Formal and informal spaces to enhance cosmopolitan citizenship in Higher Education

Boni, Alejandra, Jordi Peris, Juan Manuel Rodilla, Hueso, Andres; Lozano, J. Felix (2011). "Formal and informal spaces to enhance cosmopolitan citizenship in Higher Education" Paper presented at the 8th annual conference of the HDCA, 6-8 September 2011, the Hague, the Netherlands.

During the last few years, the capability approach (CA) has focused on how universities can enhance students’ capabilities in order to contribute to a fairer and more inclusive human development model (Nussbaum, 1997, 2006, 2010; Walker 2006, Walker et al, 2009; Flores-Crespo, 2007). For this purpose, seems crucial to promote a sense of cosmopolitan citizenship among university students as Nussbaum (1997) suggested. The aim of this chapter is to analyze two different initiatives developed at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV) in Spain, which have contributed to the creation and expansion of capabilities amongst the student community that are particularly linked to the idea of cosmopolitan citizenship. The first one is a formal space in which, since 1997, a global1 citizenship curriculum has been implemented (Boni, 2007). Over a twelve year period, more than 3.000 undergraduate students have followed two free elective courses: one on introductory issues regarding development and aid, Introduction to Development Aid, and another entitled Development Aid Projects. The second experience refers to an informal space called Mueve, which emerged through informal gatherings amongst people with converging interests in the courses described above. As a consequence, about 15 students in the Industrial Engineering Degree started a social movement at university devoted to promoting change at a local level. Based on the analysis of 12 in-depth interviews we will provide some insights into the differences, similarities, complementarities, and synergies amongst those two spaces to enhance capabilities for cosmopolitan citizenship. In order to do that, we will firstly pay attention to how CA has considered cosmopolitan citizenship and how other approaches to cosmopolitism can contribute to a broader view of what a cosmopolitan citizen is.
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