. The Austrian situation is described by Hartmeyer (2008), among
DEA 2001.
The Guardian, 29 April 2008.
See QCA 2007a and b.
Some relevant publications are QCA 2007c, DfES 2004 and DfID 2005.
See for example Andreotti 2007. The theoretical and substantive debate on global citizenship is, for that matter,
highly international; see also, for example, Roman 2003.
See for example Davies et al. 2005, Marshall 2005 and Ibrahim 2005.
These basic principles have been well formulated in the summary of part A of the report by the Committee for
the Development of the Dutch Canon 2006, pp. 12-13.
DfES, Putting the world into world-class education. An international strategy for education, skills and
children’s services. Nottingham: Department for Education and Skills, 2004.
DfID, Developing the global dimension in the school curriculum.
Andreotti,V., The contributions of postcolonial theory to development education. Londen: DEA, 2007.
Glasgow: Department for International Development, 2005.
Armstrong, C., Global civil society and the question of global citizenship. In: Voluntas, 17 (2006), pp. 349-357.
Dower, N. & J.Williams (red.), Global citizenship: a critical reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002.
Arneil, B., Global citizenship and empire. In: Citizenship Studies, 11 (2007) 3, pp. 301-328.
Dunk,Th. von der, De wereldburger van niets. In: Vrij Nederland, 2 October 2004.
Baumann, Z., Globalization.The human consequences. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999.
Eijsackers, L., Actief burgerschap: good practices in scholen. Aanvulling. Den Bosch: KPC Groep, 2006.
Beneker,T. & R. van der Vaart, Global citizenship and development. In: P. van Lindert et al. (eds.),
Gorelick, M.,The idea of global citizenship. In: UN Chronicle, 43 (2006) 2.
Development matters: geographical studies on development process and policies, pp. 127-138.
Utrecht: Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, 2006.
Beneker,T., M. van Stalborch & R. van der Vaart, Wereldburgerschap in het onderwijs. NCDO vision document.
Amsterdam: NCDO, 2008.
Berg, N. van den & S. Koers, Praktisch idealisme. Handboek voor de beginnende wereldverbeteraar.
Amsterdam: Podium, 2003.
Bijl, R., J. Boelhouwer & E. Pommer (eds.), De sociale staat van Nederland.
Den Haag: Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau, 2007.
Bowden, B.,The perils of global citizenship. In: Citizenship Studies, 7 (2003) 3, pp. 349-362.
Business for Diplomatic Action, Global citizens guide. N.p. n.d. (see
Case, R., Key elements of a global perspective. In: Social Education, 57 (1993) 6, pp. 318-325.
Commissie Ontwikkeling Nederlandse Canon, De canon van Nederland. Parts A and B.
Den Haag: Ministerie van OCW, 2006.
(downloadable at:
Hanvey, R., An attainable global perspective. New York: Center for Global Perspectives in Education, 1976.
Hartmeyer, H., Globales Lernen in sterreich: Entwicklungen und Perspektiven. In: VENRO (2008).
Heijne, R., Wereldburgerschap: het ei van Erasmus. Essay. Rotterdam: Stichting Huis van Erasmus, 2006
Hicks, D.,Thirty years of global education: a reminder of key principles and precedents. In: Educational Review,
55 (2003) 3, pp. 265-275.
Huckle, J.,Time to get real. In: Development Education Journal, 9 (2002) 1.
Ibrahim,T., Global citizenship education: mainstreaming the curriculum? In: Cambridge Journal of Education,
35 (2005) 2, pp. 177-194.
Kirkwood,T., Our global age requires global education: clarifying definitional ambiguities. In: The Social Studies,
January/February 2001, pp. 10-15.
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The project was initiated in June 2007 by NCDO and Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences.
The following project plan was set up.
The objective of the project is:
To develop a canon for global citizenship.
To contribute to increasing the degree of attention given to global citizenship in regular education by developing
the canon.
