Today, the world is increasingly interconnected, and becoming a global citizen is an important and enriching task. Being a citizen of the world includes learning about geography, but it also implies being open-minded and valuing social, cultural, and ethnic diversity. Being global allows us to connect with other human beings, promote empathy, embrace differences, and contribute to creating a more united world.
In 2019, the United Nations Committee on Hospitality honored me with the World Citizen Award. At first, I found this award overwhelming. However, after deep reflection I understood that we can all be global citizens and that countless people are seeking out that experience. For this reason, I decided to write this article to share with you the key steps so that, like me, you too can become a citizen of the world:
1. Search for Inspiration
Global citizens are characterized by the fact that they are constantly inspired by other cultures and by their interest in discovering what the world has to offer. From a very young age, I always felt a deep desire to know what was beyond the borders that surrounded me. Maps and globes fascinated me, and the books my parents gave me about different African tribes aroused great curiosity in me.
If you really want to become a global citizen, I encourage you to be curious about the world around you and to look for sources of inspiration everywhere. I assure you that you will find that inspiration in the places you least imagine!
2. Educate yourself continuously
I am often asked how I started an international career and what it takes to become a global person, and my answer is always the same: through education. The pursuit of knowledge is the key to developing a broader understanding of the environment around us.
There are numerous educational platforms that offer courses on global markets, international trade, and cultural diversity, which, in addition to allowing us to acquire theoretical knowledge, give us the necessary tools to develop intercultural skills. Keep in mind that education helps us to understand what is really happening in the world.
Therefore, I invite you to invest in education, develop a curious spirit, and have an open mind. In this way, you will be able to enrich your perspective of the world. Don’t be afraid to look for new learning opportunities.
3. Explore culture through gastronomy
Without a doubt, the gastronomy of a country is a direct bridge to its culture and its people, serving as an expression of its identity. Through its cuisine, we not only learn about ingredients; we also learn about the history and traditions that define a nation.
Being a citizen of the world involves developing a sense of adventure, and that includes daring to explore the gastronomy of other countries. Remember; food is a universal language that transcends linguistic and cultural barriers.
I recommend that you give yourself the opportunity to experience the different culinary flavors of the world, whether by visiting an international restaurant or by immersing yourself in the fascinating experience of cooking a new dish at home.
4. Develop the habit of reading
How can we be global citizens if we don’t know the history of other cultures? Reading is a valuable tool that plays a fundamental role in the pursuit of knowledge. When we read about the culture of other countries, we immerse ourselves in their customs and traditions, thus strengthening our empathy.
One of the great advantages of developing the habit of reading is that it allows us to travel without leaving home. In my book “We All Have a Story to Tell”, I share experiences of how, when I was little, books invited me into worlds in which I was not alone. I also confess that I came to know about Africa through books, because it took me a while to visit my country of origin.
With this, the message I want to convey is simple but valuable: Delving into the history of other cultures through reading gives us an enriching perspective, allows us to develop genuine empathy, and leads us to embrace diversity.
5. Travel and live abroad
Traveling is a great way to understand the beauty and complexity of the world. Whether you decide to move to a new latitude or simply take a vacation in an unknown place, immerse yourself in the culture and connect with the local people so that you may understand their customs, their traditions, and their realities.
6. Create Enriching Connections in the World
If you want to become a global citizen, you must be willing to meet new people around the world.
Today, technology has been responsible for breaking down barriers and shortening distances. Through my experiences, I have made friends with people I have only communicated with online, and I have managed to establish links that have lasted over time. Such an experience enriches us because it allows us to create meaningful bonds that transcend borders.
7. Be a leader with a global conscience
A globally conscious leader understands the connections that exist between people, their cultures, and the challenges they face on a daily basis. At the same time, he is constantly looking out for the welfare of citizens regardless of their race or nationality. But how do we develop global leadership? There are many ways to do it, and here I will share some of the activities you can start doing today: Actively participate in projects addressing global issues; take part in international events and conferences that offer the opportunity to connect with world leaders; adopt sustainable practices in your environment, and of course, be willing to listen to and understand the history and reality of other cultures.
Remember that within each of us lies a potential global leader, capable of making a positive impact on the world.
8. Learn Languages to Foster Communication
By speaking different languages, we broaden our intellectual horizon. When we are able to connect through language with people from other countries and of cultures different from ours, we develop more easily in different scenarios and this opens the doors to new opportunities.
Being a global citizen crosses physical and cultural boundaries. I can assure you that it is not an easy task, but it is a journey of self-discovery that allows us to meet wonderful people, learn about different places and cultures, and come to appreciate diversity. Keep in mind that respecting, accepting, and understanding others without judging will make you a true global citizen!
If you want to learn more about how to adopt a global perspective and build meaningful relationships with people from all over the world, I invite you to follow my journey on social media so that together we can embark on this journey of growth and discovery. I will wait for you!