The Citizenship in the World Merit Badge: Your Ultimate Guide In 2020


Citizenship in the World is an Eagle-required merit badge aimed at connecting scouts to their global community. In earning the Citizenship in the World merit badge, you’ll learn about various institutions that promote world peace, the different forms of government that exist internationally, as well as ways that you can support our planet as a global citizen.

In this guide, I’ll be walking you through the answers to each of the Citizenship in the World knowledge requirements so that you can complete your merit badge worksheet and earn this Eagle-required badge. Global events can be a complex topic, so read along carefully. Take the time to write my answers in your own words, and try to understand their message.

If you have other Eagle-required merit badges to earn, you should check out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to my other merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I know this resource will be helpful to scouts on their road to Eagle!

Also, remember that ScoutSmarts should just serve as your starting point for merit badge research. In school, we’re taught not to plagiarize, and the same is true for Scouting worksheets. Answer these questions in your own words, do further research, and I promise you’ll gain much more from every merit badge you earn!

Now, it’s time to get started. Thoroughly read through each of the Citizenship in the World requirements. Then, I’ll help you to answer each question and earn your next merit badge!

What Are The Citizenship in the World Merit Badge Requirements?

  1. Explain what citizenship in the world means to you and what you think it takes to be a good world citizen.
  2. Explain how one becomes a citizen in the United States, and explain the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizenship. Discuss the similarities and differences between the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizens and the citizens of two other countries.
  3. Do the following:
    a. Pick a current world event. In relation to this current event, discuss with your counselor how a country’s national interest and its relationship with other countries might affect areas such as” its security, its economy, its values, and the health of its citizens.
    b. Select a foreign country and discuss with your counselor how its geography, natural resources, and climate influence its economy and its global partnerships with other countries.
  4. Do TWO of the following:
    a. Explain international law and how it differs from national law. Explain the role of international law and how international law can be used as a tool for conflict resolution.
    b. Using resources such as major daily newspapers, the Internet (with your parent’s permission), and news magazines, observe a current issue that involves international trade, foreign exchange, balance of payments, tariffs, and free trade. Explain what you have learned. Include in your discussion an explanation of why countries must cooperate in order for world trade and global competition to thrive.
    c. Select TWO of the following organizations and describe their role in the world.
    1. The United Nations and UNICEF
    2. The World Court
    3. Interpol
    4. World Organization of the Scout Movement
    5. The World Health Organization
    6. Amnesty International
    7. The International Committee of the Red Cross
    8. CARE (Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere)
    9. European Union
  5. Do the following:
    a. Discuss the differences between constitutional and nonconstitutional governments.
    b. Name at least five different types of governments currently in power in the world.
    c. Show on a world map countries that use each of these five different forms of government.
  6. Do the following:
    a. Explain how a government is represented abroad and how the United States government is accredited to international organizations.

    b. Explain the purpose of a passport and visa for international travel.
    c. Describe the roles of the following in the conduct of foreign relations.
    1. Ambassador
    2. Consul
    3. Bureau of International Information Programs
    4. Agency for International Development
    5. United States and Foreign Commercial Service
  7. Do TWO of the following (with your parent’s permission) and share with your counselor what you have learned:
    a. Visit the website of the U.S. State Department. Learn more about an issue you find interesting that is discussed on this website.
    b. Visit the website of an international news organization or foreign government, OR examine a foreign newspaper available at your local library, bookstore, or newsstand. Find a news story about a human right realized in the United States that is not recognized in another country.
    c. Visit with a student or Scout from another country and discuss the typical values, holidays, ethnic foods, and traditions practiced or enjoyed there.
    d. Attend a world Scout jamboree.
    e. Participate in or attend an international event in your area, such as an ethnic festival, concert, or play.

1) Explain what citizenship in the world means to you and what you think it takes to be a good world citizen.

Since this question asks for your opinion of what it means to be a good citizen, I’d recommend you use my response to develop your own answer:

Since there is no official form of citizenship on a global level, being a good world citizen is more about being informed and helping your fellow man than it is about pledging your allegiance to any group. It’s about embracing the shared humanity amongst all people, regardless of skin color, gender, or any other factors that might separate us.

To me, being a good world citizen means being aware of issues occurring on a global scale. It means trying to help wherever you can and having empathy for those in difficult situations all around the world. It means not looking at borders that separate us, but instead, focusing on the similarities that bind us together.

2) Explain how one becomes a citizen in the United States, and explain the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizenship. Discuss the similarities and differences between the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizens and the citizens of two other countries.

As I also covered in the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge guide, there are 4 primary ways that a person can gain United States citizenship.

  • Being born on US soil
  • Being born of parents who are US citizens
  • Applying for US citizenship and completing a lengthy immigration process (This is called becoming a naturalized citizen)
  • Through the completed naturalization of parents if a child is under 18 at the time.

