What does it mean to be a citizen of the world? | Hugh Evans

What does it mean to be a citizen of the world? | Hugh Evans

I want to introduce you
to an amazing woman. Her name is Davinia. Davinia was born in Jamaica,
emigrated to the US at the age of 18, and now lives just outside
of Washington, DC. She’s not a high-powered
political staffer, nor a lobbyist. She’d probably tell you
she’s quite unremarkable, but she’s having
the most remarkable impact. What’s incredible about Davinia is that she’s willing to spend
time every single week focused on people who are not her: people not her in her neighborhood,
her state, nor even in her country — people she’d likely never meet. Davinia’s impact started a few years ago when she reached out
to all of her friends on Facebook, and asked them to donate their pennies so she could fund girls’ education. She wasn’t expecting a huge response, but 700,000 pennies later, she’s now sent over 120 girls to school. When we spoke last week, she told me she’s become
a little infamous at the local bank every time she rocks up
with a shopping cart full of pennies. Now — Davinia is not alone. Far from it. She’s part of a growing movement. And there’s a name
for people like Davinia: global citizens. A global citizen is someone
who self-identifies first and foremost not as a member of a state,
a tribe or a nation, but as a member of the human race, and someone who is prepared
to act on that belief, to tackle our world’s greatest challenges. Our work is focused on finding, supporting and activating global citizens. They exist in every country and among every demographic. I want to make the case to you today that the world’s future depends
on global citizens. I’m convinced that if we had
more global citizens active in our world, then every single one
of the major challenges we face — from poverty, climate change,
gender inequality — these issues become solvable. They are ultimately global issues, and they can ultimately only be solved by global citizens demanding
global solutions from their leaders. Now, some people’s immediate
reaction to this idea is that it’s either a bit utopian
or even threatening. So I’d like to share with you
a little of my story today, how I ended up here, how it connects with Davinia and, hopefully, with you. Growing up in Melbourne, Australia, I was one of those seriously
irritating little kids that never, ever stopped asking, “Why?” You might have been one yourself. I used to ask my mum
the most annoying questions. I’d ask her questions like,
“Mum, why I can’t I dress up and play with puppets all day?” “Why do you want fries with that?” “What is a shrimp, and why do we have to keep
throwing them on the barbie?” (Laughter) “And mum — this haircut. Why?” (Laughter) The worst haircut, I think. Still terrible. As a “why” kid, I thought
I could change the world, and it was impossible
to convince me otherwise. And when I was 12
and in my first year of high school, I started raising money
for communities in the developing world. We were a really
enthusiastic group of kids, and we raised more money
than any other school in Australia. And so I was awarded the chance
to go to the Philippines to learn more. It was 1998. We were taken into a slum
in the outskirts of Manila. It was there I became friends
with Sonny Boy, who lived on what was literally
a pile of steaming garbage. “Smoky Mountain” was what they called it. But don’t let the romance
of that name fool you, because it was nothing more
than a rancid landfill that kids like Sonny Boy spent hours
rummaging through every single day to find something, anything of value. That night with Sonny Boy and his family
changed my life forever, because when it came time to go to sleep, we simply laid down on this concrete
slab the size of half my bedroom with myself, Sonny Boy,
and the rest of his family, seven of us in this long line, with the smell of rubbish all around us and cockroaches crawling all around. And I didn’t sleep a wink, but I lay awake thinking to myself, “Why should anyone have to live like this when I have so much? Why should Sonny Boy’s ability
to live out his dreams be determined by where he’s born, or what Warren Buffett called
‘the ovarian lottery?'” I just didn’t get it, and I needed to understand why. Now, I only later came to understand that the poverty I’d seen
in the Philippines was the result of decisions made
or not made, man-made, by a succession of colonial powers
and corrupt governments who had anything but the interests
of Sonny Boy at heart. Sure, they didn’t create Smoky Mountain,
but they may as well have. And if we’re to try to help
kids like Sonny Boy, it wouldn’t work just to try
to send him a few dollars or to try to clean up
the garbage dump on which he lived, because the core
of the problem lay elsewhere. And as I worked on community
development projects over the coming years trying to help build schools, train teachers, and tackle HIV and AIDS, I came to see that community development should be driven
