Global competence helps prepare youth for the future

4-H provides opportunities that prepare youth to live and work in our global world.

The words, “…and my world” were added to the 4-H pledge in 1973. Today it reads, “I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service and my Health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.” Adding “and my world” to the 4-H pledge gave recognition to a broadened scope for 4-H. Today and through its history, 4-H provides opportunities to be involved at the local, state, national and international level with chances to build global competencies along the way.

According to Michigan State University Extension, global competence is needed for youth to be prepared to live and work in our global world. According to the National Education Association,  “our increasing interconnected and interdependent global society mandates that American students be educated to develop habits of the mind that embrace tolerance, a commitment to cooperation, an appreciation of our common humanity and a sense of responsibility—key elements of global competence.”

There are many definitions and opinions on what global competence is.  An Ed Step’s matrix for global competence created in partnership with the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning provides one view of it.  They suggest that students with global competence are able to investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, recognize their own and others perspectives, communicate their ideas effectively with diverse audiences and can translate their ideas and findings into appropriate actions to improve conditions.

Michigan 4-H offers a variety of programs to help youth build global competence. 4-H international exchanges  offer the chance to host and travel to learn about, understand and appreciate their own and other cultures and perspectives. The Michigan 4-H China Art Project offers students a chance to interact with another culture by telling a story through their artwork in the form of a “visual letter.” 4-H Exploration Days, Capitol Experience, Citizenship Washington Focus and National 4-H Conference all give youth the chance to experience life beyond where they live. 4-H club and community projects give youth a chance to give back to their communities. 4-H Revolution of Responsibility stories provide exciting examples of 4-H members making a real impact in their communities across the nation. 

The 4-H global and cultural  website gives more information on 4-H global and cultural resources that are available to help youth build global competence. To find out about other 4-H program opportunities visit the Michigan 4-H website.

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