Every US citizen has non-negotiable expectations that are placed on them at birth or when they become naturalized. 

Some of your duties as a US citizen include:

  • Making yourself aware of all federal, state, and local laws.
  • Following all laws and regulations in good faith.
  • If you witness any crimes, reporting what you’ve seen to the authorities.
  • Attending jury duty if you are called upon.
  • Paying all of your taxes honestly and in a timely manner.
  • Fighting in the military and defending your country, if necessary.
  • Voting in local, state, and federal elections to strengthen our democracy.

Some of your most important rights as a US citizen include:

  • The right to vote (if age 18 or older).
  • Freedom of speech, religion, and expression.
  • The right to a quick, fair trial by jury.
  • Freedom to apply for employment and work within the country.
  • The ability to run for a political office.
  • The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Similarities and differences between the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizens and the citizens of two other countries

United States vs. United Kingdom

The government of the United Kingdom (UK) shares many of the same values and principles as our government here in the US. Both US and UK citizens are expected to vote and are given the right to free expression. However, some differences in citizen obligations between the US and UK include healthcare costs and state welfare. In the UK, healthcare is free and provided by the government!

United States vs. North Korea

On the other hand, the US and North Korea are vastly different. In North Korea, citizens have very few rights and cannot freely express opinions that differ from those of the regime. One of the few similarities though is that many citizens in both the US and North Korea believe that peace can be achieved through strength, and are willing to dutifully serve in the military to achieve those ends.

Do the following:
3a) Pick a current world event. In relation to this current event, discuss with your counselor how a country’s national interest and its relationship with other countries might affect areas such as” its security, its economy, its values, and the health of its citizens.

At the time of writing this article, a current world event is the Coronavirus pandemic which began in China, but is now occurring on a global scale. To briefly recap, the Coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, and has currently infected thousands of people, some of whom are citizens of European countries or the US.

Because the Chinese government limits the free-speech of its citizens, there is a possibility that we do not know the full extent of the coronavirus’s spread in China. However, many countries have sent in aid and the international community is working together on developing a cure for this illness.

Obviously, pandemics pose a great risk to a country’s security, economic progress, and public health. However, there’s also a silver lining. Times of crisis give humanity a chance to come together against a common threat. By working together with China to fight the Coronavirus, we could build stronger bonds, leading to greater levels of cooperation and prosperity in the future.

3b) Select a foreign country and discuss with your counselor how its geography, natural resources, and climate influence its economy and its global partnerships with other countries.

Since the current world event in 3a) revolved around China, I’ll also be covering China for this requirement. China is one of the largest countries in the world, with a diverse range of geographic features including coastlines, mountains, deserts, plains, and rain forests.

Some of China’s natural resources are mineral deposits and fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. China also has a wealth of water that is used to generate electricity and irrigate crops. Due to China’s large population of over 1 billion people, the country also has a wealth of human labor.

China is a major global exporter and produces much of the world’s machinery and electrical equipment. With its abundance of natural resources, China has been able to establish strong global partnerships with other countries like the US and Japan. This has lead to China’s rapid economic growth and allowed it to achieve valuable technological breakthroughs.

Do TWO of the following:
4a) Explain international law and how it differs from national law. Explain the role of international law and how international law can be used as a tool for conflict resolution.

National law applies only to its country’s citizens and are the laws that you and I (hopefully 😛 ) follow on a daily basis. International law is an agreement among countries. While national law can differ among countries, international law is consistent between all agreeing nations and exists to promote the welfare of all humankind.

Below is a quick list of the similarities and differences between national and international law:

National Law

  • Handled entirely by a single country without outside input.
  • National laws do not extend outside of a country’s borders
  • Various range of punishments can be assigned for breaking national law.
  • Mainly applies to individuals
  • Based on a country’s foundational documents (constitution).

Both

  • Written laws/agreements that will result in a punishment if violated.
  • Verdicts delivered by a court system.
  • Focused on maintaining peace and finding justice.
  • Can be amended to follow changes in human beliefs and principles.

International Law

  • Decided upon by many countries working together.
  • Exists everywhere, even outside of any country’s borders
  • Punishments mainly include fines or sanctions
  • Mainly applies to countries.
  • Based on agreements among countries (treaties).

Essentially, international law refers to the responsibilities that countries have to each other, as well as to the world and its people. Since the main goal of international law is to promote peace, it can serve as a mediator between countries and be a useful tool for discouraging war or ending conflicts.

Alternate Requirement:
4b) Using resources such as major daily newspapers, the Internet (with your parent’s permission), and news magazines, observe a current issue that involves international trade, foreign exchange, balance of payments, tariffs, and free trade. Explain what you have learned. Include in your discussion an explanation of why countries must cooperate in order for world trade and global competition to thrive.