by communities themselves, and that although charity is necessary,
it’s not sufficient. We need to confront these challenges on a global scale and in a systemic way. And the best thing I could do is try to mobilize a large group
of citizens back home to insist that our leaders engage
in that systemic change. That’s why, a few years later, I joined with a group of college friends in bringing the Make Poverty History
campaign to Australia. We had this dream of staging
this small concert around the time of the G20
with local Aussie artists, and it suddenly exploded one day when we got a phone call from Bono,
the Edge and Pearl Jam, who all agreed to headline our concert. I got a little bit excited
that day, as you can see. (Laughter) But to our amazement, the Australian government
heard our collective voices, and they agreed to double investment
into global health and development — an additional 6.2 billion dollars. It felt like — (Applause) It felt like this incredible validation. By rallying citizens together,
we helped persuade our government to do the unthinkable, and act to fix a problem
miles outside of our borders. But here’s the thing: it didn’t last. See, there was a change in government, and six years later, all that new money disappeared. What did we learn? We learned that one-off spikes
are not enough. We needed a sustainable movement, not one that is susceptible
to the fluctuating moods of a politician or the hint of an economic downturn. And it needed to happen everywhere; otherwise, every individual government
would have this built-in excuse mechanism that they couldn’t possibly carry
the burden of global action alone. And so this is what we embarked upon. And as we embarked upon
this challenge, we asked ourselves, how do we gain enough pressure
and build a broad enough army to win these fights for the long term? We could only think of one way. We needed to somehow turn
that short-term excitement of people involved with
the Make Poverty History campaign into long-term passion. It had to be part of their identity. So in 2012, we cofounded an organization
that had exactly that as its goal. And there was only one name for it: Global Citizen. But this is not about
any one organization. This is about citizens taking action. And research data tells us that of the total population
who even care about global issues, only 18 percent have done
anything about it. It’s not that people don’t want to act. It’s often that they don’t
know how to take action, or that they believe that their actions
will have no effect. So we had to somehow recruit
and activate millions of citizens in dozens of countries to put pressure on their leaders
to behave altruistically. And as we did so, we discovered
something really thrilling, that when you make
global citizenship your mission, you suddenly find yourself
with some extraordinary allies. See, extreme poverty isn’t the only issue
that’s fundamentally global. So, too, is climate change, human rights, gender equality, even conflict. We found ourselves shoulder to shoulder with people who are passionate about
targeting all these interrelated issues. But how did we actually
go about recruiting and engaging those global citizens? Well, we used the universal language: music. We launched the Global Citizen Festival in the heart of New York City
in Central Park, and we persuaded some of the world’s
biggest artists to participate. We made sure that
these festivals coincided with the UN General Assembly meeting, so that leaders who need
to hear our voices couldn’t possible ignore them. But there was a twist: you couldn’t buy a ticket. You had to earn it. You had to take action
on behalf of a global cause, and only once you’d done that
could you earn enough points to qualify. Activism is the currency. I had no interest in citizenship
purely as some sort of feel-good thing. For me, citizenship means you have to act,
and that’s what we required. And amazingly, it worked. Last year, more than 155,000 citizens
in the New York area alone earned enough points to qualify. Globally, we’ve now signed up citizens
in over 150 countries around the world. And last year, we signed up
more than 100,000 new members each and every week of the whole year. See, we don’t need to create
global citizens from nothing. We’re already everywhere. We just need to be organized and motivated to start acting. And this is where I believe
we can learn a lot from Davinia, who started taking action
as a global citizen back in 2012. Here’s what she did. It wasn’t rocket science. She started writing letters, emailing politicians’ offices. She volunteered her time
in her local community. That’s when she got active on social media and started to collect pennies — a lot of pennies. Now, maybe that doesn’t sound
like a lot to you. How will that achieve anything? Well, it achieved a lot
because she wasn’t alone. Her actions, alongside 142,000
other global citizens’, led the US government
to double their investment into Global Partnership for Education. And here’s Dr. Raj Shah, the head of USAID,
