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Five Values for Global Citizens

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Sarah is a recent college graduate from Minnesota now living in downtown Los Angeles as a Salesian volunteer working with the children of homeless women. Randy is using his advanced engineering degree to help design community centers, water projects, orphanages, and medical clinics in Afghanistan with Engineering Ministries International. Katie is studying for an advanced degree in Ecology after serving for two years at a homeless shelter with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Jay shared his gifts as an urban musician by facilitating a partnership with a local music production company and a Presbyterian church in Tacoma, Washington, to create a music development program for inner city youth.

Each of these young adults shares a commitment to engage the world through service. They have chosen to share in and contribute to the social, economic, and spiritual development of a specific community of people. That they each made such commitments demonstrates that there are likely some shared values between them. Living out such commitments, however, is likely to transform them, pushing them further toward a common set of values or ethic. It is the ethic of service, civic engagement, and global understanding that the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship believes such commitments can lead. In a word, it is the ethic of the global citizen. While we believe that service commitments are a powerful influence toward this ethic, we recognize that they are not the only things that lead people to develop into global citizens. However, this article attempts to articulate some critical components of this ethic from the angle or perspective of service. I do this recognizing as well that the set of values I have chosen is neither comprehensive nor closed to dispute, even within the community of the Krista Foundation.

In 2005, we published in this journal my essay "Staying for Tea: Five Principles for the Community Service Volunteer." In some ways, this is a companion piece to that article. It is written with much the same audience in mind and the ideas should be complementary. However, one essay deals with principles, the other values. It may be helpful then to differentiate what I mean by these two words. I don't pretend to offer authoritative definitions, but rather to clarify the distinction within these two articles.

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Aaron Ausland is a member of the 1999 Charter Class of Krista Colleagues, founding editor of this journal, and serves on the Krista Foundation Board of Directors. He has worked for a number of non-profit development organizations, including MCC, World Concern, Agros International, and Trickle Up. He has a Masters degree in Public Administration in International Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is currently working with World Vision International as an Evaluations Services Manager. Aaron and his wife Gabriela are the proud parents of Thiago Montana Ausland who recently celebrated his first birthday.



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