Global Competence Framework

presented by the California Global Education Project

Global Competence is the disposition and knowledge to understand and act on issues of global significance (CCSSO & Asia Society). Those issues are identified in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by countries to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all (United Nations). Globally competent individuals are life-long learners who understand these issues and have an appreciation for cultural differences, an ability to understand and consider multiple perspectives, use critical and comparative thinking skills as well as problem-solving abilities, and are comfortable with ambiguity and change (World Savvy).


What is Global Competence?

The California Global Education Project (CGEP) has adopted the four domains, or capacities, for global competence presented by CCSSO & Asia Society (2011) to foster awareness and curiosity about how the world works, which is informed by disciplinary and interdisciplinary insights. CGEP agrees that globally competent students are able to:

Investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, framing significant problems and conducting well-crafted and age-appropriate research.    

Recognize perspectives, others’ and their own, articulating and explaining such perspectives thoughtfully and respectfully.

Communicate ideas effectively with diverse audiences, bridging geographic, linguistic, ideological, and cultural barriers.    

Take action to improve conditions, viewing themselves as players in the world and participating reflectively.

How can we develop Global Competence?

CGEP identifies the following specific indicators, or competencies, within these four domains for educators, students, parents/guardians, and community partners to use for themselves and for instructional purposes in developing global competence.


  • Pose questions to better understand issues and perspectives

  • Identify and suspend assumptions and judgements

  • Recognize the value of each person in a global community

  • Explore the world with curiosity


  • Keep an open mind

  • Empathize with others

  • Identify my personal perspectives and influences

  • Examine the perspectives and influences of others

  • Consider multiple perspectives and opinions

  • Analyze cultural influences, connections, and contexts


  • Share ideas and context with diverse audiences

  • Actively listen to others

  • Engage in civil discourse

  • Consider the audience and communicate appropriately


  • Use evidence and values to guide plans

  • Assess options and consider the potential impact of planned actions

  • Apply creative thinking and solve problems

  • Capitalize on available resources and partnerships

  • Persist through challenges

  • Act and reflect individually and collaboratively

  • Act with respect for individual dignity, differences, and human rights

  • Contribute to a better world

Combined with the Sustainable Development Goals, these global competence indicators guide the work of CGEP in supporting global education in PK-12 programs in California. The rationale and core philosophy described below provide the underpinnings for that work. 


Why develop Global Competence?

Why focus our work with educators and students’ attention to the global competence indicators identified above? These are some of the reasons and positive outcomes for global competence at three levels – personal (self), community (family, local or regional, groups or organizations), and world (global):

Personal: ● motivate and inspire yourself ● understand yourself & others ● develop empathy ● remain curious ● be a life-long learner

Community: ● relate to and participate in a community ● understand and learn from others’ experiences ● inspire community

World: ● see commonalities and patterns among and across communities ● see yourself in the bigger picture and feel connected ● be informed and inspired ● learn how others address common human challenges and opportunities

Personal: ● be reflective ● value personal contributions ● practice agency ● engage yourself and others in civic responsibilities ● apply empathy

Community: ● build understanding and connections in the community ●  decipher the common good ● value the insights and experiences of others ● better understand your community ● develop awareness of how power dynamics influence narratives

World: ● understand commonalities and differences among people and environments ● learn from others ● appreciate differing ideas, practices, lifestyles, and beliefs

Personal: ● identify and discuss important issues ● develop listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing skills ● form your thoughts and opinions, share with others, and reflect on feedback ● take risks ● develop and share your own understanding of the common good

Community: ● bring attention to important issues with a purpose ● be inclusive and value the ideas of others ● practice civil discourse ● generate discussion about issues that affect the community

World: ● promote progress ● engage in a global learning community ● help others solve problems and allow others to help you solve problems

Personal: ● transform your thoughts and opinions into action ● make your voice count ● practice empathy ● manage time and other resources ● use confidence, commitment, and authenticity to sustain your actions

Community: ● work with others ● find common ground ● identify and utilize community assets ● acknowledge your privilege within the community ● persist in times of adversity ● develop creative solutions ● raise collective awareness for a greater impact

World: ● interact with others as a global citizen ● work in unique circumstances, manage deadlines, collaborate with others, and produce results ● use your privilege in benefitting others ● move beyond your immediate communities ● contribute to a better world

What drives this work?

