Global citizenship and cosmopolitanism share originality in the 4th century “kosmopolitēs” which refers being a global citizen, and have interested philosophers who describe them as an obligation and allegiance to the global community, being respectful to humanity, and being hospitable to those in need, their origin notwithstanding (Appiah, 13-14). The two concepts are related by globalization processes since global citizenship underscores our practical obligation towards fellow humans irrespective of their geographical location. On the other hand, cosmopolitanism refers the requisite skills, practices, and views that aid us when dealing with people of diverse cultures and environments, regardless of our relationship with them as kin or countrymen and also giving a valuable significance to human life. This paper is a persuasive narrative to show the importance of global citizenship and ethical cosmopolitanism by an analysis of a personal experience which enabled me to come to this consciousness.
My local church had jointly organized a youth conference which we were to travel to a neighboring country for a period of four days. Fast forward, on arrival at the conference center, we were welcomed and made comfortable. We were then asked to mingle with the rest of the youth from various places on earth. On the third day, one friend who was a native asked me one day to accompany to a nearby town. The commercial part of the center was a show of opulence and had me appreciating the magnificent infrastructure and the properties of the people in the town. However, I was to be disappointed as our excursion further deep into the town continued.
Moving further on, my friend took me to a desolate house in the outskirts of the town. I mistook it for a place which was a remnant of a bomb attack. “Hey sir, are you lost?” a young boy who suddenly appeared from the house behind us asked. I was tongue tied from what I saw. The boy was dressed in only a long and tattered t-shirt reaching some inches above his knees and nothing else. “No… we are just…” I muttered when I recovered from the shock before my friend chipped in and replied, “No, we are part of a youth conference around and we wanted to come by and see how this children’s home is faring on”.
My disappointment, contriteness, and compassion could not be hidden as my friend remarked about my facial expression. The young boy ushered us into the building and my eyes were filled with tears when many other children like him, and even younger to be alone played within the open. Only a woman, who seemed more or less like the children in the mode of dressing talked to us. All I could think of was leave every penny I had with them as she narrated how helpless she was with all the children with lack of funds to buy them food, clothing, and good beddings. My friend read my mind and quickly told her that we would bring our friends the next day to see how we would help. When we arrived at the conference building, I requested a special meeting with everyone present and explained the situation to detail and I was amazed at the reaction, some crying and pledging everything they had to help the home which we made the visit the next day.
Global citizen and cosmopolitanism truly taught me that it is a responsibility of every human being to help fellow human beings regardless of their location or relationship with them. The experience served as retrospection when we returned home that there are people elsewhere in the world who need help and maybe people around them may never help until outsiders remind them of the plight of their fellow beings. Hitherto, I have always engaged in communal work and have continuously maintained contact with the children’s home even after my report found them donors who chipped in to help them.