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How multilingual ability can foster global citizenship and cultural understanding?


Abstract—- Global Citizenship involves many aspects, such as exchange of freedoms of rights, carrying responsibility, patriotism, cultural understanding and so on, among which multilingual ability plays an important role. This paper intends to explore the role that multilingual ability can play in fostering global citizenship and cultural understanding on the basis of introducing different definitions and contexts reflection.

Index Terms— global citizenship, cultural understanding, multilingual ability


The thematic of global citizenship and cultural understanding has been gaining popularity in recent years, either at national level or in many youth advocacy forums such as United Nations General Assembly, African Union Youth Forum, Asian Pacific Youth Summit and European Youth Day as Well. However, global citizenship notion is not formed overnight. It involves a specific process, during which personal projects, advocacy, creativity, positive outcomes and actions all contributed to a global impact taking in account comprehension of cultural diversity.

When we introduce multilingual to the notion of global citizenship, we must take into consideration not only the cultural identity of the citizen, but also the impact and asset of speaking more than one language can bring to its work. Just like Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Remarks to the 2010 Young Atlanticist Summit, 20 November 2010) said « You have to take ownership and leadership of tomorrow. For that to be possible, you have to strengthen your capacity and widen your vision as a global citizen. »


Different youth institutions seek to define global citizenship from different point of view in order to answer the questions encountered their own fields, and to support their own ideas and theories.

Ideas for Global Citizenship, when focusing on content in “global citizenship” thought “it is a way of living that recognizes our world is an increasingly complex web of connections and interdependencies. One in which our choices and actions may have repercussions for people and communities locally, nationally or internationally”. They further pointed out, “in other words, Global citizenship nurtures personal respect and respect for others, wherever they live. It encourages individuals to think deeply and critically about what is equitable and just, and what will minimize harm to our planet. Exploring global citizenship themes help learners grow more confident in standing up for their beliefs, and more skilled in evaluating the ethics and impact of their decisions.

When Open Democracy UK was studying the concept of being a global citizen, they took “global citizenship” into consideration as well. In his definition, global citizenship is based on two assumptions:

  1. There is such a thing as an emerging world community to which people can identify
  2. That such a community has a nascent set of values and practices.

They refer a global citizen to someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.

According to OXFAM definition, global citizenship linked to education helps enable young people to develop the core competencies which allow them to actively engage with the world, and help to make it a more just and sustainable place.

With these definitions, we deduced that global citizenship build citizens capacities in becoming active agent of transformation in their communities. Individuals address specific issues by making concrete actions for concrete results.


Cultural understanding can be seen as the bedrock of communication and it takes into account reaching and stays aware of global civilizations starting from our cultural values, beliefs and acquirements.  Discussing with people from another country another area of the world helps one to recognize the differences in each culture and lifestyle.

In April 2015, I took part in the Global Citizenship Education Workshop organized by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) and the United Nations Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) held in Busan, South Korea. During the workshop, participants were drowned from different part of the world. For the one week spent in Busan, we experienced a unique moment. Here is my own description of cultural understands:

  • It allows you to interpret and evaluate things in a different ways
  • In my country, you can huge your friend and give her or him a kiss when he is feeling bad or is in a sad moment but in some cultures, it means another think like example you fall in love with that person so it can cause misunderstandings
  • We had a cultural night during the workshop and I noticed firstly the traditional clothes of each country were different; secondly the greetings were totally different that means in a formal occasion people behavior on a cultural aspect change.
  • The music, foods, lifestyles were totally different

What was exciting is that this gathering allows us to realize the impact our culture have on our life. No matter the difference of cultural background, we shared a commune goal of making the world a better place and we noticed an interconnection within our actions, achievements and wishes. Cultural understanding helps ones to go against racism and discrimination because common values, principles and beliefs are shared.


According to different circumstances mentioned in the above definitions, I would like to divide the reflections starting from my personal, academic, and cultural to the national context.

  1. Personal Context

Personal context refers to my opinions on global citizenship and cultural understanding.  Take the word “citizen” as an example. It states the membership of a person to a specific society. We can’t understand the exact meaning of the compound words Global Citizenship without the clear explanation of what global citizen is and how it is linked to cultural understanding. Being a global citizen makes you become the voice of the voiceless and a change maker. Your actions impact and transform lives. You fight important issues and the difference in your culture with others gives you awareness of the uniqueness of humanity and how we are interconnected all over the world.