making that announcement. See, when thousands of global citizens
find inspiration from each other, it’s amazing to see
their collective power. Global citizens like Davinia
helped persuade the World Bank to boost their investment
into water and sanitation. Here’s the Bank’s president Jim Kim
announcing 15 billion dollars onstage at Global Citizen, and Prime Minister Modi of India
affirmed his commitment to put a toilet in every household
and school across India by 2019. Global citizens encouraged
by the late-night host Stephen Colbert launched a Twitter invasion on Norway. Erna Solberg, the country’s
Prime Minister, got the message, committing to double investment
into girls’ education. Global citizens together with Rotarians
called on the Canadian, UK, and Australian governments to boost their investment
into polio eradication. They got together and committed
665 million dollars. But despite all of this momentum, we face some huge challenges. See, you might be thinking to yourself, how can we possibly persuade world leaders to sustain a focus on global issues? Indeed, the powerful American
politician Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” That’s what always
got politicians elected: to seek, gain and hold onto power through the pursuit of local
or at very best national interests. I experienced this for the first time
when I was 21 years old. I took a meeting with a then-Australian Foreign Minister
who shall remain nameless — [Alexander Downer] (Laughter) And behind closed doors, I shared with him my passion
to end extreme poverty. I said, “Minister — Australia
has this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help achieve the Millennium
Development Goals. We can do this.” And he paused, looked down on me
with cold, dismissive eyes, and he said, “Hugh, no one gives a funk about foreign aid.” Except he didn’t use the word “funk.” He went on. He said we need to look after
our own backyard first. This is, I believe, outdated, even dangerous thinking. Or as my late grandfather would say, complete BS. Parochialism offers this false dichotomy because it pits the poor in one country
against the poor in another. It pretends we can isolate ourselves
and our nations from one another. The whole world is our backyard, and we ignore it at our peril. See, look what happened
when we ignored Rwanda, when we ignore Syria, when we ignore climate change. Political leaders ought to give a “funk” because the impact of climate change
and extreme poverty comes right to our shore. Now, global citizens —
they understand this. We live in a time that favors
the global citizen, in an age where every
single voice can be heard. See, do you remember when the Millennium Development Goals
were signed back in the year 2000? The most we could do in those days
was fire off a letter and wait for the next election. There was no social media. Today, billions of citizens
have more tools, more access to information, more capacity to influence
than ever before. Both the problems and the tools
to solve them are right before us. The world has changed, and those of us who look
beyond our borders are on the right side of history. So where are we? So we run this amazing festival, we’ve scored some big policy wins, and citizens are signing up
all over the world. But have we achieved our mission? No. We have such a long way to go. But this is the opportunity that I see. The concept of global citizenship, self-evident in its logic but until now
impractical in many ways, has coincided with this particular moment
in which we are privileged to live. We, as global citizens, now have a unique opportunity
to accelerate large-scale positive change around the world. So in the months and years ahead, global citizens will hold
world leaders accountable to ensure that the new Global Goals
for Sustainable Development are tracked and implemented. Global citizens will partner
with the world’s leading NGOs to end diseases like polio and malaria. Global citizens will sign up
in every corner of this globe, increasing the frequency, quality and impact of their actions. These dreams are within reach. Imagine an army of millions growing into tens of millions, connected, informed, engaged and unwilling to take no for an answer. Over all these years, I’ve tried to reconnect with Sonny Boy. Sadly, I’ve been unable to. We met long before social media, and his address has now
been relocated by the authorities, as often happens with slums. I’d love to sit down with him, wherever he is, and share with him how much the time
I spent on Smoky Mountain inspired me. Thanks to him and so many others, I came to understand the importance
of being part of a movement of people — the kids willing to look up
from their screens and out to the world, the global citizens. Global citizens who stand together, who ask the question “Why?,” who reject the naysayers, and embrace the amazing possibilities
of the world we share. I’m a global citizen. Are you? Thank you. (Applause)


