Together, We Will Change the World!

by Cheryl L. Brenn, HOBY Chief International Programs Officer

This week two important, global events are occurring simultaneously. The 75th General Assembly of the United Nations and Global Goals Week. Both of these events are dramatically altered this year in the shadow of COVID-19, however, the work of both is more important than ever.

The United National Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the SDGs or Global Goals) is a set of independent, yet interconnected goals. These 17 goals, 169 targets, and 231 unique indicators were developed and adopted by 195 Countries, including the United States of America to set a vision for a world free of poverty, hunger, disease, and want. The SDG’s represent a universal agreement to raise the conditions of the world for everyone.

To achieve these goals, it is important to recognize our place as active global citizens. But what do we mean by “global citizen”? If you look in the dictionary, there is no steadfast definition of “global citizen” or “global citizenship”, but when you Google the terms, there is no shortage of ideas and concepts around global citizenship, however, I believe UNESCO explains it best:
“Global citizenship … refers more to a sense of belonging to a broader community and common humanity, promoting a ‘global gaze’ that links the local to the global and the national to the international.” (UNESCO Global Citizenship Education Topics and Learning Objectives)

In other words, global citizenship recognizes we are all connected through our shared humanity and our actions and behaviors not only impact ourselves and our immediate community but have a ripple effect to impact the larger world around us.

For the past several years, we’ve been discussing the global issues addressed by the Global Goals at HOBY’s World Leadership Congress, but in 2019, the HOBY Board of Trustees made an organizational commitment to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. We have formally integrated these goals into our leadership seminar curriculum, in alignment with the Social Change Model of Leadership. By 2021, all HOBY Leadership Seminars will introduce and take action on the Sustainable Development Goals component of social responsibility and citizenship. Educating students about the Goals, including how they can contribute to the advancement of the Goals and live sustainably, is a response to the Goals (See Goal 4.7).

Throughout this week, we’ll be sharing various SDGs and what actions you can take to support those goals. Additionally, HOBY will be highlighting the work of our community members as they address these goals throughout the year. If you are already doing the work of contributing to the Goals, share your story with HOBY here.

If you’re looking for ideas, here are some resources to get you started:

As active global citizens, HOBY ambassadors, alumni, and volunteers have been and will continue to be the catalyst to social change and achieving these Goals over the next decade.

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