The figure of the “global citizen” is increasingly a repository of what an undergraduate should look like, with emphasis placed on self-reflexivity, intercultural competency, ethical reasoning, and critical thinking. While the making of global citizens is prioritized as an important mission of higher education, has there been concomitant discussion on how it is in practice and where it may be going in future?


Institute on General Education

The Institute on General Education spans over two days (3-4 December). It opens with two seminars that address the concept and practice of global citizenship from the philosopher’s and artist’s points of view. The second day features two forums called “spark talks,” with speakers giving short presentations on science and on happiness to spark off discussion and exchanges among GE practitioners. Participation is by invitation. There will also be a talk open to all for a joint reflection on living and dying well.

GE Teacher and Student Conference

The GE Teacher and Student Conference (5 December) aims to promote the exchange of ideas and sharing of experience across institutions on fundamental issues of general education. It consists of a keynote speech and presentations by teachers and students in the form of papers and posters.

Day 1 (3 December 2018)

The seminar aims at exploring the ideas of global citizenship and global ethics, and the intellectual contentions those concepts arouse. Are global citizenship and global ethics possible? Are students being shaped into “global citizens” with its ethical implications? Why should they be so taught? To what extent can we teach global citizenship and global ethics without being advocates of “western universalism” or cultural imperialism? Can cosmopolitanism, the belief that all human beings belong to a world community, coexist with local identities or patriotism? Participants will discuss and reflect on these questions through a dialogue with Dr. Nigel Dower after reading a set of materials suggested by him.

In response to the topic of "global citizenship," the MaD Team will share on how they engage citizens for positive actions towards local and global situations through a variety of initiatives, from community art projects to the cross-sector Social Lab, and how they practice stakeholders engagement, silo-crossing co-creation and changemakers incubation. Home-grown young creative practitioners, who have received support from MaD to embark on regional exchange for furthering their aspirations, will also be invited to offer first-person perspectives on their social-minded endeavours. We hope this sharing and conversation will provide insights on how educators can inspire, prepare and support young people to be socially responsive thinker-and-doers, and champion a culture of collaboration for a progressive civic society.

Day 2 (4 December 2018)

Global citizenship calls for awareness of our rights and civic responsibilities in face of acute challenges such as climate change, food security, and ecological balance. A good part of our hope for tackling these challenges lies in the creation of knowledge and understanding through science. Today, many believe that climate change is real and anthropogenic. Is such a view scientifically grounded? For decades, concerns for food security have driven research on genetic modifications and new farming methods. Are these methods sustainable? Mass bleaching of coral reefs has been seen as an ecological warning that must be heeded. Is our ecological balance irrevocably upset? The enquiry may boil down to this: How do global warming, food security, and ecological balance impact on each other? Between productivity and sustainability, where do we stand?

* Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

Teachers and students present their teaching and learning experience in the form of a poster, which will be exhibited throughout the institute and conference period. For details, please refer to GE Posters.

Stress and depression seem to be increasingly widespread in society, making it pressing for educators to ask: what constitutes young adults’ sense of (un)happiness? what can be done? Scholars in recent years have offered new angles on understanding happiness, from socio-economic, psychological as well as religious perspectives. What is the role of subjective well-being and public policies in health and happiness? Are there different forms of inequality—gender, education, health, etc.—that have become barriers to happiness? Can we foster personal and social well-being through therapeutic interventions, meditation, and social action? All in all, can knowledge and practices of happiness be integrated and sustained?

* Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

Life is difficult. Challenges from your body and mind, from personal relationships, from the environment, bear you down.

Death is also difficult. What you have is a body that either rapidly collapses or slowly deteriorates. At the same time, you are worried and perplexed by the unknowable world after death.

How do you make it, and help your loved ones to make it too, to a bright, joyous path to “good life” and “good death”?

Day 3 (5 December 2018)

This lecture addresses two kinds of issues: first, what should the goal of cosmopolitanism be? What kind of a world do we want? (peace, sustainability, access for all to the means to a full life?) What sort of a world do we not want? (world government, conformity to one ideal?) Second, how should we promote this (issues of effectiveness and of rightness) and to what extent are we obliged to act to create a better world?

Please find the detailed schedule here.

Teachers and students present their teaching and learning experience in the form of a poster, which will be exhibited throughout the institute and conference period. For details, please refer to GE Posters.

Please find the detailed schedule here.