My classmates and I have been at our community engaged learning placements for quite a few weeks now. My placement with The Paradigm Shift Project has been exciting in both its culmination and in helping proceed with plans for going forward in their marketing and fundraising campaigns.

A further investigation into what it means to be local and global, with a focus on the definition of what community means, has prompted both my partner and I to try to understand how individuals, even in busy cities such as that of Toronto, can become global citizens and address salient international issues such as environmental sustainability and human security. However, this has become difficult because despite all our studies in Peace, Conflict, and Justice, it is still difficult to define what position one can take locally.

What position can an individual in Toronto legitimately take to help find solutions globally? How can we possibly make any change, especially when the issue is something as large as human trafficking, which happens most noticeably halfway across the world in places such as Malaysia and Thailand?

I’m not quite sure I’ve been able to come to a conclusion on this just yet – despite all the documentary work that The Paradigm Shift Project has provided, it is impossible to see how local solutions can solve the issues of other global citizens. While it is possible for Canadians to learn about economic and environmental sustainability, it is near impossible to understand the issues that plague only those who are not as privileged as we are in the Global North, especially in North America.

Given this, for the initiative that The PSP is currently beginning would be that global citizenship in this sense could have the opportunity show students that there is always the opportunity to give back and contribute to solving issues that do not necessarily only address them. Local voices allow for a greater understanding of what it means to be a part of a greater community. Starting off with a deep education on what it means to be part of a global community and understanding what privileges come with living in countries such as Canada might just be the start that all students need to begin to be able to address salient global issues.

Moving forward with The Paradigm Shift Project, I hope to be able to help redefine some parts of their existing curriculum to be able to make it more accessible and relatable to existing Canadian education. While I do think it is important to understand and accept the validity and value in things such as social media and documentaries, I believe that a greater understanding of “global” and “community” should begin with a more focused viewpoint on what global citizenship is.

I look forward to being able to work with my partner on this initiative, and I certainly hope that by the end of our community engaged learning placement, we are able to deliver on both personal goals as well as the goals of the organization itself.

Stay tuned for a wrap up of the PCJ361 placement within the next few weeks!