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Global citizenship key to transforming people and places

8 October 2018

The School of Geography and Planning led a lively workshop on contemporary global social and political challenges with local secondary school pupils on Tuesday 2 October.

Dr Peter Mackie and Dr Maxwell Hartt welcomed 25 pupils from Mountain Ash Comprehensive School to Cardiff for a Global Issues Workshop looking at the significant challenges affecting people and places around the world, and potential solutions.

The Welsh Baccalaureate pupils are preparing to undertake the Global Citizenship Challenge as part of the Skills Challenge Certificate. The workshop provided an opportunity for them to engage with two major global issues and debate their origins, impact and ways of tackling them - the global refugee crisis and an ageing population.

Dr Peter Mackie delivered a session on urban refugees in Addis Ababa, seeking to understand whether they are surviving or thriving against the backdrop of the global refugee crisis and a hostile global refugee policy. The case study demonstrated how refugees had made a significant impact on the Addis economy, creating dynamic new markets and empowering a new customer base. It asked the pupils to consider ‘what next’ and what solutions they believe could be right to pursue.

In an interactive session, Dr Maxwell Hartt challenged the pupils to consider older people, in their own lives, and society. He outlined factors such as low birth rates and increased life expectancy which are contributing to an ageing society. The pupils were tasked with identifying key challenges and benefits presented by an ageing society as well as how to prepare for an increasingly aged population.

Commenting after the event, Dr Mackie said: “It was fantastic to welcome the pupils to Cardiff, and the School of Geography and Planning. Maxwell and I were impressed by their thoughtfulness and eloquence when discussing these complex political and social challenges. We’d like to thank them for joining us and contributing enthusiastically and intelligently to a stimulating debate on social values, our role as citizens, and the collective power of an engaged and informed global citizenship.”

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The School applies critical thinking and practical knowledge in solving economic, environmental and social problems to address the grand challenges faced by human societies and places today.