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    Lina Beltrán

    One of the most inspiring TED Talks I have seen in a long time. Bless your soul & heart for starting such an incredible movement and initiative, this was the kind of positive energy and inspiration I needed for today.

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    Frank Conrad

    Uuuggghhhh, as far as im concerned, this isnt how the world works. The future does not depend on "global citizens." The myth that it isnt utopian is ABSOLUTELY REDICULOUS! The world does not work AS A SINGLE ENTITY TO ACCOMIDATE A SINGLE GROUP OF PEOPLE. THIS IS A MOVEMENT BY THE GLOBALISTS AND AN ATTEMPT TO PUSH THE NEW WORLD ORDER!!! ITS A PUSH BY THE RICH GLOBALISTS LIKE GEORGE SOROS PUSHING A GLOBALIST AGENDA! It is a radical view to think you arw a citizen of the world and you bave sovereignty in every nation on this world! There are three things i love: God, Country, and Guns! I expect it to stay that way…

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    wi wong

    Yes White Goyim. You must allow everybody to come to your country and take it over. Yes your kids will become a hated minority in the country your ancestors built but that's the price to pay for slavery, crusades and hatred of the colour of the skin. The white population is 11% of the world population, whites are the world minority.

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    DongJun Yoon

    I became a global citizen since when I visited Philippines at age of 12. I had hard time finding my identity, but now I surely can say that I am a global citizen, neither Korean nor an American

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    Theresa Murphy

    Many people without fan fare, such as I send van loads of books, pencils, shoes, medical supplies since 2004. People are willing to give when ask. I given echo cardiogram van loads to Sierra Leone and provide funds to build schools, Cote D'Ivore, Dominican republic, Cuba, Ghana and Haiti.i At 71 It is too difficult to lift. I want younger stronger people to take my place. I do not want 2016 be my last year to collect and send.

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    Joyful Anne

    dear Hugh, THANK YOU for being a very active dreamer. truth and LOVE always brings tears to my eyes and gratitude to my heart <3

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    Kevin Belcher

    global citizens, under a global government, with a global currency. . a prison planet with one overlord, the antichrist himself.

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    Excellent talk & theme. "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." ~ Universal House of Justice, Baha'i Faith

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    A Friendly Youtube Commenter

    Yes, I also agree that people need to be compassionate about everyone including the others from a far side of the world. But, why do we have to get rid of races, nationalities, and cultures to achieve that? Whether those changes are positive or negative, the variation in the world's cultural ideas and values is the factor that drives many changes on this planet to occur, not the other way of merging everyone's varying interests and values into a single global citizenship.

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    X Kai

    For some of us, helping people and using our hands to do better for the world is our ticket to true freedom, for others might is right is their freedom, and for the rest they will rot away complaining as is their predetermined destiny.

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    One of TED's Best Talks… “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” "The well-being of mankind, ‘its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established." ~ Baha’u’llah, Baha'i Faith more than a century ago

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    World Citizen

    We are all the world and the world is us. We will stand side by side as brothers and sisters. Humanity is my group; Human is my race.

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    N J

    ok so who is going to head this global world unity ? wake up fools. if globalism was so good for us then why are multinationals raking in huge profits now while countries and it's citizens go deeper into debt? globalism is little more than corralling people to control them easier than having sovereign countries with sovereign laws.

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    Meme Information and Reviews

    To all the people saying that this video is "globalist propaganda" or similar, while yes this is very idealistic and can seem impossible, the truth is that we have to at least attempt to do something. Issues like climate change will end up killing us if we don't. It may be true that there are some problems with this speech but overall, if we don't do anything at all towards the goals set for the global citizens, it won't be all that long until there is no globe to save.

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    Seven Physical Principles of Sam

    From my experience extent trama can stimulate nerolocgal growths. I'm recovering from several life theateng events my mom especially has it particularly ruff ask my old friend bill gates

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    Seven Physical Principles of Sam

    I'm a victom of intellectual homicide but I believe I might have been involved in your movement. Im challenged like some lierachure

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    Guy Montag

    I'd have no issue at all chaining this queer to a piss soaked basement floor and tearing out his tongue by it's roots. If you become a proponent of "globalism" you are going to die, it's that simple – we are going to war, there is nothing you can do to stop it.