  1. Academic Context

Being a student in another country helps you to understand their educational career life and how you could transcend and implement the knowledge within your own country of membership. Global citizenship and cultural understanding helps you to have mutual respect, notion on civic commitments, be ready to accept diversity and have good approach to it.

  1. Cultural Context

On the cultural context, global citizenship allows be member of an interconnected world and be aware that your local actions can have global impact. You’re not only a patrimony of humanity, you’re also a founder of values, principles and lifestyle someone in another part of the world can take like a role model. On the cultural aspect, it allows you to appreciate the uniqueness of your culture and realize on which scale you are linked to others culture.

  1. National Context

On the national context, global citizenship and cultural understanding give you tools and more confidence to lobby, influence policy and decision-makers. Ones can use global frameworks for advocacy, campaigns and mobilization entering in line with global citizenship notion. We then realize that everything happens between our vision and our values. Finally, you have the means and strategies to build alliances and partnerships and to use communication actors as your allies.


As we can see, multilingual ability plays a very important role in fostering global citizenship and cultural understanding. Let’s try to generalize its role as follows.

  1. Understanding Cultural References

Cultural references are related to arts in their original form. Being multilingual helps one to appreciate a work of art in its original form. It allows acquiring knowledge and information towards cultural understanding.


  1. Appreciation of Things in Another Aspect

The way things are seen in a person native society can be different to others society. Speaking more than one lingual not only makes to be a global person, it also allows you to value the lifestyle of others and helps you have a broad mind and approach than a monolingual person.

  1. Connection with other Civilizations

Having parents of different nationalities make you a person belonging to two societies, two families, two beliefs, two heritage, two histories and two families but one Humanity. It allows you to be connected to other lifestyle and shared common values and principles with them.

  1. Interaction with People of different Nationalities

Your discussions with people in their own language have a deep sense and it allows you to be connected with them. You are able to learn, build relationships, partners, and entertain with them at any time. It fosters global citizenship and cultural understanding.

  1. Break cultural barriers and build bridge in a globalized world

Being a multilingual person allows ones to avoid misconceptions. Not only you have many opportunities, people can also trust you because you belong to their circle and you go beyond expectations by breaking cultural barriers and stereotypes.


We have talked about global citizenship and cultural understanding, reflections from different contexts, and role of multilingual ability in fostering these. In a word, multilingual ability plays a very important role in global citizenship and cultural understanding. Global citizenship and multilingual ability are in close relationship: global citizenship elaborates on the environmental specific actions and the multilingual ability allows be connected on a global scale by involving cultural understanding. The knowledge of multilingual ability is a premise of the global citizenship notion.







Information for YOUNGO



18 – 25 February 2013: Scholarship to take part in Wenchi, Ghana to the GlobalEntrepreneurship Training organized in partnership with UNITWIN, Handong Global University and the Methodist University of Ghana.

13-17 September 2014: Benin Youth Representative at the African Union Summit on silencing theGuns in Africa, Democracy and Governance Trends, Nairobi – Kenya

14-16 November 2014: FEMNET Delegate at the UN women Summit held in Ethiopia, UNECA on Africa CSOs Review Meeting on Beijing+20

4 – 7 March : Youth Delegate at the 8th Pan African Congress, 2015 / Accra InternationalConference Centre, Ghana

August 2015: Second International Tax Justice Academy (Tax Justice Network Africa, Machakos County, Kenya)

April 2015: Global Youth Advocacy Workshop on Global Citizenship Education, Busan, SouthKorea

February 2015 : Certificate of Gender-sensitive Governance Course Towards creating an enablingenvironment for gender equality and women empowerment (Certificate jointly presented by the Voices for Change, Nigeria program and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

4-8 December 2015: Benin CSO Representative during the Youth Forum and the 4th High level dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa, Kigali, Rwanda.


17 – 18 January 2016: The 27th GIMAC,Looking towards 2020, Securing Women’s Rightsthrough Gender Equality and Silencing the Guns in Africa, UNECA, Ethiopia

19 – 20 January 2016: The 8th African Union Gender Pre-Summit on 2016 African Year ofHuman Rights, With Particular Focus on Women Rights, African Union, Ethiopia

21 January 2016: The African Ministerial Pre-Consultative Meeting on the Commission on theStatus of Women 60th Session (CSW60) Women’s Empowerment and its Link to Sustainable Development on the theme “Towards the realization of the 2030 for Sustainable Development andAgenda 2063”, UNECA, Ethiopia

23 – 26 November 2016: Blogger and Reporter during The Fifth Annual High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects, Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania

08 – 11 August: Blogger and Reporter during Gender Responsive Story Telling and Documenting Stories of Success and follow-up practical engagement, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania


Governance and Youth Empowerment!!!

