Students in a 4th year Cultural Studies and English seminar have produced a Study of the Global Citizen Kelowna initiative.
Shaped by course readings on humanitarianism, the students analyzed specific components of the local global education initiative, as well as the way the initiative conceives of global citizenship education. The students characterize the Global Citizen Kelowna initiative as a form of ‘soft’ global citizenship, as it focuses only on global citizenship as a form of providing aid to the so-called ‘developing’ world.
The initiative does not provide opportunities for participants to explore the complex inter-connections among people in the world. Instead, it focuses on ‘empowering’ Kelowna children and youth to ‘make a difference’ by providing support for development NGOs working in the Global South.
Specific aspects of the initiative, such as the simulated ‘slum’ activity and the Global School House, present people in the Global South in simplistic and degrading ways, reinforcing long-established stereotypes of the Canadian ‘saviour” and the ‘helpless’ African ‘in need’.
The Study analyzes the Global Citizen Kelowna initiative in the context of global citizenship education and debates regarding the best ways to alleviate poverty. The students provide a variety of recommendations that they hope will make the initiative more ‘critical’.
The Study was launched in January at an AlterKnowledge Discussion event at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art which was attended by nearly fifty people. Students Astri Jack, Francine Lingad, Lauren Richardson, and Samantha Steenwyk presented key elements of the Study.
The project is the product of course-work in CULT/ENGL 437A Postcolonial Studies (Topic: Humanitarian narrative), taught by David Jefferess, Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and English.
A copy of the Global Citizen Study can be found on our web site.
Click here for more information about the Cultural Studies program.