Citizens of “Homeland Earth.” UNESCO on the Road to “Global Citizenship Education”: The Refugee Example

  • Werner WintersteinerEmail author


In our globalizing world, we can no longer consider ourselves exclusively citizens of a single nation, but must also see ourselves as citizens of the “Homeland Earth” (Morin 1999), as global citizens. It is only with this perspective that we will be able to face the challenge of globalization, as well as all the worldwide challenges that it entails, such as climate change, poverty, political violence, and the refugee problem. Moving toward the goal of global citizenship allows new political approaches but requires fundamental changes in human attitudes and civic behavior. Progress in this direction is thus critically dependent on education and public awareness.

Until 2015, there was no globally shared road map to prescribe how we should proceed. With the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2016–2030, specifically target 4.7, UNESCO, together with other partners, has created a new instrument to contribute to the necessary mind-set change through education.

This article discusses the multifaceted concept of global citizenship education (GCED) and examines UNESCO’s special responsibility with regard to education and public awareness for global citizenship, with special attention paid to the challenges posed by the migration and refugee issue.


Refugees Global citizenship education Causal responsibility Cosmopolitanism Critical thinking Decolonizing education Popular sovereignty 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KlagenfurtKlagenfurtAustria

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