Value-creating global citizenship education is a pedagogical approach that develops learning for sustainable development based on an integrated view of life; engages with the values, interests, and beliefs of learners; and is founded on a trust in learners’ capacity to create value and meaning for self and others under any circumstances (Sharma 2020: 136).

This approach has been developed by taking the growing, worldwide phenomena of Soka studies in education as a focal point of inquiry. Soka or value-creating education is an approach to curriculum that emerged in Japan in the early twentieth century. It is a learner-centered approach focused on the health, well-being, and happiness of each student. The concept of happiness that informs this approach is regarded as the ability to lead a contributive life for the welfare of self and others (Ikeda 2021: 6).

Value-creating global citizenship education is an outcome of studies on value-creating education, and education for global citizenship as target 4.7 of the United Nations Education 2030 Agenda, and beyond. Six themes for the practice of this approach aim to promote:

Value-Creating Global Citizenship Education: Six Themes
  1. A sense of interdependence, common humanity, and a global outlook.
  2. An awareness of climate change as planetary citizens.
  3. A commitment to reflective, dialogic, and transformative learning.
  4. A commitment to sustainable development through intercultural perspectives.
  5. A belief in the value-creating capacity for social and self-actualization.
  6. An understanding of peace and non-violence as being central to the human rights agenda.

Each of these themes is developed in response to the present discourse and practice of education for a global content that can be infused or incorporated within formal, non-formal, and informal education settings. These themes can be integrated according to age-specific and student-specific requirements. The discussions and strategies for action proposed through this approach are aimed at fostering youth as citizens. It is also aimed at research scholars and practitioners and all those who are interested in promoting sustainability and global citizenship education through schools, civil society organizations, and other learning spaces.

Conceptual Toolbox

Value-creating global citizenship education essentializes the practice of the following ten concepts that engage with the three interrelated dimensions of learning – cognitive, socio-emotional, and behavioral. These ten concepts are happiness, character, active citizen, creative citizen, inclusive citizen, dialogic learning, criticality for social justice, earth-centered perspective, value-creating capacity, and value-creating global citizenship education.

Value-Creating Global Citizenship Education: Ten Key Concepts

Happiness is the overarching goal of education and human life. It is the experience of growth and the fulfilment of one’s abilities or innate potential that can be developed through the process of leading a contributive life.

Character is the strength and resilience to create value for the enhancement of one’s own life and that of others, under any circumstances.

Active citizen goes beyond the notions of charity and advocacy. It is not just about taking action but also about being and becoming. Education for active citizenship requires an engagement with the beliefs and interests of learners so that their values can propel them to take positive action in their local communities while also reflecting on how their actions have contributed to developing their own inner resources, such as, wisdom, resilience, courage, and compassion.

Creative citizen is someone who can find creative, constructive solutions to local and global issues, and who can initiate and participate in bold, collective efforts for earth and social justice.

Inclusive citizen is a person whose faith, cultural dispositions, and other values are integral to effectively fulfilling their role as citizens. The notion of an inclusive citizen is a powerful political construct that defies exclusive identities based solely on caste, creed, race and ethnicity. To be an inclusive citizen is to read, listen and experience what is beyond one’s usual spectrum of engagements.

Dialogic learning can be enhanced through an exposure to diverse perspectives through the curriculum, and through the process of education that allows dialogue to take place between different or even opposing viewpoints. Dialogic learning includes engaging in a dialogue with Nature, that is, through education that takes place within the learner’s natural setting, building reverence for Nature, and compassion for all life on this planet.

Criticality for social justice is the ability and the skills required to perceive structural and other forms of inequalities and inequities that lead to and perpetuate human rights abuses.

Earth-centered perspective as opposed to an anthropocentric perspective is based on an earth-centered paradigm. Examples include, Earth Jurisprudence, and the principles of the Earth Charter.

Value-creating capacity is the ability to find meaning, to enhance one’s own existence and contribute to the well-being of others, under any circumstances.

Value-creating global citizenship education is a pedagogical approach that develops learning for sustainable development based on an integrated view of life; engages with the values, interests, and beliefs of learners; and is founded on a trust in learners’ capacity to create value and meaning for self and others, under any circumstances.

Select Annotated Bibliography

Key points to think about in using value-creating global citizenship education as a pedagogical approach for teaching sustainability and global issues, such as, climate change and non-violence is to develop learners’ critical skills, value-creating capacity, and the ability to solve problems through the process of building dialogue and relationships through the practice of education.

The references listed in Value-creating global citizenship education for sustainable development: Strategies and approaches (Sharma 2020) aim to introduce undergraduate (bachelor’s) and graduate (master’s) students, teachers and policy makers to previous work on value-creating global citizenship education, and texts that can used as a starting point to engage with the proposals for Soka or value-creating education by the Japanese thinkers, Makiguchi, Toda, and Ikeda as well as Ikeda’s proposals for education for global citizenship. A value-creating approach compliments the anti-colonial response to global citizenship. It also takes a non-anthropocentric perspective on global issues.

The “Back Matter” offers sample literature selected from existing and emerging scholarship related to these discussions. The list, although not an exhaustive one, includes topics and materials that can help develop a critical approach to global learning; engage with alternative worldviews and paradigms; the influence of these on legal foundations and giving constitutional rights to Nature, Animals and Species; and develop a holistic and sustained engagement to global issues, such as, climate change and global pandemic. The suggested reading list also includes a selection of references that aim to support teachers navigate through the challenging task of teaching controversial issues within the classroom in relation to these agendas. Recommended resources also offer a reflective and critical approach to the UNESCO-led initiatives of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship Education (GCE). This list is for readers interested in using a value-creating approach to build a sustainable future and a global outlook through educational research, policy, and praxis.

The back matter also contains a conceptual toolbox; an index with page numbers referring to these concepts in the book; and an annotated bibliography with suggested resources on value-creating education, and education for sustainable development and global citizenship. It is available to download from the publisher’s website – Springer link.


Ikeda, D. (2021). The light of learning: Selected writings on education. Santa Monica: Middleway Press.

Sharma, N. (2020). Value-creating global citizenship education for sustainable development: Strategies and approaches. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

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