Another Mishegas: Global Citizenship


  • Michael Woolf



Global citizen, Study abroad, Education abroad, International engagement, International education


This article presents an essay about the idea of the global citizen, which has accumulated around the work of international education professionals and practitioners. The propagation of this notion derives from, essentially, two sources: it is a recurrent claim made by study abroad programs and it is used also a means of self-description.The objective is to explore some of the assumptions behind the phrase which, ultimately, do a disservice to the credible aspirations embedded in international education. The phrase when used in a personal context usually describes someone who is, or who aspires to be, broad minded, intellectually engaged with other cultures, aware of the interdependence of nations, committed to tolerance and understanding of difference, and so on. That describes, I will argue, a good citizen. Shared beliefs in international values impose no rights or legal obligations. It is a voluntary, ethical assertion not a form of membership which is one necessary component of citizenship. The global adjective is obfuscation (or, as Leo Rosten might say, a mishegas).


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Author Biography

Michael Woolf

Michael Woolf, Ph.D., is Deputy President for Strategic Development at CAPA International Education. He has held leadership roles in international education for many years with, among others, FIE, CIEE and Syracuse University and helped develop programs in Africa, India, Australia, the U.K., Italy, and Ireland. He has written widely on international education and cultural studies. He serves on a number of advisory boards and is a member of the Board of Directors of The Forum on Education Abroad. 


See endnotes section for references.




How to Cite

Woolf, M. (2010). Another Mishegas: Global Citizenship. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 19(1), 47–60.

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