In every small group meeting, lunchtime roundtable, or classroom visit on Thursday, author and advocate Homa Tavangar answered questions focused on the question, “What does it mean to be a global citizen?”
The author of the widely acclaimed Growing Up Global: Raising Children to be at Home in the World, helps audiences from CEOs to kindergartners learn and thrive in a global context. For two days, she was at GPS with her simple message, “Be a friend to the whole human race.”
Global citizens, she said, make a difference in the world through their empathy for others, sincere questions, and use of social media for social good. “When you cross the imaginary line that separates you from another culture or person, new experiences open up for you,” she said. She encouraged the students to look locally for opportunities to make new friends and discover shared ideas and ideals.
In talks to CEO’s and primary school students, in the United States and the Middle East, she discovered that everyone uses the same words to define a friend: loyal, supportive, trusting, fun, honest. “People are seeking connections,” she said, and many people to whom she speaks see “consciousness of global citizenship as a moral imperative.”
Answering questions from the students about how to get started, she advised them first “to be aware of your own citizenship.” Ms. Tavangar described the beginning decades of the 21st century as “transformative,” and she challenged the girls to “pioneer innovation” and be change makers in their own community. “I love that you feel a responsibility to serve and want to come up with solutions to problems. Humility is an important quality when entering into a new culture, and there is an avalanche of connections to be made.”