Africa’s youth account For more than 60℅ of the continents population.
This is a huge resource if adequately harnessed for ensuring meaningful participation, representation and observance of human rights on the continent.
However, the challenge remains the limited participation of this huge resource in formal political processes and insufficient enjoyment of their rights.
This challenge often leads to disenfranchisement and frustrations which if not adequately addresses threatens social cohesion, peace and security of the society to expand thier capabilities..
Harnessing the Demographic Dividend on the continent requires investments in ensuring participatory, representative and inclusive political processes as well as responsive state institutions.
The young people must be involved in local, national and regional policy implementation in addition to socio-political attitude changes are capable of providing the foundation door unleashing the creative potentials of an increasingly educated and ensuring greater access For young people to effectively engage and participate in local Government, legislatures, Judiciary and political parties will significantly accelerate the attainment of the goals of the African Union agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 respectively.
In laying the foundation for harnessing the Demographic Dividend and propelling transformative development of AU Member states, investments must be made in continuously opening the political space, upholding rights, ensuring participatory Governance and empowering African Youth.
In accelerating the implementation of these commitments, the young people need to engage the leadership of the African Union commission AUC, Government, and policy institutions needed to harness the Demographic Dividend for the attainment of the agenda 2063 and the 2030 sustainable development goals.
The keys and Deliverable Plan of actions requires the following strategic engagement;
1) Ensuring the universal ratification, domestication and full implementation of all Union sheared Values instruments including the African Youth Charter (AYC) and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) by all member state of the African Union by the end of 2017.
2) Eliminate barriers to active participation of youth in nation building including in political spaces and put in place mechanism to facilitate thier meaningful participation in political parties, Parliaments, judiciary, cabinets, and civil service structure of member states..
3) Remove all discriminatory laws and limitation to full participation of youth people in electoral process through inclusive electoral laws and Constitutions for which Foster’s effective diversity management. #NotToYoungToRun
4) strengthen independent youth formations Networks and organizations including establishment of independent youth commission’s at national and sub-regional levels to champion youth activities.
5) strengthen AU’s institutional structure and delivery capacity for youth empowerment and development through the elevation of the youth division to a Directorate.
6) Appoint an AU special Envoy on youth to lead Advocacy and champion the prioritization of youth issues within continental and other decision making spaces.
7) Ensure the implementation of various decisions of AU Assembly of Heads of States on youth leadership and participation in decision making processes, in this vein, efforts must be put in place to establish an annual Youth Parliament and a model African Union assembly at the continental level.
In order to achieve this, and making it the African we want, the youth must continue to unite, organize and engage through active participation, getting involved, taking decisions and getting results.
Remember « No Future For Us Without Us »
Viva All Youth Revolutionaries!!!!
Okonkwo Collins

It is time to invest in Youth by Okonkwo Collins

With over 60% of Africa’s population currently is occupied by the the young people looking at the Demographic statistics, it is no surprise that at the dawn of implementation of the both Agenda 2063  » African We Want »  and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, African Heads of State and Government have devoted this year 2017 to « Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investment in Youth ».
In my views, the Young people have the task of pursuing this theme of the year with specific reference to achieving the envisioned Agenda 2063 specifically.
We must stratify our core objectives of the theme from Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investment in Youth from Theoretical statement to Practical action vis-avis breaking it into structures for easier achievement, this is dependent on our approach to extent  which we are able to develop the road  map with specific key objectives on this areas;
1) Quality,  Functional Education and Skill Development.
2)Health and Well-being of the citizens,
3) Empowerment as well as employment and entrepreneurship which lies at the heart of this March towards progress, sustainable peace and development e.t.c.
In my analysis from the future, I highlighted the significant role that successive generations of youth can and should play in our Continent’s development.
Key investment in the youth of Africa today is critical to actualization of Agenda 2063 and  elevating Africa to be strong and influential global player.
The roadmap sets out the immediate actions for focused and expanded investments in Africa’s youngest men and women.
I hope this road map is developed at the request of African Union Heads of State and Government to further highlight the key and actions that must be taken so that the continent can harness the Demographic Dividend.
It is my believe that the Youths at the country, sub-region and the at the continental levels including Government and civil society organizations and all organs rally together to implement this agenda which will strengthen the African Union Commission policies as road map to the African We Want.
Viva to all African Youth Revolutionaries!!!!

