World citizen

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World citizen has a variety of similar meanings, often referring to a person who disapproves of traditional geopolitical divisions derived from national citizenship. An early incarnation of this sentiment can be found in Diogenes of Sinope (c. 412 B.C.), the founding father of the Cynic movement in Ancient Greece. Of Diogenes it is said: "Asked where he came from, he answered: 'I am a citizen of the world (kosmopolitês)'".[1] This was a ground-breaking concept, because the broadest basis of social identity in Greece at that time was either the individual city-state or the Greeks (Hellenes) as a group. The Tamil poet Kaniyan Poongundran wrote in Purananuru, "To us all towns are one, all men our kin." In later years, political philosopher Thomas Paine would declare, "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren and to do good is my religion."[2]

Albert Einstein described himself as a world citizen and supported the idea throughout his life,[3] famously saying "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind."[4] World citizenship has been promoted by distinguished people including Garry Davis, who lived for 60 years as a citizen of no nation, only the world. Davis founded the World Service Authority in Washington, DC, which issues the World Passport (usually not considered a valid passport) to world citizens.[5] In 1956 Hugh J. Schonfield founded the Commonwealth of World Citizens, later known by its Esperanto name "Mondcivitan Republic", which also issued a world passport; it declined after the 1980s.

Bahá'í Faith[edit]

The Bahá'í Faith promotes the concept through its founder's proclamation (in the late 19th century) that "The Earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."[6] As a term defined by the Bahá'í International Community in a concept paper shared at the 1st session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, New York, U.S.A. on 14–25 June 1993.[7] "World citizenship begins with an acceptance of the oneness of the human family and the interconnectedness of the nations of 'the earth, our home.' While it encourages a sane and legitimate patriotism, it also insists upon a wider loyalty, a love of humanity as a whole. It does not, however, imply abandonment of legitimate loyalties, the suppression of cultural diversity, the abolition of national autonomy, nor the imposition of uniformity. Its hallmark is 'unity in diversity.' World citizenship encompasses the principles of social and economic justice, both within and between nations; non-adversarial decision making at all levels of society; equality of the sexes; racial, ethnic, national and religious harmony; and the willingness to sacrifice for the common good. Other facets of world citizenship—including the promotion of human honour and dignity, understanding, amity, co-operation, trustworthiness, compassion and the desire to serve—can be deduced from those already mentioned."[7]

Other uses[edit]

In a non-political definition, it has been suggested that a world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.[8]

In some scenarios, a savvy businessperson who has travelled the world would be able to use knowledge about resources and products found abroad to create business where value can be maximised.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Diogenes Laertius, "The Lives of Eminent Philosophers", Chapter VI, line 63.
  2. ^ Lloyd Albert Johnson (1 January 2004). A Toolbox for Humanity: More Than 9000 Years of Thought. Trafford Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-4120-0956-0. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Einstein - World Citizen, Erasing National Boundaries, American Museum of Natural History
  4. ^ Viereck, George Sylvester (26 October 1929), "What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck", The Saturday Evening Post: 117, retrieved on 7 November 2013
  5. ^ My Country Is the World By Garry Davis
  6. ^ Bahá'u'lláh (1994) [1873-92]. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 167. ISBN 0-87743-174-4. 
  7. ^ a b Bahá'í International Community (1993-06-14). "World Citizenship: A Global Ethic for Sustainable Development". 1st session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. New York, NY. 
  8. ^ "the utmost global citizen". Global Culture. 2007. 


  • Singh Jaiswal, Anjali (August 19, 2005). "Straight answers". The Times of India. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 

External links[edit]