By The Editors
There are few definitions currently available to help understand what global competence is, or better, understand the current interpretations of the global competence concept.
One of these definitions is: “Having an open mind while actively seeking to understand cultural norms and expectations of others, and leveraging this gained knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.” (William D. Hunter. Got global competency? International Educator, 2: 6-12, 2004)
Another definition is: “Global Competence is the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to understand and act creatively and innovatively on issues of global significance.” (Council of Chief State School Officers’ EdSteps Project in partnership with the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning, 2010)
I think that two additional elements should be included in definitions of global competence: intellectual curiosity and empathy.
We may think of “intellectual curiosity” as contained within “actively seeking to understand” in the first definition and “dispositions to understand” in the second definition. However, “seeking” and “dispositions” may be the results of different types of motivations and do not necessarily encompass intellectual curiosity, which is a major driving force in the acquisition of true global competence.
Empathy — the intellectual identification with the needs, feelings and thoughts of other individuals — does not seem to be included in neither of the two definitions above. However, understanding and knowledge without empathy would not be sufficient to ensure deep connection at the individual level and, therefore, would limit the ability to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.
May be time to consider revising and expanding some definitions of global competence?