CES-Connecting Culture for Global Citizens’

Narayan Prasad Sapkota

                              Fellow Researcher, TATA institute of social sciences, Mumbai



The term, Global Citizenship, is an idea that can be traced back to Ancient Greece when Socrates (469-399BC) said he was not an Athenian nor a Greek but a citizen of the world. Now question arises Who is a global citizen? A global citizen is one who is aware that he has a national citizenship and responsibilities in his country of birth, but chooses to place his identity with a global community, by participating in its issues, challenges, and problems through interactions with other people (Gabriel, 2019).

Similarly, what is cultural understanding? Cultural understanding is in the knowing of other people’s culture, by recognizing, interpreting, and accurately responding to people and situations that are bound to cultural misunderstanding due to cultural differences. Cultural differences are rooted in different values, beliefs, religions etc. Cultural understanding frees our minds from the prejudice that our way of life is the only way, and even if there are other ways, ours remains the best and the only right way. It is through cultural understanding that we know that there is more we can do as a people, if we overlook our differences and focus on our strengths and things that join us together, compared to our individual tribal or national performances, because the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. In becoming more culturally understanding, we must do away with self-sufficiency and learn to embrace interdependency as a tool of achieving better performance. This can be done when we learn to welcome everyone (Lister,2018).

Connecting Earthly stars popularly known as CES with its acronym was founded by Mr. Dipak Gautam back in 2014 with the aim of cultural exchange through the homestay approach. From the four episodes of this program three organized by APEX School, Butwal and 2020 episode by JCA School, Pokhara it has deep routed impact on the cultural connection of the pupils. I have been involved in it since 2020 for the two episodes. From my direct involvement I have found its core benefits as follows:

  1. Cross- culture exchange: As an Event coordinator of the CES’20 and participant of the CES’23 I have found that students have immensely developed tangible and intangible outcomes. Some of the cross-culture benefits visually experienced through the CES program can be listed as:
  2. demonstrate respect for others’ culture;
  3. sensitive to local cultural values;
  4. willing to observe prevailing workplace hierarchies and protocol;
  5. able to work independently;
  6. willing to serve others in the way they want to be served;
  7. demonstrate initiative and have a sense of humor;
  8. open to other possibilities, differing opinions, and values that may contradict your own;
  9. able to function as a member of a team
  10. Nurturing Global citizenship: As we have seen that the guest and host of this program have the connection beyond the program time. Some of them have become friends for life. Ishan Wosti, JCA School who was a host of his friend Bibek Sapkota, APEX School from Butwal are friends since CES’20 are friends forever. This is one case in point. The overall benefits through this program that have immensely developed the cultural global citizenship as follows:
  11. Identifying values and importance of diversity.
  12. Involvement in local, national, and global communities.
  13. Awareness of multicultural, multilingual and multiethnicity and development of respect towards each other.
  14. A growth in respect for themselves and others, regardless of who they are or where they live.
  15. Development of cultural adaptability.
  16. Development of intergroup Empathy: Intergroup empathy is defined by Reysen and Katzarska-Miller (2013) as “a felt connection and concern for people outside one’s ingroup”. In the CES program students from Far East to Far West gather, intermingle and develop some sort of own ness and belongings. Students develop as a common community.
  17. Development of Community of practioners: Besides students’ cultural exchange, it is a platformto link up among schools, teachers and educationists. It creates the knowledge sharing hubs. The community-based government schools and private school teachers, principals and government authorities gather together and share their best practices in the schools. Learning and co-learning happens simultaneously. Teachers from Mechinagar ; East Horizon school, Jhapa Model English School from very Far East and Ugratara School, Saraswati Secondary school from Far west  come together. This year itself schools from Six provinces gathered for three days and had sharing. Thanks to the program I could make good friends like Binod Pradhan Shrestha from East and Bir Bahadur Khadka from west. Sagar Shrestha and Jasmine Shrestha from Jhapa Model English School have become my close buddies for ages now.
  18. Nurture the Lower order thinking skills (LOTs) and Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTs).  

CES activities are mostly based on the core skills related to soft skills. Referring to the Bloom’s Taxonomy revised version CES has proven to develop not only lower order thinking skills and mostly higher order thinking skills that our normal academic process do not address. We can assimilate the following conclusion:

  • Enhance the most common but critical task of every person’s life: problem-solving. With the ability to analyze information, evaluate data collected, and synthesize or create new ideas, one can solve their problem more effectively and efficiently.
  • Help students see things from different perspectives, building up their knowledge and experience.
  • Develop students’ emotional intelligence, especially when dealing or working with people in the future.
  • They know why they feel or behave that way and they can learn to control their feelings or actions when necessary. In addition, when they put themselves in others’ shoes, they will also understand others’ feelings and know how to deal with them.
  • Enable students to appreciate art, literature, and nature to a great amount, helping them enjoy their surroundings and lives.

So in a nutshell what we can assure that the CES can be a good platform for everyone involved. The need is to institutionalize this platform for now and future. Long live its concept and mission. See you next year.