Will you upgrade to local, global or glocal?

Written by Salma Abdelkader on .

It is logical that if you have a glocal mind (vis-à-vis thinking globally but acting locally), you can understand global problems better with a local touch and find sustainable solutions to seemingly impossible challenges.

The questions that remain are: what are the obstacles that hinder such a process? …and how can we overcome such barriers?

1. Isolation

Although the Internet provides the much needed connectivity we so much depend on, isolation still remains a challenge. It has taken a subtle form – mental isolation affects most young people around the world. They care less and often not at all about global issues. A practical example is global warming or inflation. They only put heart to these matters if they are critical to their studies.


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They are more concerned about relationships and quick personal success. In my opinion, I think sharing stories of suffering people has potential of moving emotions to take action and brains to get to understand that it might affect them also if they continued living recklessly.

2. Lack of global love

It is a well-known fact that like-minded people attract each other. However, for us to attain sustainable development goals (SDGs) we need ‘unlikes’ to appreciate and love the other ‘unlikes’. This cannot be fully achieved by blending through the internet only. People need to be immersed in each other's cultures and have a full experience to reach a level of acceptance that allows different minds from different backgrounds to set to a table and search for sustainable solutions to tackling issues affecting our world today.

3. Ineffective approaches to achieve acceptance

We have an Arabic idiom which says ‘one who knew the tongue of the people guarantee the security of treachery’. It is relatively easy of late to learn a new language. Such an effort is not taken by most people. Reasons take different forms. Excuses are many. Certainly the major excuse is that it is not affordable and certainly, for all, it is a long process.

Why then don't we focus on the language we all already know? Our default language of belonging to the human race... This body language could be a facial expression of compassion or even dancing!

Although there are differences of meaning of a movement from one country to another, certainly it is easier and fun to learn. There is almost a special dance for every country or even for every city! Why don't we make use of such an opportunity to build acceptance?

Honestly and practically, shifting our focus to glocal is a collective responsibility. It is the responsibility of the media, urban development workers and every human being aspiring to provide a better future for our children and society. It is our responsibility to inspire others, to expand horizons for young peoples’ minds to make use of their amazing energies and talents to bring positive change to our world and for that to come.

Salma Abdelkader photo

About the Author

Salma Abdelkader is an undergraduate student with keen interest in sustainable development, education and volunteering. She volunteers for projects on recycling, combating illiteracy, professional development of youth among others. She is a regular contributor on the Urunji blog.

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