Winning Essay

How many people can a person meet in their lifetime? I want to be given the opportunity to find out. There are over 7 billion people in the world. Global citizenship is not just about being 1 of 7 billion people; it is a way of thinking and becoming part of this vast sea of humanity. In my lifetime I want to understand the world, not only by travel,but also by fully embracing and 
experiencing the different cultures the world has to offer.I believe the first step to becoming a global citizen is having empathy. 
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines empathy as: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; this mean no judging people that are different but trying to understand the differences. 

It is my duty as a global citizen to first understand my culture and its history so that I can understand and become aware of my prejudices, feelings, traits and behaviors. I believe I reached the point in my life where I am able to accept people for who they are and find the positive in everyone including things that I do not personally understand.I will never forget Tracey Friley’s powerful words on the One Brown Girl’s first trip to the Virgin Islands, “You’re beautiful in your own way”. It took a couple of years to understand what 
she was trying to tell us but now I do. Everyone is different and the differences are always positive, it just depends on how we perceive the differences. By having this skill I can help others 
de-attach themselves from their personal views and understand how they can benefit from embracing everyone. Being able to see other people’s perspective helps me become not only a 
better global citizen but also it enables me to coach and teach my peers. 

I believe social justice and global citizenship goes hand in hand. I am an advocate for social justice because I believe that everyone is created equal regardless of the language they speak or the God they worship and I intend to show the world that the barriers that society put in place can be knocked down just as easily as the Berlin wall was knocked down. 

Finally, I believe global citizenship is learning about life in the short period that we are here by embracing our differences and enjoying all the new things that comes with our brothers and 
sisters throughout the world.