The Van Oostrom Committee’s historical and cultural canon of the Netherlands was well received. The canon
apparently satisfies a widely felt need for the organization of educational material and choice making. Fifty so-called
‘windows’ reflect what Dutch people should at any rate know about their national history. The windows present an icon
(a person, a place, an event) by means of which important topics from Dutch history can be explored. The canon is
open (if necessary it can be adapted in a few years’ time).
A canon can be very useful as an instrument to promote global citizenship as a subject in Dutch education. A list
of 20 to 25 windows can give schools and colleges of education something to go on. Together, these icons would
present a good picture of what Dutch people – as global citizens – ought to know about the world. By limiting the
choice to 20 to 25 windows, schools can pay serious attention to each of the topics: by first introducing the topic, then
thinking about it and finally studying it in depth.
From the perspective of schools, ‘global citizenship’ is one of the very many areas for special attention which
should be given a place in education. The substantive basis of global citizenship is essentially very extensive and
difficult to define. After all, it concerns development, sustainability, human rights, peace and security, and so on.
Numerous dimensions are involved: historical, geographical, political, cultural, economic, to mention but a few. This
broad concept makes it difficult for schools to give shape to global citizenship convincingly. A well-considered canon
with a limited number of windows could prove to be an extremely useful resource. It is, of course, important that the
canon is presented to schools and training colleges in a convincing and attractive way.
The word ‘canon’ is subject to inflation. After the success of the Van Oostrom Committee, there was a veritable
proliferation of canon initiatives (local, regional, for art etc.) In fact it is questionable whether, in the case of a canon
for global citizenship, the word ‘canon’ should be used at all. In this phase of the project we still use the term, but in
the realization phase it would perhaps to better to avoid it.
Putting together a canon committee of no more than eight members.
Organization of five meetings of this committee.
Compiling a report of the meetings.
Report of approximately 50 to 75 pages, consisting of the justification, presentation of the canon, two pages of
elaboration per window and suggestions for implementation.
The canon committee will deliver this report digitally no later than the end of 2008.
Publishing will be taken care of by NCDO.
The committee will also provide an idea for a poster of the canon.
To achieve a canon for global citizenship, a comparatively small committee will start work on it in the period from
September 2007 to November 2008. From Utrecht University, Rob van der Vaart and Tine Beneker will respectively
take on the positions of chairman and secretary. This keeps the lines between chairman and secretary short, which will
be beneficial to the process. From NCDO, Mariëtte van Stalborch will participate in the committee. NCDO is
responsible for the publication and publicity of the report. The committee consists of no more than eight members.
Three of them have already been appointed (Rob van der Vaart, Tine Beneker and Mariëtte van Stalborch). The
remaining members will be approached from the following sectors: journalism, teachers, teacher trainers, citizenship
experts and migrant organizations.
As the final product, the committee will deliver a report of approximately 50 to 75 pages, consisting of a justification,
Attendance at five three-hour meetings – active thinking during the meetings, reading papers in advance,
presentation of the canon, two pages of elaboration per window and suggestions for implementation. The
commenting on draft texts for the final report, willingness to participate in the dissemination of the canon after
elaboration per window gives a brief explanation regarding content in which the importance of the window for
summer 2008.
global citizenship is made clear, plus teaching suggestions(tie-in with school curriculum, prospects for broadening
and deepening the window, websites, museums, juvenile literature, supplementary resources available). On 30
A positive attitude towards the idea of a canon for global citizenship.
June 2008, the committee will deliver copy for the final report, but will not provide the layout nor the acquisition
of image rights (for the icons). The committee will also deliver an idea for a canon poster.
To develop a canon for global citizenship consisting of 20 to 25 windows, complete with a justification and an
elaboration for each of the windows.
To develop proposals for the implementation of the canon as from December 2008.
To ensure sufficient support for the canon, by consulting interested parties in and outside the field of education.