4c) Select TWO of the following organizations and describe their role in the world.
  • The United Nations and UNICEF
  • The World Court
  • Interpol
  • World Organization of the Scout Movement
  • The World Health Organization
  • Amnesty International
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross
  • CARE (Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere)
  • European Union

World Organization of the Scout Movement:

As you might already know, Scouting exists outside of just the US. The World Organization of the Scout Movement serves to support Scouting in 216 countries around the world! I’ve actually written a full article going into more detail on the WOSM, as well as global Scouting. It’s an interesting read, so if you want to learn more you can check it out here.

For a quick summary, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) was first established in 1922 and serves to support National Scout Organizations (like Scouts BSA) through training, projects, and events. The WOSM hosts annual conferences, and is broken up into 6 regions: Africa, Arab, Asia-Pacific, Eurasia, Europe, and Interamerica.

European Union:

Throughout most of history, various European empires have been at war with each other. However, after World War II, everyone was sick of fighting and the United Nations was formed. This led to an extended era of peace and cooperation in Europe. In 1993, the citizens of European countries decided to take things a step further and created a political and economic alliance called the European Union (EU).

As part of the EU, all 27 (As of February 2020) member countries agreed to abide by shared laws and work together for the betterment of Europe and its people. Some of the many benefits resulting from the EU were the creation of a standardized European currency (the Euro) and the ability to travel between most European countries without a passport.

Do the following:
5a) Discuss the differences between constitutional and nonconstitutional governments.

A constitutional government exists when a country is governed by a written set of principles and laws that are superior to the powers of any elected official. For instance, the US is a constitutional government because it has a constitution that outlines the rights and responsibilities of its leaders and citizens.

On the other hand, a non-constitutional government does not limit its leader’s power, and will typically take the form of a monarchy or dictatorship. Officials and leaders of nonconstitutional governments have unchecked power and are able to make political decisions, administer punishment, and change or create laws as they see fit.

The main difference between a non-constitutional government and a constitutional government is that a constitutional government has limited power (leader’s power is checked), adheres to a higher law (no party is above the law), and has constitutional stability (can’t easily change laws).

Constitutional Government
(United States)

  • The US is an example of a constitutional government.
  • Elected officials must follow the laws of the constitution, and can be removed from office or imprisoned for crimes.
  • The constitution cannot be changed without following established procedures and receiving the input of citizens.
  • A court system exists to fairly establish justice among citizens.
  • Citizens are protected by the constitution and free to exercise certain rights.

Non-constitutional Government
(North Korea)

  • North Korea is an example of a non-constitutional government.
  • People in authority are above the law, and not held responsible for any crimes they might commit.
  • The leaders are free to create and change laws at will.
  • A non-constitutional court system may be biased, or might not even exist at all.
  • The majority of citizens do not have rights and can be imprisoned or killed unjustly.
5b) Name at least five different types of governments currently in power in the world.

To my surprise, identifying a single type of government for a country is tricky because no two countries in a category are the same. There’s even an extensive debate on what type of government we have here in the US! My answers are drawn from the most credible sources on Google, so I’m confident they’re as close to correct as possible.

  • Federal Republic and a Constitutional Representative Democracy (The United States of America): Basically, this means that the US has a union of states (federal) that are run by a strong, elected leader, as well as other elected officials (republic). The US is governed by a constitution (constitutional), and it’s citizens elect representatives to handle governance (representative democracy).

  • Totalitarian Dictatorship (North Korea): Originally established under a Communist ideology, North Korea is currently run as a non-constitutional dictatorship and heavily limits the freedoms of its citizens. In a totalitarian dictatorship, all media is censored and travel outside the country is prohibited.

  • Socialist Republic run by a single party (China): Chinese leaders would call China’s government a ‘socialist democracy.’ However, China’s Communist party determines what political parties can run for office. Although the democracy index classifies China as authoritarian, China’s citizens have more rights and freedoms than those in North Korea.

  • Constitutional Monarchy (The United Kingdom) where the monarch doesn’t make political decisions: The UK is a constitutional government that operates from a democratic basis. The queen acts mainly as a figurehead and does not make important political decisions. The rights and freedoms of its citizens are protected by law.

  • Federal semi-presidential Republic (Russia): Russia has a constitution, and describes itself to be a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia is run by a single president, along with a cabinet of other appointed officials. As of 2004, the Human Rights Index marks Russia only as ‘partially free.’
5c) Show on a world map countries that use each of these five different forms of government.
Do the following:
6a) Explain how a government is represented abroad and how the United States government is accredited to international organizations.

Governments are represented abroad by their political heads of state, ambassadors, or other high-ranking leaders in diplomatic roles. These individuals represent their country’s interests on an international stage and participate in organizations such as the United Nations and NATO.

