Eighth Karunungan Festival: Global Citizenship Education

Since 2013, the Karunungan (Wisdom) Festival has become the SHS Committee’s flagship project to commemorate the National Teachers’ Month (September to October). Targeting school teachers and students, Karunungan endeavours to bring new knowledge and expertise from the social and human sciences to enrich learning content and improve the quality of teaching.

In partnership with the National Museum of the Philippines and the National Teachers’ Month Coordinating Council, this year’s (8th) Karunungan Festival was held on 6 September 2014 at the PAGCOR Room of the Museum of the Filipino People. Over a hundred participants, composed of school administrators and educators, pre-service teachers, and students, attended the Festival.

Global Citizenship Agenda

            Global Citizenship Education was chosen as the 2014 Karunungan theme in keeping with UNESCO’s current thrust of developing among today’s students a sense of oneness with humanity and Planet Earth, and hence, also the notion of “citizenship” beyond one’s own homeland or national borders. Global Citizenship Education has emerged as an important topic in international development discourse. The Global Education First Initiative, launched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2012, identifies “fostering global citizenship” as comprising a program priority area.

Dr. Bae Kidong, Chairman of APCEIU Governing Board, delivers the Festival’s keynote address.

A panel composed of the organizers’ representatives (L-R): Mr. Angel Bautista, Acting Assistant Director of the National Museum; Dr. Virginia Miralao, Secretary-General of NatCom; Dr. Bae Ki Dong, Chair of APCEIU Governing Board; and Dr. Cynthia Bautista, Chairperson of NatCom’s SHS Committee address questions from the audience.

The Festival’s keynote address was delivered by Dr. Bae Kidong, Professor of Hanyang University and Chairman of the Governing Board of the Asia Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), a UNESCO Category II Centre based in Seoul, South Korea. He underscored that Global Citizenship Education should be strengthened in light of the emergence of issues that can no longer be treated nationally/domestically. He made special mention of climate change (which he referred to as the defining issue of the 21st century) as requiring local action and a global perspective engendered by global citizenship education. Dr. Cynthia Bautista, Chairperson of NatCom SHS Committee and Commissioner, Commission on Higher Education and Mr. Angel Bautista, Acting Assistant Director of the National Museum, welcomed the participants and opened the event. Dr. Elizabeth Enriquez, Professor, UP College of Mass Communication chaired the sessions.

 

Multiplicity of Definition of Global Citizenship

The 8th Karunungan Festival served as a platform for meaningful contestations among various views of Global Citizenship and the approaches to use in teaching this topic. Three young speakers were invited to expound on their understanding of Global Citizenship, including Mr. Julio Amador, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs- Foreign Service Institute and a scholar of International Relations; Dr. Aries Arugay, Assistant Professor of UP Political Science and 2012 Awardee of Georgia State University’s International Student of the Year; and Ms. Royce Lyssah Malabonga, Philippines NatCom Programme Officer and Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Grantee.

Dr. Bae defined Global Citizenship as “harmonious attitudes for fostering sustainability of societies amidst cultural relativism.” These harmonious attitudes were further revisited by Dr. Arugay in his explanation of “Cosmopolitan Identity,” which he refers to as a collective identity that embodies appreciation, empathy, compassion and ultimately solidarity with people (or citizens) from other parts of the world.

 

            The obscure grasp of one’s nationality/national identity among Filipinos proved to be a recurring issue in the course of Karunungan discussions.

Mr. Julio Amador, Deputy Director-General of Foreign Service Institute presents on ASEAN Citizenship.

In his talk on ASEAN Citizenship, Mr. Amador pointed out that as one of ASEAN’s founding members, the Philippines has remained relatively isolated within the region as it has been continuously perceived to have a stronger sense of its similarities with Latin American culture, and less so being “Southeast Asian.” Furthermore, because ASEAN has only attempted to build a rules-based community rather than an identity-based community, ASEAN citizenship is characterized with a shallow sense of belongingness and identity.

 

Dr. Arugay’s paper on “Filipino Citizenship along the Domestic-Foreign Frontier” theorizes that the Philippines’ unfinished national identity-building project is one reason behind the loose grasp of “citizenship” among Filipinos as a citizen of the Philippines, of ASEAN, and even more so of the world.

Ms.  Malabonga, in her presentation entitled, “Of Plural Identities, Postcolonial Blending and Accounts of a Contemporary Ilustrado,” shared the ambiguity of what makes a Filipino based on her experiences as an Erasmus Mundus scholar in Europe. She noted “plural identity” and “hybridity” as strong elements of Filipino identity which might be helpful in promoting global citizenship education.

A teacher from the audience clarifies the
concept of being a Filipino in the context
of teaching Global Education during
an open forum.

Approaches in Teaching Global Citizenship

Going beyond the educational goals of capacitating people with skills, knowledge, values and attitudes to secure their basic socio-economic needs and allow them to lead productive lives, Global Citizenship Education aims to inculcate among students better intellectual and moral awareness of issues that affect not only one’s self and surroundings, but the world as a whole. Dr. Arugay stressed that Global Citizenship Education should not stop with awareness of international affairs. It should also allow students to critically shape their opinion and act on issues, so they themselves can come to constitute a critical mass for positive social change.

Karunungan Festival, now on its eighth year, gather participants from various sectors.

The open forum discussions also reinforced the need for a better approach in teaching Social Studies and History, i.e. integrating key elements of Global Citizenship in Philippine schools, particularly the questions on national identity and global citizenship.

 

Dr. Rainier Ibana, Vice Chairperson of Philippines NatCom’s SHS Committee and Professor of Philosophy, Ateneo de Manila University, in his closing message said that despite stark differences in histories and heritage, a shared understanding among nations could blend into a harmonious combination.

 

To cap off the 8th Karunungan Festival, the participants were entertained with an ethnic performance by Kontemporaryong Gamelan-Pilipino (Kontra Ga-Pi) which showcased a wonderful fusion of local, regional, and global music and dance. They were likewise given a guided-tour of the different collections and exhibits of the National Museum of the Philippines.