CGEP is an organization with a core philosophy for global education, which serves as a foundation for these global competence indicators. The following beliefs form a core philosophy and serve as the underpinnings of our work to develop global competence:

1. Identity: An examination of self and one’s identities is critical in the ability to develop one’s own global competence. For students, this examination requires research and reflection about multiple facets of identity – racial, ethnic, gender, religious, socioeconomic, age, family, and other cultural factors. For educators, this examination helps to inform how global competence is framed and fostered in their students. In other words, educators must develop global competence themselves before and while supporting student development of global competence.

2. Diversity: We value multicultural and multilingual societies and celebrate the benefits of living in a diverse community and world.

3. Equity: Global education is for all students. Every student has important and valuable contributions to make in a global community as well as in a global studies program. Each student deserves the opportunities and the benefits of a global education. In our increasingly interconnected world, a global education is essential for people to navigate the world in which they live and have equal access to opportunities.

4. Perspectives: Global issues are complex, interconnected, interdependent, and are informed and influenced by historical, geographic, political, cultural, and economic forces.

5. Foundations: Understanding and appreciation of world history, geography, cultures, and belief systems provide a basis to developing global competence.

6. Collaboration: California educators have an opportunity to empower their students to address local and global problems identified in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

7. Interdisciplinary: The work to foster global competencies in students is interdisciplinary and aligned with existing state frameworks, standards, and initiatives that guide our work and to which educators are accountable:

  • History-Social Science Framework

  • English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework

  • California Science Framework

  • Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

  • California World Language Standards

  • California Health Framework

  • California Visual and Performing Arts Framework

  • Partnership for 21st Century Framework

  • A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy

  • Career Technical Education Standards

8. Access: Fostering global competencies in students occurs across grades PK-12 and requires developmentally appropriate learning experiences.  

9. Engagement: Globally competent citizens are inspired to advocate for themselves, their communities, the common good, and a better world.

10. Inclusion: Global education can occur in many courses and programs, and is not isolated to social studies, world languages, or special programs (e.g., International Baccalaureate). Travel abroad and language learning are important aspects of global education, but are not the goals or markers of global competence.

11. Empowerment: Global education is intended to prepare students to become active citizens in an ever-changing world. It is not designed for students to feel guilt, sadness, sorrow, or helplessness about the conditions of others. While students should learn about their own identities and the cultures of others, global education is not simply a parade of food, festivals, and flags. In developing global competence, students consider cultures, values, and contexts while suspending assumptions and judgements. They ask questions and conduct research to better understand situations before communicating ideas and taking actions that are solution-oriented. Students realize that fundraising and giving items to others may provide temporary relief, but is rarely a long-term solution to a complex problem. While taking some actions may make people feel better in the short term, globally competent students realize that the best course of action to a complex problem is one that sheds light on issues in order to promote change and improve the conditions of people, plant and animal species, and the environment for the health of the planet.

12. Action: Globally competent active citizens are aware of how power and justice play out in the actions they take. While students are taking action to advance their communities, they are listening closely to those most affected by whatever challenge they are aiming to help mitigate. Students are looking at themselves as actors, and considering their place in the process of taking action for sustained change. Globally competent students use a systems approach before taking action to ensure that unintended negative consequences are minimized. After taking action, students engage in an iterative process of reflection that prepares them to leverage their strengths as globally competent individuals to make sustained contributions to their local and global community over the course of their lifetime.

How can we monitor progress toward global competence?

ASCD has developed a Globally Competent Learning Continuum (2017) for educators to use as a tool for reflection and growth.

The California Global Education Network (2017) has developed benchmarks using the CGEP Global Competence Indicators for use with K-12 students. These benchmarks are intended to guide greater understanding of global competence among educators, parents, community partners, and students, and support the implementation of global education programs in K-12 classrooms, after-school programs, and informal education settings.

We recognize the value of these indicators and benchmarks as tools to engage parents, guardians, and business/community partners in building global citizenship together with educators. However, we want to hear how you are using them in your work and how we can support you to develop global citizens in your classroom, school, and district. Please share with us your questions, comments, ideas, and suggestions here.

As the work of CGEN and the California Subject Matter Projects (CSMP) continues, these indicators and benchmarks will be used in communications, forums, professional learning, and resource development for the benefit of K-12 global education in California. Stay connected to CGEN, CGEP, California World Language Project, and other CSMPs for forthcoming information and opportunities.


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