By Nichelle Lyster
How and why do we become involved in our communities and larger global issues? This is one among hundreds of questions that are being posed as local and global citizenship become ever more intertwined in today’s world. Organizations such as Global Citizen are addressing these questions, and have sparked my interest in the weighty topic of global citizenship.
Global Citizen bridges the worlds of music and civic engagement by awarding concert tickets to its volunteers. The organization provides opportunities to sign petitions, become engaged in their communities, and even contact world leaders about civic issues. By participating in these activities, members can win free tickets to performances by music artists affiliated with the organization. These artists include Tony Bennet, One Direction, My Morning Jacket, Florence + the Machine, Sam Smith, and the Alabama Shakes. The artists do not need to be involved with any cause to be associated with the program.
One of Global Citizen’s largest events is the Global Citizen Festival, a music festival held in New York City’s Central Park. 60,000 attendees, comprised of Academics, world and business leaders, and many others gathered and “called for action on the global goals.” This intersection of leaders and citizens could have the potential to foster massive global change, and even redefine music festival culture.
Additionally, Global Citizen partners with a number of NGOs such as Oxfam America, Unicef, Care, and Sustainable Health Enterprises (S.H.E) to further the work of its smaller organizations and help expand awareness and opportunities for volunteers. It is also associated with H&M, MSNBC, Youtube, Google, and other corporate partners.
It is interesting to consider the practices of Global Citizen’s partners and if they comply with or contradict the values presented by Global Citizen as an organization. Should Global Citizen accept support from successful organizations if any of their practices are not in line with its public goals? How much transparency is required to make it work?
Global Citizen excites me as a music lover who is deeply curious of how people will move forward as we gain greater access and proximity to one another. How do we approach daunting and devastating issues in a way that we can sustain and perhaps even enjoy? We are one world, but what does that mean and how do we enact it in real time? Perhaps it is defining for ourselves what it is to be a global citizen.