NEWS

Millennials: 'We're Global Citizens. Nationalism's Outdated'

A huge survey of people in their 20s and 30s in the U.S., India and Russia finds they envision a more fluid world without borders.

23/11/2017 14:27 SAST | Updated 23/11/2017 14:27 SAST
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South African millennials share a view held by their peers across the world -- that the concept of belonging to one country, aka nationalism, is outdated. They believe global citizenship is the way of the future.

This was revealed in a recent study commissioned by Western Union, which surveyed more than 10,000 millennials from at least 15 countries, including the U.S.A., India and Russia, about their beliefs and hopes for the future. This group comprised native, first-generation and foreign-born men and women in their mid-20s to early 30s.

Three key themes emerged:

1. Global citizenship ​​

For the world they envision, millennials believe the concept of belonging to one country is outdated. They view themselves as global citizens.

This was the view of eight out of 10 millennials -- who pointed out that the cross-border connections made possible by advances in technology will continue to be a critical step in achieving global citizenship.

Staying connected to global news via social media, connecting with people from different cultures, travelling to new places and interacting with people different to themselves is their way of creating a world they want for the future.

2. Economic advantages

At least 70 percent of the group believes limitless movement will allow them to control their destiny. Better education, job prospects and as a result, a better financial standing will be possible through a more open world.

They also hope that people and business will work together and that the exchange of commerce and money will become easier by 2030, with one-third arguing that a single global currency would foster great global unity.

3. Who will govern in the future?

Two thirds of the respondents believe that global institutions like the United Nations are more representative of them than national or local governments.

At least 70 percent of the respondents believed future governments will be hybrids of democratic institutions and individuals.

They are also of the belief that shaping the future is up to them as individuals, rather than governments -- and collaboration will be essential to achieve this.

"The world is changing ,and there is a new economic power shift driven by a new generation of global citizens," said Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western Union. "They are shaping the future and inspiring others to do the same. They are redefining globalisation to one of 'personal globalisation', where the pursuit of limitless cross-border movement, cross-border digital communication and creative lifestyles drive[s] new economic power."

Ersek is of the opinion that understanding what millennials think and what they want the world to look like is important -- as it will likely impact politics, the economy and culture as we know it.