You may wonder what one of the founders of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Kurt Hahn, has to do with this week’s theme of global citizenship. Hahn was a German educationalist who was once imprisoned in Nazi Germany before seeking refuge in Scotland. In the post-war years, he became a staunch believer in advocating unity, impressing on people the need to collaborate across borders if we are to realise humanity’s potential for co-existing peacefully as one global community. Certainly, this is a noble aim, and we must ask ourselves how we are contributing to make Hahn’s vision a reality.
As a school, our reach extends far beyond the limits of Guildford, and we are now part of a community that encompasses the Gulf and the Far East. Students at RGS schools in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, China and soon Oman, share the Learning Habits we endeavour to fulfil daily. First Form students discovered they have far more in common with their counterparts in Dubai than they first imagined when they engaged in conversations with them before half term.
It is this sense of a shared experience that is so essential to the idea of global citizenship: the ability to empathise with what someone else somewhere else in the world is facing will be ever more important as our lives become more and more interconnected.
The professional advantages of global citizenship are clear, but Hahn’s ambition was without a doubt altruistic in its aims and if ever we needed a timely reminder of the power of global citizenship, we need only to consider that as a school community we have collectively raised over £10,000 for the Turkey and Syria Earthquake appeal. It was heartening to watch news reports of so many countries offering assistance in the form of equipment and emergency personnel to help those affected by the disaster and it proved what can be achieved when we all consider ourselves to be members of a wider global community.
So, as we return to school, ask yourself in what ways you can help fulfil Hahn’s mission. How can you be a global citizen?
Mr Naishal Patel