Global Citizenship Education and Intercultural Learning at Whitefriars College

Whitefriars College is committed to supporting our students to become active global citizens. A global citizen is someone who self-identifies first and foremost, not as a member of a state, tribe or nation, but as a member of the human race and is prepared to act, using their skills and knowledge to tackle our world’s greatest challenges. When global citizens take action, they pave the path for a more just, sustainable, safe and equitable world for future generations.

Our commitment to global citizenship education and intercultural learning (GCEICL) is informed by two main sources. Firstly, our Catholic Carmelite faith calls upon us to nourish an inclusive community which aims to achieve a peaceful and sustainable future and dignity for all. Pope Francis echoes these calls in “Laudato Si,” which has been instrumental in helping the people and leaders of the world recognise the seriousness of the environmental crisis facing our common home. In “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis teaches about a love capable of transcending borders so that the human family can live in harmony and peace whilst valuing our diversity and honouring the inherent dignity in each and every individual. Our Carmelite tenets of contemplation, community and service ask us to undertake thorough self-reflection and engage in critical and creative thinking practices, whilst investing in our relationships within our communities and acting in the service of others – all qualities reflected in a global citizen.

Secondly, our standing as an innovative, 21st century educational institution, recognised by our CIS accreditation, requires us to develop educative programs which respond to the demands of an everchanging, dynamic world. Our world is indeed changing, at a rapid pace, and as educators we are committed to ensuring that our students enjoy an engaging learning experience that equips them with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in this dynamic world, both during and beyond their time at Whitefriars. Ultimately, we want our students to be happy, healthy and successful individuals who are empowered to act as agents of positive change in their local and global communities.

Towards the end of Term 1, staff gathered during one of our professional learning afternoons to develop a ‘vision for learning’ at Whitefriars, which involved identifying the key attributes of a global citizen that should be mapped within our curriculum, assessment and reporting. We also identified areas of strength and opportunity in our current practice and made suggestions for future directions. Last week, 54 brave students joined me to undertake the same discussions at our first Student Voice Conference, as we recognise the immense power in harnessing student voice to co-create learning experiences. These students offered valuable insights and creative ideas which will help to shape our planning in this space.

Whilst the staff and student discussions provided countless moments of compassion, wisdom and thoughtful reflection, I would like to share one comment from a student, who, when asked the question “If you were empowered to become a global citizen, what do you think you could achieve?” responded,

I believe I could inspire some change and bring about some action to make the world safer and more equal for everyone by creating inclusive and welcoming communities that care for our planet. Even if the change I can make is small, it can still benefit others and send a message so other people step up and make a difference, too.

This is an incredibly exciting space for our school, and I look forward to sharing our progress with you.


Ms Tanya Vandervelde

Interculturalism Leader