To be involved in these organizations, a group or individual will need to be accredited. Being accredited is like being certified, and basically means that one’s membership has been officially approved and that they’d been ‘sworn in’. The United States government is accredited to international organizations by agreeing to the organization’s bylaws and becoming an official member. 

Both ambassadors and groups can be accredited to organizations and will be expected to participate in the organization’s activities. The accredited group or individual must also try to promote whatever cause the organization is supporting.

6b) Explain the purpose of a passport and visa for international travel.

A passport is a method of identification and is used to signify one’s citizenship to their home country. It is always necessary to carry a passport when traveling internationally.

A visa is used to specify the reasons why someone might be traveling to another country, as well as the length of time they’re allowed to stay. Some countries have an agreement with the United States and do not require a visa for entry.

Both passports and visas exist to keep track of visitors entering into a country and to prevent illegal immigration. When traveling internationally, it is usually required that you bring a passport and visa to be granted entrance into another country. Your visa and passport will be checked and verified by customs (border protection) upon arrival.

6c) Describe the roles of the following in the conduct of foreign relations.
  • Ambassador
  • Consul
  • Bureau of International Information Programs
  • Agency for International Development
  • United States and Foreign Commercial Service

I switched 6b) and 6c) for formatting reasons. No big deal and congrats, you’re almost finished! Now, let’s dive into a few useful definitions surrounding foreign relations.

  • Ambassador: An ambassador is a high-ranking official representative of a sovereign state, who also typically has accreditation to either another sovereign state or an international organization.

    Ambassadors represent the interests of a country’s head of state (president). There can only be one ambassador from one country to another. The purpose of an ambassador is to support the relations between the two countries, foster trade, and promote peace.

  • Consul: A consul is an official representative of a country who is sent to live in the territory of another. There can be multiple consuls sent from one country to another, with their job being to help their own country’s citizens, as well as others looking to travel abroad to the consul’s country.

  • Bureau of International Information Programs: The Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) is overseen by the US department of state and works to manage America’s reputation abroad.

    By creating videos, publications, strategic communications, and virtual programs, specifically for targeted international audiences, the IIP manages the international image of the US. It is also responsible for ensuring the infrastructure for our diplomatic websites are up-to-date and functioning correctly.

  • Agency for International Development: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is responsible for distributing civilian foreign aid and helping develop new infrastructure in 3rd world countries.

    The goal of this organization is to help people overseas create a better life and adopt democratic values. USAID is one of the largest aid organizations in the world, with a budget exceeding $27 billion that they contribute to international causes each year.

  • The United States and Foreign Commercial Service: The Foreign Commercial Service (CS) is a section of the US Department of Commerce and supports US businesses around the globe.

    By helping US business owners to sell their goods internationally and avoid trade barriers, the CS helps to increase the total profits of US companies by billions of dollars each year.
Do TWO of the following (with your parent’s permission) and share with your counselor what you have learned:
7a) Visit the website of the U.S. State Department. Learn more about an issue you find interesting that is discussed on this website.

You can use my example in 3a) as a framework to summarize the article you’ve chosen. Try to use the knowledge you’ve already learned to better understand how national, political, and economic interests might be influencing the issue you’ve chosen. Good luck! 🙂

The website of the U.S. State Department can be accessed at https://www.state.gov/.  

7b) Visit the website of an international news organization or foreign government, OR examine a foreign newspaper available at your local library, bookstore, or newsstand. Find a news story about a human right realized in the United States that is not recognized in another country.

Below are the websites of three international news organizations. On any one of these sites, you should be able to find stories about individuals fighting for greater freedoms and more human rights in their own country. 

Hopefully, reading the article will help you to recognize that you’re blessed to live in a time and country where your fate isn’t entirely determined by the conditions of your birth. Throughout history, this has almost never been the case. Maybe even take a second to appreciate your luck and feel grateful. 🙂

British and world news: https://www.bbc.com/news

Middle-Eastern and world news: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Indian and world news: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world

Alternate Requirements:
7c) Visit with a student or Scout from another country and discuss the typical values, holidays, ethnic foods, and traditions practiced or enjoyed there.
7d) Attend a world Scout jamboree.
7e) Participate in or attend an international event in your area, such as an ethnic festival, concert, or play.

Conclusion

Congratulations! If you’ve been sticking with me this far, you’re now prepared to earn your Citizenship in the World, Eagle-required merit badge! In my opinion, the point of Citizenship in the World is to teach scouts that in spite of how big the world is out there, we’re all people. We should always do good, whenever possible.

Thanks for reading this far! I’m constantly writing new content for ScoutSmarts.com to help scouts like you, and I would really appreciate it if you could share this website with your troop buddies. Doing so would grow the site so that we can impact even more scouts.

On a final note, if you’re pushing to reach Eagle, you might also want to check out some of my other Eagle-required merit badge guides. Anyway, I hope to see you here again soon and, until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey! 🙂

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content for this website because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making this world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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