Acting Locally in a Flat World: Global Citizenship and the Democratic Practice of Service-Learning

Richard Battistoni, Providence College
Nicholas Longo
Harry T. Wilks


This paper series seems especially significant this year, as Campus Compact celebrates an important milestone. The context has certainly changed over the decades since the founding of Campus Compact twenty years ago. For while Campus Compact has grown impressively to more than 950 member campuses with 31 state offices under the leadership of Elizabeth Hollander, there is also a sense that service-learning is at a crossroads. At least one dimension for educators to consider is the connection between the local and the global, and the importance of global citizenship and democratic practices which promote global citizenship. To be engaged and relevant requires that service-learning includes a large vision, along with democratic practices for acting locally with global intentions. The "flattened world" which Thomas Friedman has popularly termed for the rapid rise of globalization since the start of the 21st century has important implications for service-learning educators trying to implement John Dewey's vision of building democratic, neighborly communities. It requires us to ask: if democracy "begins at home," what does this mean in the context of an increasingly global society?