The pursuit of global citizenship

June 1, 2012
UNICEF Global Citizenship Fellows work to cultivate an American constituency whose empathy will stretch across the world and who care about international hardship as their own. The Global Citizenship Fellowship deploys eight fellows to eight regions in the U.S. to support a grassroots movement of community members who are passionate about UNICEF’s lifesaving work. As part of our fellowship, we work closely with high school and college UNICEF clubs to mobilize young people around issues affecting child survival and development. One particularly active and passionate young man, Winston Lee, is the president and founder of Valencia High School’s UNICEF Club.

Sarah Yun is a UNICEF Global Citizenship Fellow.

"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person."—Mother Teresa

The task of fostering ‘global citizenship’ is an elusive and often intangible one. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF defines a global citizen as “someone who understands global interdependence, respects and values diversity, has the ability to challenge injustice and inequities, and takes action in a way that is personally meaningful.” The goal of UNICEF Global Citizenship Fellows is to cultivate an American constituency whose empathy will stretch across the world and who care about international hardship as their own.

Winston Lee helps to set up at the Susan Bissell speaker event.

The Global Citizenship Fellowship deploys eight fellows to eight regions in the U.S. to support a grassroots movement of community members who are passionate about UNICEF’s lifesaving work. As part of our fellowship, we work closely with high school and college UNICEF clubs to mobilize young people around issues affecting child survival and development. Each one of these dedicated students defies the stereotype of the apathetic teenager by raising much needed funds and awareness for children in need. One particularly active and passionate young man is Winston Lee, the president and founder of Valencia High School’s UNICEF Club. Winston chose to job-shadow me on a day that included a speaker event with Susan Bissell, Chief of UNICEF Child Protection. Her speech on the devastating effects of child labor, child marriage, genital mutilation, and trafficking of children had a powerful effect on Winston. He vowed to share everything he learned with his club members and school and later wrote to me, “It was a truly amazing experience that I won't ever forget. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF and its staff has inspired me immensely… The U.S. Fund, and its work, is something that I hold dear to my heart, and I don't plan to leave it behind any time soon. I'll do all I can to help out as a current high school club president, and I'll be sure not to disappoint. ” The opportunity to foster the passion and knowledge of young activists has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my fellowship with USF. As Mother Theresa’s quote says, cultivating global citizens who care about the dignity and welfare of all people can start humbly, one person at a time. In fact, thanks to Winston, that task doesn’t seem quite so elusive, or intangible, anymore.