20 March 2019 • Arie Verhoef
“I’ll have to get used to this freedom”
The Speakers’ Corner slowly fills up for the kick-off of the Global Citizens Competence Programme. This programme allows students to work on their global citizenship during their studies, which is one of the focal areas of The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Participation does not earn you additional credits, but you do get a certificate.
THUAS wants all students, regardless of their study choice, to become global citizens. That is why the university of applied sciences has implemented the Global Citizens Competence Programme outside of the curriculum. Students are free to choose whether they want to participate in the programme. To participate, they must follow a few rules. They must report on three activities that are associated with global citizenship. Rajash, member of the Executive Board: “This is your programme. Once you have completed three activities and presented your report, you will receive your Global Citizens Competence Certificate.”
Just an image
Laurence Guérin, Global Citizenship lecturer, explains that global citizenship entails a certain responsibility for everyone involved. But how do you go about taking that responsibility? To illustrate the question, she shows a photograph of a sales person in a clothing store. He is wearing a T-shirt with the print: My generation will save the planet! It sounds lovely. But is that the best way to take responsibility as a global citizen? We hear a few shy replies, accompanied by audible question marks. With a few arguments, Laurence Guérin makes it clear that there are a lot of things wrong with this picture. “That t-shirt was certainly not produced sustainably. What does he mean ‘save the planet’? The sales person is only thinking about his image.”
So how do you take action to promote global citizenship? Deniz Dibooglu, a THUAS graduate, the 2018 winner of the ECHO Award and owner of the company Professional Poetry, asks the attendees of an unconventional mini-workshop to think about this. First he gives a short speech, which can be summarized with the following words: “Global Citizenship is the urge within oneself | To use all the knowledge of the books on your bookshelf | For a purpose that’s greater than yourself.” Then he invites everyone to write a line of poetry about global citizenship on a blank page. Then every two minutes, the page is passed on to another person who writes the next line of the poem. The results are astonishing. After the programme, Deniz shares: “I want to first and foremost create a positive impact. I want to motivate people to do good. That is the mission of Professional Poetry. The name of my company may be very specific to the form (poetry), but I am more interested in the content.”
After the workshop, students are very enthusiastic. Almost every participant signs up for the Global Citizens Competence Programme. “I am participating because I think it’s an excellent initiative of THUAS. It doesn’t require too much: only three activities and a presentation. I feel challenged to give meaning to global citizenship.” For some it still feels a bit uncomfortable. “I am very keen. But our curriculum tells us exactly what we have to do. Now I’ll have to get used to the freedom that the university is giving us here.”
Poetry workshop with Deniz Dibooglu.