Global citizenship can be interpreted as the international dimension of the involvement of citizens in society.
Global citizenship does not only have a knowledge dimension, but also dimensions such as commitment, attitude
and practical action (see NCDO’s vision document). The canon will take the approach of substantive windows
offering schools and training colleges the opportunity to initiate discussions or increase involvement. However,
how to deal with the windows in class – the didactics of global citizenship – is not the committee’s primary
The canon’s target groups are clearly defined. Education is central: primary and secondary education, as well as
colleges of education. The substantive dimensions of global citizenship as described in NCDO’s vision document
will certainly receive attention.
Anouk Adang was working as a Geography teacher at Baarnsch Lyceum at the time the Committee was active and as
a project worker at the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University. She is currently working as education coordinator
for the Dutch Royal Geographical Society.
Annemies Broekgaarden was appointed head of Education at the Rijksmuseum as from 1 December 2008. For eight
years prior to this she worked as head of the Tropenmuseum Junior, the children’s museum department of the Royal
Tropical Institute. Before that she was the communication project leader for the national broadcasting corporation.
The focus of her activities is children’s interest in the world, and in line with this, the perception of global citizenship
at primary school age.
Hans Palings is a lecturer on the Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in Geography at Fontys College of Education in
Tilburg. He is engaged there in the following fields: geography education, geography and citizenship and teaching
Mariëtte van Stalborch has been head of NCDO’s various sector programmes for eight years. At NCDO she has
designed the education programme in cooperation with people with practical experience. On the initiative of NCDO
she organized the Masterclass together with Rob van der Vaart and Tine Beneker. The canon for global citizenship,
which resulted from this Masterclass, is a joint initiative of NCDO and Utrecht University.
Rob van der Vaart (chairman) is attached to Utrecht University as Dean of University College Utrecht (UCU) and as
Annelies Zoomers has been Professor of Social Geography, in particular International Development, at Utrecht
Professor of Social Geography at the Faculty of Geosciences. For years he has been engaged in sustainable development,
University since 1 September 2007. After studying social geography of the developing countries (Utrecht University),
global education and internationalization and education. He was closely associated with the review of the final havo
she took a doctoral degree at Radboud University (Nijmegen) in 1988. For the following 9 years she worked from the
and vwo examination syllabuses for geography. He was also a member of the Van Oostrom Committee which drew up
Dutch Institute of Economics (Rotterdam) and the Royal Tropical Institute (Amsterdam) as an expert in development
the Canon of the Netherlands.
cooperation in various countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. From 1995 to 2007 she worked for the Centre for
Latin American Documentation and Research (CEDLA).
Tine Beneker (secretary) is a lecturer/researcher at the Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University. She lectures on
the Geocommunications Master’s course and specialized in global education, global citizenship and geography
teaching. She takes part in international research into global education. Together with Rob van der Vaart, she was
responsible for the organization of the NCDO Global Citizenship and Education Masterclass and for the NCDO
vision document Global citizenship and Education.
The committee arranged several sessions with “hands on” experts to acquire outside contributions. The committee
expresses its gratitude for the inspiring ideas which emerged during these meetings and which found their way, directly
or indirectly, to this canon. The group meetings were as follows:
pag. 2: Ed Oudenaarden, celebrating 32nd independence day, Paramaribo, Suriname, ANP.
pag. 4: Holger Mette, Taj Mahal,Agra, India, iStockphoto.
Students and lecturers at Fontys College of Education, Tilburg (13 January 2008)
pag. 6: Bruno Perousse, ring road Mexico City, Mexico, AFP/ANP.
Citizenship network AliceO (29 January 2008)
pag. 8: Jan Rysavy, satellite map of the Earth, iStockphoto.
Teachers of primary and secondary education (31 January 2008)
pag. 12: Roman Shiyanov, Indian woman, Amazon forest Ecuador, iStockphoto.
