What is Global Engagement and why does it matter?
I have pondered these two questions ever since they were introduced in my Fellowship for Global Engagement Class. Global Engagement means the act of not only knowing about events and issues facing the globe but also understanding these concepts and taking the initiative to analyze and think critically about how they are important overall to society. I believe that being globally engaged matters because it allows us to be connected to the world through our knowledge of global issues and the cultural differences that exist between us.
In class, we learned about the difference between Global Awareness and Global Engagement. Global Awareness consists of having an idea or a general sense of what is occurring around us. For example, I know that there is ongoing conflict in Syria right now that began in 2011. On the other hand, Global Engagement is when we take the initiative to try to comprehend and reflect on this newfound knowledge and discuss and share this new information with others to acknowledge its importance. So in the case of the conflict in Syria, in order for me to be Globally Engaged, I must try to discern what led to the start of the conflict and why it has continued with no end in sight for almost a decade. I could also try to learn who the key players involved in the conflict are and how the people of Syria are being affected by such violence. Lastly, I could try to figure out how the conflict in Syria could potentially be solved and how it is related to me. I am an American and my American interests are not directly affected by what is happening in that country; however, the atrocities being committed there is an issue that affects all of us Americans indirectly as human beings because other people’s human rights are being infringed upon. I could then continue with this process by expressing my feelings with others, which could help them in becoming globally engaged as well. I am currently in the process of doing everything that I listed here.
It is definitely not easy being globally engaged. Before I came to OU, I thought I knew everything about every place in the world because I stayed up to date with current events, but now after taking a class called Understanding the Global Community for my International Area Studies Major and for Global Engagement Fellows, I have come to recognize that I actually know very little. I am familiar with certain international topics, but I do not fully know the extent to which certain critical details are relevant to a narrative. I think that the best way to improve my interaction with the world is to alter how I go about staying informed. I must stay up to date but also absorb all the information that I am learning about at the same time.