For all ages!
(Submit your essay before Winter Carnival - read during the Carnival week!)
Submissions due by Wednesday, February 10th at 12pm to be entered in the contest! All essays submitted will be available to read below during the week of Winter Carnival, and the winner will be announced on Sunday, February 21. A panel will be selected to review the essays and select a winner. 500 words or less. Please email your submission, along with your age, and what town you are from, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prize sponsored by Mel's at 22!
The prompt: What does it mean to be a citizen of the world?
Winners of 2021 contests listed on the home page!
Being a citizen of the world means to be someone who has a wide understanding of the world and their place in it. This person takes an active role in their communities and works with others to make the world a better place for everyone living in it. The world is considered a complex web of connections and there is a strong reliance on one another to keep each other going. A citizen of the world knows that their choices and actions affect not only themselves but affects everyone around them, either locally, nationally, or internationally. Being taught how to be a citizen of the world is a big task, but it something that needs to be done. A citizen of the world has a lot of responsibilities and duties to accomplish, and the new generation of young people will make for the greatest global citizens ever seen.
There are many ways to be an effective citizen of the world and many qualities that one should have. A citizen of the world must be flexible, creative, and be proactive. These qualities can help them problem-solve effectively and help aid them to work better in groups, which is what the interconnected world utilizes to run smoothly. In a time like no other, being a citizen of the world is needed to overcome the hard times. It is not the first time in history that a pandemic has affected everyone, but it is most important now because it is some people’s first pandemic. Everyone in the world is affected by this time period in one way or another, so having a strong sense of community and the world is needed. A citizen of the world has to have a strong respect for diversity and be strongly against social injustice. For example, during the summer months, the Black Lives Matter protests were occurring across the country due to police brutality against black people. Many young people took action and charge and fought for what they believed in, which is social justice. The whole world came together around an issue that is very much present in the United States, but protests all over the globe showed that many global citizens exist to promote change.
The hardest part of being a citizen of the world is figuring out one’s role in it. You can have a role in being a citizen of the world with a big change or a small change. One small thing many people can do is keeping up on world news to be aware, and not just reading about their own country. Another small thing that a citizen of the world can do and must do is being culturally aware and inclusive of many different types of people. You cannot be a citizen of the world without being accepting of everyone, no matter their skin color or sexuality, or gender identity. We all coexist on a planet in space, and it is time to treat each other as one.
-Faith Logue, age 17
The definition of the word citizen is an inhabitant of a particular town or city. To be a citizen of the world, you have to respect the environment around you, accept all citizens no matter how they look, and inform the next generation on how to be a good world citizen. If you do not treat the world around you with care and do not teach the next citizens how to protect the earth, generations later, there might not be a planet for humans to live on. Being a world or global citizen means you must protect and respect not only the planet you live on but the people you share the planet with. Being a global citizen means that everyone deserves the same respect and rights. No matter if someone looks different then you, they still are a part of the human race, which means that they are citizens of the world. To take care of others and the earth, we have to work together, or else we are faced with challenges and teamwork issues. One person can make a difference, but a group of people can make a change. Looking back in history, no one person has been able to make a large change by themselves, and it took a team. George Washington did not just create the government we use today; it was a group effort made by many individuals who worked together. Martin Luther King Jr. did not just get rid of segregation by himself; it took a team of Civil rights leaders and many others. These are great examples of how it takes a collection of people to make an enormous difference or essential change. If you want to be a good citizen of the world, you need to keep these things in mind and always remember that being a citizen means you always have an essential role in life.
Name: Charlotte Feury
Town: Cooperstown, Ny
To be a citizen of the world means so many things. It could mean being kind, it could mean being civil, or it even could mean being deviant. I believe it means that you support your society, and even the whole world as a society. It means you contribute to the world. That you don’t make the world go further into ruin. That you prolong the end and make life for everything improved. Being anything that goes against progression to greater understanding and life, in my opinion, make you not a citizen of the world. I believe that makes you an enemy of the world.
While what helps society is debatable, that doesn't mean that what you think is right. Of course you have opinions, that doesn’t mean you should always act on them. Talk about it, think about it. Then come to a conclusion on what to do. Some say freedom is the way the world should work, however complete freedom leads to chaos. Some say that order is the way the world should work, however, complete order leads to uprising and again, chaos. The balance of chaos and order is needed to move society onward. Balancing this is very difficult so thinking about what you’re doing is always, always the thing to do.
Think about how it benefits the world, and how it benefits you. Think about what how the balcance is changed. Think about what happened before, and what will happen. Doing all this wil improve society. Thinking and balancing are the two most important things needed to be a citizen of the world, so make sure you do that.
A citizen of the world is a person who is especially conscious of the world around them, and acts thoughtfully and appropriately on current events to help improve the world. Beginning with the former, a citizen of the world is one who can take in outside information and think about it for themselves. For example, even if a news headline makes a wild claim, a citizen of the world is able to think about the factual events for themselves and achieve their own conclusion on the event. A world citizen uses their education to the best of their ability to widen their knowledge and perspectives on news events, and uses this education to think for themselves for the betterment of others. As well as developing their own opinions and views, a world citizen looks beyond their stream of personal biases, as they are able to accept and ponder differing views and opinions. A good world citizen is never short-tempered or quick to judge; they strive to hear all sides through, and only then continue on to their own conclusion.
