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Raising global consciousness

Ivana Pelisek and Denis Vidmar | Interrobang | News | November 9th, 2009

To be a citizen means to contribute and participate.

On Thursday, October 29th 2009, the School of Language and Liberal Studies presented another speaker series that proved to be a huge success between the student body and faculty of Fanshawe College. The theme presented by Dr. Amanda Zavitz, also a Sociology Professor at Fanshawe, was entitled “From Me to We, Global Citizenship Defined.”

In the fast-paced society that we are a part of, where do we all fit in? What does it mean to be a global citizen? And is global citizenship important? These were just some of the questions asked and discussed during the presentation.

Like no other speaker series before, Zavitz presented with great knowledge and wit material which engaged audience members to speak about concerns we face in the world we live in.

During the presentation, Zavitz presented some staggering statistics from the global perspective that astounded the majority of the crowd.

Just over three billion of the world's population today lives on less than two dollars a day.

Twenty per cent of the world's population consumes 80 per cent of goods. In the United Kingdom alone, an average of 30-40 per cent of food never gets eaten and is usually thrown away, even though over 40 million people worldwide go hungry every day.

Just over 1.3 billion people have no access to clean drinking water, three billion have no sanitation access, and two billion have no electricity.

Zavitz also focused on the Canadian perspective, introducing and comparing statistics between the first-world Canada and the third-world Canada of the 21st Century.

She stressed the importance and meaning of our current situation, treatment, and ignorance of Aboriginal children, referring back to Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, a Canadian national hero who called the Canadian response to the issue of Aboriginal children “a national total disgrace.”

There are 2.2 billion children in the world, out of which one billion live in poverty.

In Canada alone, half the children waiting to be adopted are of Aboriginal decent, and according to a recent census, Aboriginal children make up five per cent of the Canadian population.

Zavitz said it is important to be aware of our surroundings and to understand that even though we live in a “free equal liberal democracy,” things are not what they seem. She claimed this is partly due to an individualistic society that focuses only on “me…me…me.” Our society is shown, mainly through media, that if one tries hard enough, one can achieve, when in truth one can ask, as Zavitz did, “Will Canada ever see an Aboriginal Prime Minister?”

When asked what should come out of this presentation, Zavitz said, “I want [students] to have a raised level of global consciousness and understand what's happening to other people around the globe.” Zavitz finished the presentation with a quote from Gandhi, “Be the change that you want to see in the world,” which is significant seeing that change begins with the individual and transpires to community, local then global.

The Social Science Speakers continues on Thursday, November 26th at 2pm in room D1060 at Fanshawe College, with Jim Stanford, presenting “Beyond the Crisis: Making Economics Work FOR Us, Instead of AGAINST Us.” Stanford is one of Canada's best-known economists. He works for the Canadian Auto Workers Union, Canada's largest private sector trade union, and writes a regular economics column for the Globe and Mail.
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