Key Decisions of the AU Summit


(Non-official Summary)

The 28th African Union (AU) summit held in Addis Ababa on30-31st January was a historical one given the landmark decisions adopted, including the admission of Morocco into the Union anda deep reform of the continental body. The summit also renewed the leadership of the AUC and took stepstowards financial independence of the Union. Albeit the lack of strong country/context related decisions on Peace and Security issues, the Assembly adopted the Master Plan towards Silencing the Guns by 2020. Finally, the summit adopted the so called ‘collective withdrawal strategy’, a misnomer of a document which provides member states with a roadmap for eventual individual withdrawal from the ICC in case AU’s claims and proposals regarding the court and some of its on-going operations are not taken in consideration.


The Summit;

  • Took note of the recommendations for the proposed reforms to further strengthen the African Union, in the…

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Excellent Weekend

– Etre un leader, c’est vivre au quotidien les évènements inoubliables où l’expérience démontrera sa suprématie sur l’intuition. John GBENAGNON

– L’éducation m’a permis d’avoir la conscience nette que ma pensée avec beaucoup d’exercices pouvait m’ouvrit la porte du réservoir où réside la clé du développement. John GBENAGNON

– Il suffit de rencontrer la bonne personne pour que votre destin soit une bénédiction pour l’univers et que vous devenez un patrimoine de la planète. John GBENAGNON

– Chaque évènement de la vie marque la fin d’une génération ayant vécue dans une époque à caractère heureux ou malheureux, leurs descendants auront à écrire leurs propres histoires qui auront une metamorphose dans la culture de leurs ancêtres. John GBENAGNON

– Le plus grand bienfait que Dieu a fait pour les hommes est qu’il ne les a pas dotés de la faculté de lire dans les pensées de leurs prochains sinon le feu aurait déjà embrasé tout les arbres de la forêt. John GBENAGNON

– Certains souvenirs du passé ne s’effacent pas mais partent résider dans notre subconscient, ces derniers contribueront à forger notre caractère afin que nous nous rendons compte que ce monde n’est qu’une voile. John GBENAGNON

– Pour être un bon leader, il faut avoir le courage, la vision, la vigueur et enfin rester un homme humble. John GBENAGNON

– Avoir le talent c’est bien mais un talent sans travail est semblable à une maison sans fondation. John GBENAGNON

– Pour gagner le cœur de la jeunesse, il faut retourner à ses amours d’enfance. John GBENAGNON

– En Afrique, pour aller vers la politique il faut être préparé psychologiquement et s’attendre à tout. John GBENAGNON

– Pour changer le monde, il est important de revoir sa fondation car tout changement ne peut être établi sur l’argile. John GBENAGNON

– Le chemin le plus rapide pour aller au royaume de l’échec est d’emprunter le chemin de l’ignorance. John GBENAGNON

– La simplicité est la clé la plus efficace pour gagner le cœur du peuple. John GBENAGNON

– Pour gagner le respect de la jeunesse, il faut être roi et apporté de nouvelles perspectives dans la discipline où la jeunesse se trouve la plus concernée. John GBENAGNON

– Pour rassembler la jeunesse autour d’un objectif commun, il faut créer un enjeu où la passion restera mère de toutes les âmes. John GBENAGNON

– Pour intimider l’adversaire et le mettre dans une position où sa peur l’amènera au gouffre de la détresse, il faut juste instaurer l’incertitude dans ses pensées et créer le doute dans son esprit. John GBENAGNON

– La nature est la créature la plus formidable que le créateur ait mis au service des humains. John GBENAGNON

– Qui parle d’homme parle de femme, qui parle de jeunesse parle de vieillesse, qui parle de lumière parle de ténèbre, qui parle de société parle d’humanité mais tout ceci est lié par une seule chose qui est l’amour. John GBENAGNON

– La beauté est l’arme la plus redoutable que l’on peut utiliser pour avoir de la nature tout ce que l’on désire. John GBENAGNON