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Becoming a World Citizen – Part 4

In parts 1-3 of this series, I wrote about developing a “world perspective”, and how the learning of foreign languages and the experience of travelling or living in foreign cultures can help us dismantle or at least question the lenses through which we tend to view life. Keeping up with world news is another vital element in this pursuit.


But of course all that is happening within the frame of our own mind. When we’re lucky enough to be part of a global community like ProZ Pro Bono, there’s more that we can do to extend our knowledge: there are people from all four corners of the globe that we can interact with, ask questions of, and find out more about.



becoming a world citizen

We need to keep some key values in mind as we approach this. Perhaps the most important of these is respect. It’s absolutely fine to talk about differences between cultures, as long as we embrace those differences rather than judging them.


By all means ask how things are done, why they are done that way, and much more, as long as you are starting from a place of genuine curiosity and non-judgement. Dialogue is a key tool. Find out about each other, laugh together, discover other cultures and your own through the eyes of others.


I’ll never forget how astonished people in Bangladesh were about the existence of old people’s homes in the UK, or how utterly incomprehensible it was for my Chinese students that I didn’t want children. But rather than stand-offs, these are all opportunities for conversation, inquiry, humour, exploration, and breaking down more barriers. Even if my interlocutors were still pretty bemused at the end of my explanations, they at least had a new angle, just as I had through finding out more about their attitudes.


So intellectual curiosity and non-judgement are essential. As is being aware of what's happening in the world: keeping up with current affairs, being informed about the trouble spots, and maintaining a good level of international general knowledge. And yet you could argue that beyond all this inquiry and information, there’s another level: not of noticing, understanding, or tolerating difference, but of transcending it: where what is common between human beings strikes you as far more interesting than what separates them.


Picture yourself simply hanging out with people, forgetting about differences which are skin-deep or culture-deep. In this community, what we share in terms of professional and personal values is far greater than what makes us different. We’re all translators, we all want to get on and live happy lives, we all want more of what we like and less of what we dislike in life. The rest is superficial.


When you can sit in a room, or a virtual space, with people from all ages, genders, ethnicities, beliefs, cultures and religions, and simply be a person among other people, without prejudice or preconception, simply accepting everyone for who they are and enjoying your shared humanity, then you have finally become a world citizen.


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6 comentários


Silvia Marin
Silvia Marin
04 de abr.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, Andrew! I imagined myself in several situations you described and found it amusing. This last account, though, sums up everything in a beautiful way. Like Yuna already said, it feels like you can read our minds. Thank you!


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I absolutely loved the last sentence! The world would be a much better place if more people could see things that way, instead of just focusing on differences. "Enjoying our shared humanity"! The way you put into words things that I've been feeling deep down is amazing! Thank you!

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Yuna Guillamot
Yuna Guillamot
04 de abr.

That last paragraph! It's as if you were in my head. We are all human before all things. Meeting everyone on that premice is what allows us to put our alikeness before our differences.

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Andrew Morris
Andrew Morris
04 de abr.
Respondendo a

Haha. OK gone!

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