Lecturers at the PABO Haarlem (1 April 2008)
pag 16: Pascal Genest, Ganesha, iStockphoto.
Platform Migrant Parents and Education (2 April 2008)
pag. 20: Rafael Ramirez Lee, Patio de los Leones, Alhambra, Grenada, Spanje, iStockphoto.
Students at the PABO Rotterdam/Dordrecht (7 April 2008)
pag. 24: Birute Vijeikiene, school class in Mombasa, Kenya,
(Former) members of the Derde Kamer (Third Chamber) NCDO (17 April 2008)
pag. 26:Abed Al Hafiz Hashlamoun, well in Yatta, Hebron, West Bank of the Jordan,ANP/EPA.
Master students of Geography and Communication group in an Educational Design Workshop course (April-May
pag. 31: Shah Marai, repatriation of Afghan refugees, Kabul, Afghanistan, ANP/AFP.
pag. 32: Lucian Coman, mother and child, Kalahari Desert, Botswana,
pag. 35: JustASC, homeless man, United States,
pag. 38: see page 12.
pag. 40: see page 4.
pag. 42: Nick Gibson, AVHR satellite image of South America in true colours, ANP/AGE fotostock.
pag. 44:Yenwen Lu, calligraphy Harmonious Life, iStockphoto.
pag. 46: Erik van den Elsen, detail of wooden church, Paramaribo, Suriname, iStockphoto.
pag. 48: see page 16.
pag. 50: see page 20.
pag. 52: see page 2.
pag. 54: Ivy O. Lam, monks at Tasilhunpo monastery, Shigatse,Tibet, iStockphoto.
pag. 57: Ken Brown, Samoan stamps depicting Martin Luther King,
pag. 58: Oktay Ortakcioglu, candle with barbed wire, iStockphoto.
pag. 60: Arthena, Dutch National Monument to Slavery, Amsterdam, creative commons licence
naamsvermelding-gelijk delen 3.0 unported.
pag. 62: see page 24.
pag. 64: A. S. Zain, damage by tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia,
pag. 67: Gordon Dixon, looking for food on the beach, Mumbai, India, iStockphoto.
pag. 68: see page 6.
pag. 70: see page 26.
pag. 72: Jan Will, the last polar bear, North Pole, iStockphoto.
pag. 74: D.W. Sussman, container ship harbour Panama City Florida,United States, iStockphoto.
pag. 76: Loic Bernard, Shanghai skyline, China, iStockphoto.
pag. 78: Abdelhak Senna, illegal immigrants in a reception camp in Ceuta, ANP/AFP.
pag. 80: Peeter Viisimaa, djembé player, Benin, iStockphoto.
pag. 82: Jerry Koch, homeless man,United States, iStockphoto.
pag 85: Jason Major, malaria mosquito, iStockphoto.
pag. 86: see page 35.
pag. 88: Gonzalo Espinoza, vaccination against measles, La Paz, Bolivia, ANP/AFP.
pag. 90: Choo Youn-Kong, riots due to rise in food and fuel prices, Jakarta, Indonesia,
pag. 92:Angel Herrero de Frutos, Ground Zero World Trade Center, New York,United States, iStockphoto.
pag. 94: Robert van den Berge, Dutch UN troops grouping evacuees, training for the ISAF III mission, Axel, Nederland,
pag. 96: Ken Graff, New York before 9/11, New York,United States, iStockphoto.
pag. 98: see page 31.
pag. 100: see page 8.
pag. 102: SVLumagraphica, United Nations headquarters, New York,United States, iStockphoto.
pag. 104: Ran Platt, Fairtrade coffee grower, iStockphoto.
pag. 106:Tengku Bahar,Al Jazeera broadcasting centre Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,ANP/AFP.
pag. 108: see page 44.
pag. 113: see page 92.
pag. 118: see page 104.
pag. 120: see page 80.
Product group from well-managed
forests and other controlled sources
Product group from well-managed
forests and other controlled sources