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    you all dead if you go with one government. when our government and people in government want to kill you and don't like you you can't go to another country that you fit in , . your dead with one government . you cant escape the killers.  sovereign countries working together and good people traveling with rights is good .. one government will be the death of you . one group of bad people can rob and rape the world . nothing stopping evil people and corps to rob the world .  no government and sovereign people you win. can't have any government to be sovereign and not be killed off by globalists ..  no to world government ..  good for showing rights and helping my lawsuits.

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    government is not the answer .. countries with no government .. militia borders and any cop stations ..  sales taxes ,. that it . . global people not citizen . world free citizen if you use the word citizen your not free . not free to travel.  people have the right to travel not citizens . citizens have to ask feds and elite for permission . lol.

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    Tim Blackburn

    Global citizens, that sounds nice. UN agenda 2030 to force us all into smart cities where all of our smart devices will be on a smart grid, monitoring all of our data and charging us carbon taxes. And what's their solution to the "gender equality" program? Just eliminate gender altogether, along with natural breeding. New humans will be made in fish tanks using gene splicing thanks to cutting edge breeding programs. Sounds like a brave new world!

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    Darren Ouellette

    My Question Is "How has it PROGRESSED" this was in May 2016, it would be great to see something! I read one comment that it is not merely HOW MUCH MONEY HAS BEEN THROWN AT THE ISSUE/PROBLEM what are the actions or RESULTS. Only reason I saw this Video was because I am taking a class titled Global Society, it is sad to have seen the Kids living in that disgusting dump wish it was possible to help but, it is their governments fault too. How many of you remember the scandal of the Filipino president back in the 80's (Marcos) his wife had like 3000 pairs of shoes and a lot of expensive clothes. Will we have 1 Global President? Don't see that working personally. I do feel that there will be push for only a few types of currency maybe 3 to 6 forms, who knows.

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    frances gaia

    If GLOBAL CITIZENS want to help the world in a MAJOR way,
    they should help with the
    FREE ENERGY project. It's the
    Ambient Electromagnetic and
    Zero Point Energy State of vast
    amounts of Energy without any
    For information, contact Dr. Steven Greer, the Disclosure Project.


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    Tina Colby

    I know raising my daughter, I instilled in her values, respect, and courage. When possible help someone along the way, if u can not say anything good about someone, say nothing at all. Know what you are advertising…..as one does knowing or not. Anything of Value, is costly as it is Rare. Freedom is that but choose wisely, as some decisions, can be deadly. Encouraged her to be a leader, set example. Never treat or look down on another, as it does not Dictate your Worth, but the opposite. Choose your cross wisely. It is true, why buy the Cow if the Milk is Free. Like a guy said to me, "People could care less about how or what you know, untill they know how Much you Care" So True. Care as Love is a Verb tense, if it is REAL.

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    This a perversion of the word citizen. A citizen is a member of a state. There is , thankfully, no world state. Hopefully, there never will be.
    You can be an international compassionate humanitarian, but not a global citizen. If you really want to effect change, you have to do it state by state, where you actually are a citizen. It all starts with local involvement. Tip O'Neill was right. Now, if all you find are contrary politicians, you have a choice to keeping looking for one whose views do coincide with yours, become one yourself or give up.
    Globalism is a pernicious self defeating movement.

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    Jefferson Hakim

    thanks for inspiring me to more care with others. keep humble and loves the world mr evans. because the world is loves you already

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    Haris Diz

    We are all humans/people of this planet. Anyone calling themselves CITIZEN of any state/country has given up their sovereign rights and is a property of their corrupt federal government puppet masters. Wake up people!!!

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    Jacques Rudolph

    Try :







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    Donovan Norris

    My opinion on the matter of global citizens is this ,in order to be a global citizen you need a global governance .
    And the only way there could be a global governance is if the ruling class of the world's greediest people would have to be the ones to make it happen.
    And quite frankly look at what very little they have done to help impoverished people all around the world up to this point.
    A one world system is building as it is and I feel that you so called global citizens are being deceived into the ruling classes prison planet,simply the evil of a modern world.
    Just my opinion folks I hope im wrong but im afraid I'm right!