As for the latter, a world citizen acts appropriately upon these conclusions made. A world citizen uses their voice and peaceful actions to be heard about and change important issues, and does this selflessly, with a root drive being to help others. As a world citizen is a citizen of the world, it is important for this person to look to help people beyond their own geographic location; otherwise, they are simply a citizen of their country, town, state, continent, etc. A citizen of the world is educated and thoughtful enough to cope with their personal struggles and continue with their efforts to better the world around them. Action is a huge part of being a good world citizen; as actions and words make the change to improve the lives of people globally.
In conclusion, a citizen of the world is one who strives to make the world a better place for all people. They execute this by following a simple pattern: education, listening, thinking, and action. Firstly, they use the best education available to them to learn about all views and perspectives. This does not just apply to education services such as school or college; this refers to education from a variety of news sources and journalists to gain multiple perspectives on a certain issue. Secondly, they listen. A world citizen is able to put aside their prejudices and personal biases to completely understand and hear the opposing side. Thirdly, they use their own mind to think about what their sources have said. They use their own thoughts, along with those of others, to create their own opinion of the event. Finally, they act. Using all of the knowledge they have gained from this process, they act on what they have learned to better the world around them. In short, a global citizen listens and acts thoughtfully and peacefully with a pure intent to help others around the world.
To be a citizen of the world could have many different meanings based on each individual’s own story. Some may say we don’t have a choice and to be a citizen is to simply exist in the world. But I view being a citizen as those who put effort into living a life for themselves, as well as the environment around them. You cannot simply be a resident of the world to be a citizen. There’s a groundhog that lives in my neighbor’s backyard that drives my dog crazy, but I don’t consider it to be a citizen of the town. Some people are also this way. They’re the ones who like to divide society into the views only bringing harm; the unrealistic body expectations, the inequality of race and gender, the intolerance of one’s identity. The idea drilled into our minds from a young age and practiced for centuries that suffering will always be normalized, and the pain of the world will not affect us, unless it’s our own. To be a citizen of this world is an understanding that that’s simply not true. It is an effort to prove this precedent wrong and to see most ways of suffering should not be normalized. It is an effort to help others through the mental scars life has given them. Gasoline meets a flame as violence is considered a solution. To be human, is to have empathy for others. If pain were to change nothing, the world would be a hollow place. The groundhog who views emotions as weakness, have also fallen into a hollow state of mind. To be a citizen is to live driven by a set of morals rather than desires. I have a desire to not do homework, but as a moral I value knowledge. So, my weeks are filled with aggressive sighs, as math does not magically become easier. Whoever created math was definitely going through a heartbreak. I do not exist simply to take up space and silently react to the events around me, a sense of direction prevents the mind from getting lost, even if I have no idea where I’m going. To have your own story you must live for you, to be human you must help others, and to be a citizen of the world, you must do both.
To me, being a citizen of the world is characterized by acceptance, open-mindedness, empathy and respect for all other people and cultures. I believe possessing the ability to appreciate other lifestyles and remain curious about the various groups of people around the world and how they live is an extremely important aspect of living as a world citizen.
As seen in most smaller communities such as Cooperstown, being open-minded is controversial. Diversity in itself is considered taboo, and is eventually churned out as a new gossip topic through town. The lack of exposure and acceptance of different lifestyles causes a rift between those with progressive and unchanging mindsets. Whereas being informed and familiar with concepts that may seem eccentric, initially, creates a promising foundation for positive change to be made. Overall, acceptance is achieved solely through the gain of knowledge.
Empathy towards other societies and countries, which is a concept that could be practiced in every corner of the world, could easily be normalized if one remained open-minded and made connections with people of different backgrounds; ideally those who would normally be pointed out in the community due to peripheral traits, such as race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity or personal beliefs. Taking steps towards neutrality between the two parties is a significant process that brings the people involved and others similar to them together.
Regardless of the context, respect of other customs and cultural groups is simply earned as a result of trying to reach a mutual understanding somewhere between the differing views. Direct exposure is irrelevant when referring to every country’s identity and historical background. If one demands respect for their country from another nation, then in order to not exhibit hypocrisy, it’s a given. Either way, respect demanded should be respect reciprocated. Political issues are also irrelevant, as not every citizen of each country has a direct voice in government. Individual people, or representatives of each nation do not share similar beliefs or goals as everyone else within the population.
To be worldly isn’t a concept completely reliant on travel or personal connections, but intention. In order to be considered a “world citizen”, you must be an international ally. The phobia of another way of life is an attack on the people who practice it, so don’t blame other people or cultures for your own discomfort, work towards familiarity and newfound knowledge. Not only will you grow as an individual, but also as a member of your community, and our world.