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Although globalization describes the effects of increasing international openness and interdependence, global citizenship describes a mode of dealing with this phenomenon, harvesting its benefits, and working collaboratively to deal with its challenges. Globalization has enriched societies materially, culturally, and intellectually—although these gains have not been distributed uniformly—and has also disrupted long-standing economic, political, and social arrangements, sometimes painfully.

In this Perspective, the authors examine the evolution of American attitudes toward globalization and various forms of international engagement. Concerted international action is required to tackle the shared challenges of climate change, environmental sustainability, pandemic disease, international security, and economic growth. This kind of collective action requires a degree of solidarity among people across national boundaries, a sense of common destiny, and shared responsibility as expressed in the concept of global citizenship. It also requires that these attitudes be reflected in national policies because nation-states are, and will continue to be, the essential building blocks of any world order. The authors therefore address why global citizenship is important, how it can be fostered, and how Americans consider and value global issues. The authors also explore ways of promoting global citizenship across the political spectrum.

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This analysis was supported by Frederick S. Pardee and conducted by the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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