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Beyond the big picture – how to become a global citizen

Olivia Darby, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Wonder Foundation.

What does it take to be a truly effective global citizen?


Last week at UCL, our Policy Director Olivia Darby shared her volunteering journey with students on the Global Citizenship programme. Here are her two top tips for having a positive impact, and you can watch the whole of her presentation below: 

Respect others

The world we live in is vast – few of us will set foot in even half of the countries. So how on earth can we decide who to help and where to start?

There are people needing our help and support everywhere that we look - meeting the sustainable development goals is as relevant in the UK as it is in Congo, Guatemala or Cambodia. 

The only way that we can understand and make a real difference is by listening and respecting those we work to help. When we’re debating in the pub or the lecture hall, theories sound great, and some are very good, but only by listening and learning from the people who are the statistics can we understand what can help and what can’t help.  

Know yourself 

Each one of us has to ask:

Who am I? What do I want to achieve in my life? What fulfils me? What drives me? – these three sounds similar, but they are in fact very different.

What do I have to give to society?

Who am I going to give to?

Citizenship is about rights as well as responsibilities. In the words of Spiderman's Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility. If you are privileged to study, to get a degree, you have a great opportunity – the question is whether you will use it to benefit only yourself or to benefit others. 

For me, global citizenship is about making a positive difference, because even if it is small, it can be extremely significant to somebody.