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Wed Apr 3, 2013, 06:40 PM

The First Global Generation

Haley Cohen and Howard Dean
The First Global Generation
Posted: 04/02/2013 1:23 pm

Haley Cohen, 23, is the Economist Correspondent for Argentina and Uruguay. Howard Dean, a former Governor of Vermont and Democratic Presidential candidate, teaches at Hofstra and Yale.


In the op-ed David Brooks wrote for the New York Times last Friday, he portrayed the millennial generation (which we call First Globals) as a group resistant to idealism and nonplussed by global activism. According to Brooks, young people today are disillusioned by the current system but too wary of untested antidotes to push for alternatives. They feel they must be egocentric to be successful.

We disagree.

It is true that many First Globals discount the power of governments and other institutions to effect change, but we would argue that this disenchantment has not led to disengagement. On the contrary, this disillusion with the system combined with new technologies and a shift in parenting styles has increased social consciousness and enabled this First Global generation to approach change making in more direct ways than ever before.

For First Globals, increased access to information has created a heightened awareness of the world's challenges, often leading to a deeper commitment to social and economic justice. The participatory, inclusive nature of the Internet, particularly social networks, has enabled First Globals to make their voices heard on a larger scale. They connect across geographic, socio-economic, religious, and ethnic barriers, in many cases becoming more empathetic and more likely to act. This phenomenon is reinforced by First Globals' parents, who, having lived through the tumultuous '60s and '70s, encourage their First Global children to stand up for what they believe in and show them respect for doing so, thus imbuing them with a sense responsibility and ambition to do good.

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/haley-cohen/global-generation_b_3000065.html


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