Random Thoughts

What does it mean to be a Global Citizen?

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Cross Posted at Techlearning.com

I am in Bangkok, Thailand this week taking part in the 5th annual East Asia Regional Counsel of Overseas Schools (EARCOS) Teacher’s conference. Ian Jukes and Doug Johnson are here as well discussing the technology ideas with some 1700 international educators from around the region.

Today was the first day of the conference and I have to say it was one of the best opening keynotes to a conference I have been too. The keynote was from a student, that’s right a living, breathing student from one of the International Schools here in Bangkok. Last year, EARCOS started a new Global Citizenship Award and the 2006 recipient was our opening keynote this morning. Maia’s biography reads as follows:

Maia comes from Japan but has lived in many cities around the world, including Lagos, New York, and Vienna. She is currently a senior and IB Diploma Candidate at the International School Bangkok [but has also attended the United Nations International School, the American School in Japan, and Vienna International School]. Maia is fluent in English, Japanese, German, and French. She serves as Student Council President and has been active in local tsunami relief. Maia is heading to Harvard University in September, where she will study Political Science and Economics. She was ISB’s recipient of the EARCOS Global Citizenship Award in 2006.

Maia’s keynote was entitled “The New Atlantis;” here are the notes I took during her speech:

What is a global citizen?
A great question that really makes you think. What does it mean to be a global citizen?
A multinational student body does not make an international school.
Diversity is accompanied by unity.
Cultural unity can be born from laughter.
A global citizen travels in many different ways (What’s your way? How do you travel, make changes, and bring unity from diversity?).

I have been to conferences in the past where people ask where are the students? This conference is putting them center stage. What a great way to not only involve students in a conference, but also motivate 1700 educators into learning something new. Maia’s keynote lasted about 45 minutes and ended with a standing ovation.

We need to remember to involve our students, to keep them at the center of what we do. Her message was straight and true and brought home what education is all about…preparing students for their future.


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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Maia is an incredible student and more importantly an incredible person. As Rischard said in his keynote on the Global Issues Network, immediately following her speech, if only the whole world was full of Maia’s….

  2. Our times call not only for identifying global citizens but for creating value from their amazing understanding of the world. They may have better solutions to the problems that affect us as a society and Maia’s keynote is a clear demonstration of the wisdom that come from being open to the world.

  3. yall didn’t nswer the question so What does it mean to be a global citizen?

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