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The Global Village


Group 1 – whole school approach


pupils from 14 to 18


  • To raise awareness of global issues connected with human rights, inequalities in society and sustainability
  • To get to know international agencies such as the United Nations and their agenda


min. 2 hours



0 – 10′ –  The facilitator (10’)

  • welcomes the participants and introduces him/herself as a person and as an AFS volunteer (where applicable)
  • gives a short explanation of the learning objectives of the activity
  • asks participants to introduce themselves saying one thing they care about in the field of sustainability

10′ – 30′  –  First activity  “If the world was a village..” (20’)

The facilitator asks the participants “How much do we really know about the world and the International situation? ”  We live in a world inhabited by 7.4 billions of people, but we often hear that this is a small world as facts that happen very far away from us, seem to be the same as those we face.  Often we also hear that this is a “global village”

The facilitator asks the participants to couple together and  take a minute to imagine a world of a 100 people talking to one another.  This is a “global village”: their task in the following minutes will be to rebuild the proportions of the real world inside the village in terms of  inhabitants, wealth distribution, health, education, technology,…

After a couple of minutes the facilitator distributes the form “If the world was a village” and asks each couple to discuss it and fill up the empty spaces.

After 10 minutes the facilitator asks randomly to some of the couples to tell their friends the rating they came up with.  Then the facilitator introduces the short 100 people video (or shows/distributes copies of the attached sheet).

The facilitator asks students to comment: how close did they get to the right rating? Which questions were the most difficult to answer and why? which sources do they usually use to get information? Are these sources complete or partial? If these are partial what should be done?  General comments..

30′ – 60′ –  the UN Agenda for  sustainability (30’)

The facilitator tells the students that the debate on the complexity of these problems is taking place worldwide and that many institutions are actively thinking on how to face the problem: first of all the United Nations Organization which, in September 25, 2015 formally adopted the  Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, defining 17 goals to be reached by all the countries in the world by 2030.

The adoption of Agenda 2030 is a historical event under many perspectives:

  • for the first time UN members made a strong and clear statement about the non sustainability of the current models of development in our society:  environmental, economic and social level.
  • In this way they underlined that sustainability needs to be taken into consideration in a global vision (and not only focused on environment as it is often done)
  • In addition, all countries are called to contribute to the overall improvement without distinction between developed and emerging countries
  • It is obvious that each country has to define its own goals and strategies on what can realistically be done depending on the level of development achieved.

For the first time there is a common, strong agreement on 17 goals which are considered universal and a commitment in finding a solution to problems that we all have and which have an impact not only on our Nation but – in a global world – on all our Nations.

The facilitator asks the participants to brainstorm briefly on transnational problems they are aware of (i.e. corruption, climate change, immigration due to poverty,  illegal trafficking, excessive energy consumption, nuclear energy, … )

The facilitator briefly scrolls 17 goals from the Overview in the UN website

For this workshop, the facilitator tells the students that we are particularly focusing on Objective 4: Target 4.7:  all students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to promote sustainable development through, inter alia, education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, Human rights, gender equality, the promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence, global citizenship and the enhancement of cultural diversity and the contribution of culture to sustainable development”

The Agenda 2030 is recent and it took a long time to come to a common agreement which is still sometimes threatened (the USA for example quitted the Agenda in 2017). Every Nation has different priorities, needs, approaches that need to be taken into consideration in a worldwide problem-solving process

1 – 1:40   SIMULATION on problem-solving (40’)

The facilitator suggests returning to the situation previously outlined. We are citizens of the global village, we know the problems that our global village is facing, and we need to start dealing with our future.  The facilitator divides students into subgroups of 4-5 people and gives instructions:

1. Every student is a citizen of the Global Village and must express him/herself to find a solution to strongly promote sustainable development. It does not matter the social position of the citizen, nor their level of studies or work: each is called to reflect and express their point of view.

2. Each student must think of 3 rights that must be guaranteed to all citizens of the global village (5 minutes). To clarify, propose to complete the following sentence:  “Citizens of the global village must be entitled to …”

3. All students in the subgroup must compare the rights they have identified and decide together which are the 6 most important ones for all members (15 minutes).

4. Each subgroup must decide on the name of the global village, where it is situated and write it on a large sheet with the 6 rights to be shared with everyone (5 minutes).

The subgroups get together and each one presents their own list of rights while the facilitator tries to put together a unique list. Together they note which rights are repeated and therefore universally stated, and which are not. The facilitator stimulates a little interaction with suggestions and questions: is it possible to put together similar rights? In this case how far are citizens willing to give up part of their rights? Are there rights that are in contradiction?

1.40 – 2.00  Debriefing (20’)

Once the final list is more or less ready, the facilitator asks the students to reflect from an individual point of view:  how deeply did they express their convictions? Did they change their minds during the debate? What made them change their minds? Was it easy to come to one list of rights? What are their feelings about the confrontation and coming to a common agreement process with the rest of the group/groups?

If there are foreign students in the class hosted with exchange programs or students who have participated in exchange programs abroad, the facilitator underlines their contribution with questions such as:  are the rights identified in some way connected to those of the country where you came from/have been during your experience abroad?  What is the influence of our own country in our choices? What is the influence of the other countries/cultures we know well ?

The facilitator underlines that each Nation has its own history, its own economy, social matters and beliefs on what is a priority: all these greatly influence people’s choices, ways of acting, political requests. Therefore it is really difficult to make lists of common rights but it is absolutely necessary to learn how to come to a common framework of reference in order to ensure growth, well-being, education and peace for everyone and not only for the benefit of few.

It is not an easy process and the answers are not univocal. However the starting point is to ask oneself questions and become aware of the many different points of view that derive from different cultures.

However such values as brotherhood and freedom require dialogue and a peaceful approach to the problems that affect our society. These values evolved hundreds of years ago as the hub of civilised life. They are fundamental, not negotiable.


In closing, the facilitator asks the students if they believe that this statement is actual and discussed about in the community (family, school, friends, ….) where they live.

Maybe someone will express some doubts on this or on the goals set by the 2030 UN Agenda.

Values are needed to drive us in our lives; our goals need to be high and inspirational  to help each of us in our choices and everyday real life . Each and every one of us can make a difference in order to achieve the utopia of a fair world, in which we respect each other, starting with the people around us.


Many topics in this module can be deepened in curricular or cross-curricular courses.


Intercultura Italy

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