The Emergent Global Citizen: Cultivating Global Citizenship Identity and Engagement Within Soka Education
Current discourse on internationalization within the higher education sector has been largely fueled by pressures on colleges and universities to better prepare students for the effects of globalization. Higher education has increasingly begun to realize the importance of engaging students in global citizenship curricula to be more globally informed, prepared, responsible, and competent. This thesis presents a case study of Soka education’s philosophical and pedagogical approach to global citizenship education by examining the policies and practices of its university setting, Soka University Japan (SUJ). Past research by Stephen Reysen (Reysen & Katzarska-Miller, 2013a) provides a theoretical model for analyzing the extent to which SUJ cultivates global citizenship identity and engagement. The mixed methods approach used in this study extends the largely quantitative research methodology used by Reysen and associates by drawing on the integration of quantitative and qualitative data to enable a more complete understanding of how global citizenship is cultivated in higher education. The present research contributes important knowledge to global citizenship scholarship and practice by adding support to the value of identifying antecedents and outcomes of global citizenship identification in the implementation of global citizenship education (GCE) programs in higher education. In examining Soka education’s approach to GCE, as perceived through the varied lenses of SUJ administrators, faculty, and students, the present research contributes to the discourse on the value of global citizenship education, and sheds light on critical approaches in higher education for cultivating and manifesting global citizenship identity and engagement. SUJ appears to robustly cultivate a global citizenship identity through its extensive curricular and co-curricular activities that focus on global awareness and understanding. Student global citizenship identity was shown to be highly influenced by SUJ’s normative environment that endorses global citizenship, and by the university’s practices in promoting global awareness. Furthermore, increased global citizenship identity was shown to strongly influence student endorsement of prosocial values and behaviour. Key findings from the study suggest that, 1) SUJ students experience global citizenship identity as an emergent process that evolves over the course of their university tenure, and continues to develop throughout their life, and 2) Soka education places considerable weight on the synergies that exist when imagining the potential impact on global social justice and wellbeing whilst actively engaged in creating value within one’s local environment. Based on the study’s findings, two key implications for educational practice are proposed. It is recommended that global citizenship education in colleges and universities integrate education about global citizenship with education for global citizenship, and that students’ global citizenship identity be strengthened through enriched institutional support for intercultural experiential learning activities.