Global Citizenship: An Interview with Professor Shyam Sharma
Conducted by: Naomi Vingron & Adrienne Blaser
Thursday, October 9, 2014
(1) How do you think your research is contributing to making society more open to other cultures and languages?
First, I research and write about international students, especially their academic transition and success, and one of my objectives in this area is to highlight how international students don't just have "language problems" but they also bring--along with their proficiencies in other languages--a world of knowledge and perspectives. Second, I teach and write about rhetoric and writing across countries, cultures, and contexts; my research in this area is also driven by an interest in promoting intercultural communicative competencies and a sense of global citizenship. Third, I study how US universities are helping international graduate students meet the challenges of communicating, research, teaching, and other professional demands in graduate school and in the professions. I hope that these types of research/scholarship initiatives will help make society more open to other cultures and their resources.
(2) Could you share with us a bit more about the concept of global citizenship that you mentioned during the interview?
The idea of global citizenship is defined very differently but the essence of it is the sense of belonging, feeling responsible, and having the competency survive and succeed in an increasingly globalized world. The topic is becoming more important in US higher education because there are both intellectual and pragmatic reasons for students to be "global citizens." In particular, it is gaining traction because educators increasingly recognize its pragmatic and professional value.
(3) Relating to the previous questions, how do you and potentially people in your field of research teach others how to be global citizens?
The best way to promote the idea of global citizenship is to promote complex thinking and multiple perspectives by drawing them from multiple cultures. We can also promote global citizenship by helping students look at issues of global significance (poverty, war, crime, etc) as shared challenges across nations. Students should also learn more about other languages and cultures so that they can navigate them and relate to other people better.
As part of the Center of Multilingualism and Intercultural Communication’s Spotlight feature we interviewed Dr. Shyam Sharma of the Program of Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University who serves on the Campus Advisory board for the center: