Introduction Editorial

The Practice of Global Citizenship

Global unity is our evolutionary destiny.

This is what we believe at Kosmos, and why we continue.

Kosmos has shared about Global Citizenship and Interspirituality for a long time. Even so, we felt we needed fresh perspectives. The rampant rise of nationalism, and increasingly pervasive messages of fear and separation that mark these times, requires a response. Some ideas in this edition are new, like liquid democracy and sacred diplomacy. Others have ancient roots: trance-based learning, the power of music to bridge divides, and ‘commoning.’

We also wanted to be clear about our words. We see globalization as the process of integrating economy, trade, and communications worldwide. In itself, it is neither good nor bad, although it has both positive and negative effects. Globalism, on the other hand, is an orientation that places the interests of the entire world above those of individual nations, and seeks to promote the more positive effects of globalization. We see nationalism as the mindset that exalts one nation above others and promotes its own culture and interests over those of others. Patriotism, however, is love for or devotion to one’s country. Therefore, it is entirely possible to be both a globalist and a patriot—since both derive from love and a worldview that is not limited to the political boundaries of one state.

We included several key documents we hold dear; among them are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The Earth Charter. They bear frequent re-reading. One of the things we asked along the way was, What about those among us who lack the conditions and resources to realize their fundamental human rights? Should we presume to call them global citizens?

What we realized is that global citizenship is not a set of ideas, or institutions; it is not a form of government or a philosophy. Global Citizenship is a practice—the practice of being human. No one can take it away.

Practice begins with noticing the wonders of Life around us—nature’s intricate interrelationships that make our existence possible. But it is also not looking away from the pain created by conflict and by climate change, the injustices of extreme disparity, the loss of species and entire ecosystems. The more we understand, the more inspired our practice becomes, as we work locally with a global heart,to care for our neighbors, our local waters and soils, to transform local economy and governance. Practicing consciously, we clear the shadows of our national, ethnic, and racial assumptions, and dedicate needed resources to international programs and initiatives that advance human rights, defend our planet, and build peace.

As Rev. Joni Carley says, “We are all global citizens.” Maybe we just need more practice. Joni was instrumental as an advising editor in connecting Kosmos to some of the brightest lights on our topic at the United Nations and beyond. We spent inspiring time together at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto where she introduced me to some of the contributors in this edition. She maintained lively dialogues, peer-reviewed essays, and was generous in many ways. Special thanks also to advising editors—David Bollier, Riane Eisler, Jonathan Granoff, Gayatri Naraine – and all our contributors. Their combined wisdom and service is immeasurable.

Yet, our thanks are not limited to those individual contributors. Their words, art, and activism reflect insights gleaned from spiritual leaders, indigenous youth, farmers, elders, displaced people—wisdom from many sources. Each of us is a continuation of those who teach us, and we continue in those we serve. Our deepest personal truths are shaped by ineffable moments of both grace and sorrow, by breath-taking mystery, by awe—and by loss. We take everything in, and if we are awake, we use it all, channeling it into work or service that benefits other beings. Many people, and some nations, are now waking up in that way. Just as we reach the point in the human story when some are saying, It’s too dark, it’s too late, a great river of light is gaining power and momentum.

It is never too late to practice our humanity. It is a gift of the Universe, shared by all.

It is never too late for Life.

May Light Prevail on Earth,
R. Fabian, Editor

About Rhonda Fabian

Rhonda Fabian is Editor of Kosmos Quarterly. She is an ordained member in the Order of Interbeing, an international Buddhist community founded by her teacher, Thích Nhất Hạnh. Rhonda is also a founding partner of Immediacy Learning, an educational media company that has impacted millions of learners worldwide.

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