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    Alan Kuntz

    You are all free to give and help right now without the need of any type of politician or partisan politics get up off the couch and go get your money go to another country adopt a few people out the community somewhere else.if You're not doing that you're just talking out your rear ends. GIVE. Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for the world and do it, go do it yourself, don't wait for someone else to do it.

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    Melissa Pena

    Why does anyone have to go aboard? It’s like when Christians want to go on mission trips, there are people hurting and in need here. And all those celebrities and musical artists can donate money to people in need in their own country and community.. Persuaded the artists to participate?? They only exist because of the fans..

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    Connor O'Hare

    I believe that dismantling nation states won't liberate humanity, on the contrary. I believe that once there are no more competitive powers at play all political power will be centralized to a global elite. We have to accept that forcing everyone to get along at gun point is probably worse than having to mind each other's business

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    Iuliu s

    shut up liar earth is flat research flat earth wake up your under spelsl demons indoctriantion evil hearted ,repent in jesus earth is flat ,wake up to the truth they ar liars and deceivers there is no globa its all fake , earth is flat a realm a plane ,satan uses thyre mouths lisen and repend to jesus christ the son of god , if you dont have christ in you ,you ar death man walking you ar zombyes , you dont know how blind yo uar and deafth repent folow jesus .

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    Iuliu s

    i spit on your citycine if i gt the change yo ulairs have liad to the world ,you haev the resource to help your felow man but you use it for mind controll and lies of satanic agenda ,i will wipe all of you from the face of the earth when the time comes ,let the angel of god take the peace of the earth for you shall say peace but i say untu you satana and worshipers of satan war be brought down to you .

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    Martin Carstensen

    What a pile of self aggrandizing bullshit. This guy has no idea of what global citizenship actually is. Shaking my head so much it hurts…

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    MountainMan Jim

    Global citizen = stooge for International Marxism. The nation-state is the only entity which can guarantee freedom, nationalism is the force that backs the nation.

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    We share a world of one. Global Citizenship is the path to a world of equality

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    Kari Wurr

    Hugh Evans and Global Citizens have already achieved a lot. That's awesome. They do much for people far away, nur they are often unable to protect the people who attend their festivals. In Hamburg in 2017 People were mugged and attacked by the rioters who has come for the G-20 summit. In New York in 2018 a barrier fell and panic broke out. Hundreds lost their belongings, hundreds were severely injured. In Johsnnesburg in December last year festival goers after the venue were attacked, robbed, mugged, injured, some are still in hospital. What will happen in Berlin next week with the festival taking place near the Potsdamer Platz?
    In all these cases 'Global Citizen' didn't react. Concert goers are just not interesting for them.

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    Wandile Thenjwayo

    This was really just about telling us about all the good he's done for the world. The talk should've been named that, to be honest. (Rolling eyes)

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    Eric Louclair

    I am glad that global citizen is a good concept! But can we let china japan russia to have this idea?

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    michael morrison

    being a citizen of the world means you want a global oligarchy to run a world government with a giant serf class of the 99.9999999999% of people serving as slaves and prostitutes for the other 0.0000000001% of oligarchs. And the popularity of this idea is playing out with the nationalist populist wave sweeping the world as we speak.

    That's your "citizen of the world" discredited globalist ideology.

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    michael morrison

    charity starts at home. Any father who spends all his time taking care of strangers he'll never meet while allowing his own children to starve to death, would have child protective services take his children away. And rightfully so.

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    John Charles

    I, as in me, am NO FRIEND to this world. I AM a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

    1. From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2. You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. 3. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts. 4. You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do you think that the scripture said in vain, The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy? 6. But he gives more grace. Why he said, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

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    Fred Vanhees

    A global citizen is one of 5% out of a segment of 15% of the world population, who thinks that the remaining 10% of those 15% have to sacrifice their birthright on the altar of degeneracy and pathological altruism. Diversity is their strength.

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