Scouting/BSA/Citizenship in the World Merit Badge

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The requirements to this merit badge are copyrighted by the Boy Scouts of America. They are reproduced in part here under fair use as a resource for Scouts and Scouters to use in the earning and teaching of merit badges. The requirements published by the Boy Scouts of America should always be used over the list here. If in doubt about the accuracy of a requirement, consult your Merit Badge Counselor.
Reading this page does not satisfy any requirement for any merit badge. Per National regulations, the only person who may sign off on requirements is a Merit Badge Counselor, duly registered and authorized by the local Council. To obtain a list of registered Merit Badge Counselors, or to begin a Merit Badge, please contact your Scoutmaster or Council Service Center.

Requirement 1

" in a particular country. The revised 2006 merit badge booklet requires input from the individual scout as this is a subjective question. An example for the answer is, "I believe a citizen in the world is one who contributes to society in one way or another."
...and what you think it takes to be a good world citizen.

This is also a subjective question that requires the individual scout put in his opinions. An example for this part is, "I believe a good world citizen is one who contributes effort to strive for the good of his/her fellow citizens."

Requirement 2

2A) Explain how one becomes a citizen in the United States...

One can become an American citizen in various ways. The 2005 BSA "Citizenship in the World" handbook points these out: 1) "By blood if born to parents who are already citizens of [The United States]" "By soil if born within the legal borders of a nation"

-"Through naturalization" (in which the person must meet certain requirements which can be found here)
-"Through naturalization of parents"
2B) ...and explain the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizenship.

American citizens have a number of rights, such as freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, due process, religion, against quartering soldiers, and against double jeopardy (most of these rights also apply to non-citizens) and are also taxed in order to provide money for essential services. Other duties of American citizens might include obeying laws and voting. Obligations are those elements of citizenship which are required under the law, for example, the obligation to obey the law.

2C) Discuss the SIMILARITIES and DIFFERENCES between the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizens and of two other countries.

A U.S. citizens' rights, duties, and obligations are briefly explained in subsection 2B. Here are examples of how they are similar from those of Chinese and Irish citizens' rights, duties, and obligations in the following manner:

-Both Chinese citizens and U.S. citizens have the obligation to receive education.
-Both Chinese citizens and U.S. citizens have the duty to get a Visa to travel to other countries.
-Both Irish citizens and U.S. citizens have the right to vote.
-Both Irish citizens and U.S. citizens have the duty to serve on a jury when called upon.

Requirement 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.

After World War 1, Germany's economy was hard struck by the effects of the Treaty of Versailles, leading to a national sense of bitterness towards countries like France and the United Kingdom, which help set the stage for World War 2, when Germany invaded many of its neighbors. After World War 2, Japan adopted a constitution that does not allow the creation of a military force, hampering the country's ability to help in military operations with the United Nations and allies like the United States. In the run-up to the 2003 occupation of Iraq, many American commentators expressed bitterness over France's refusal to support the invasion. Many perceived a lack of gratitude for American aid during World War 2, while France's defenders pointed out that country's aid during the American War for Independence. Culture includes a society's language, religion, lifestyle, clothing, decor and many other aspects. Cultural splits within countries sometimes lead to strife because different parts of the country have different interests. The American Civil War is an example of a country torn apart by the opposing interests of culturally distinct regions.

More recently, religious animosity has led to violence and chaos in many Middle-Eastern countries, especially Israel. The creation of Israel was prompted by fears of anti-Semitism leading to a repeat of the attempted genocide of the Jews during the Holocaust, and Israel's foreign relations have long been affected by fears of anti-Semitism harming Jews abroad. Conflicts over religion, geography, ethnicity and other issues have spread in different countries has caused strife and war. For example, the Kurds live in several countries, including Iraq and Turkey, the latter a key US ally in the region. With Kurdish leaders calling for an independent Kurdistan, the US was torn between supporting its Kurdish allies and the Turkish government, which believed that any independence for Iraqi Kurds could spur a revival of similar hopes among Turkish Kurds. Nationalism plays an important role in this phenomenon, which has also included calls for a Greater Somalia, a view that has twice led to war with Ethiopia over the Somali Ogaden region, and Greater Serbia|, a motivation for the Kosovo War. Demographics are the make-up of a country. Some countries have a very young population, such as Zambia, while others have a large elderly population, such as Sweden. Some countries are made up nearly entirely of one ethnic group speaking a single language, such as Iceland, while others are a melting pot of dozens or hundreds of ethnic groups, such as many of the equatorial African countries like the Republic of the Congo.

Demographic conflict has long been a source of strife on the diverse continent of Africa. In South Africa, for example, a white minority long controlled a huge black majority (Apartheid), eventually straining relations with countries like the United States, which imposed an embargo as a result. Ethnically diverse states such as most of the Sub-Saharan African countries were created from European colonies in the region, which had no basis in rational geographic or cultural boundaries. As a result, many of the earliest leaders in these countries pursued as a high priority the formation of a national identity; this occurred in nations across Africa, including Zambia and Sudan. In the rush to create a distinctive culture, minorities and dissenters were often marginalized or oppressed, leading to revolutions and civil strife. Politics can occur within a single country or among countries. Activities involving the internal political landscape of a country can have an affect on national interests and foreign relations through the election or installment of leaders who enact foreign policy, while laws passed by a particular country may have an affect on the economy of a different country.

Internal conflicts between political blocs of capitalists and socialists led to a polarization of international relations. Countries like the United States, France and Italy jockeyed for power with the Soviet Union and satellites in newly-independent countries across Africa, South America and Asia (see The Cold War). Following the internationally divisive US-led occupation of Iraq in 2003, foreign countries around the world were forced to pay close attention to the American political landscape. Some, like Israel, were supportive of the conservative right, while others, like France, supported the liberal left.

The national interests of a country are often very complex, and hinge on multiple factors involving geography, natural resources and climate, as well as social values, security issues and concerns regarding foreign countries.

Geography can affect a country's national resources through several ways. A country's shape can dictate its national interest.

Nearly all countries have some kind of natural resources. It is always in the best interest of the producers of a product (for example oil) to keep prices and demand high.

Because all countries need food and water, climate is extremely important. Without adequate rain, for example, agriculture can not occur and food will have to be imported and this can make a country's economy fall. Weather can also have debilitating effects on trade, both within and outside the boundaries of country.

Below are two links to additional information. They will provide informative graphs that had answered the previous question 4, which is worded exactly as the current question 3b.

Graphed Countries 1: Saudi Arabia

Graphed Countries 2: United States, Tuvalu, Botswana, and Bolivia

Requirement 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

A state is ordinarily said to be sovereign - i.e. capable of enforcing its own laws on its own territory, and only on its own territory (for example, American laws do not apply in France, even if the people involved are all American). International law is a relatively recent invention, and concerns agreements between countries in pacts called treaties. International law can enforce standards (such as standardized weights and measures for the purposes of trade) and proscribe conduct according to treaties concerning human rights. With international organizations enforcing these treaties, often ineffectively, but also often with great success, countries whose governments ignore human rights treaties can be dealt with by multi-national alliances, which are perceived as having more legitimacy if a broken human rights treaty can be blamed.

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.This option requires the scout to do independent research.
C) Select TWO of the following organizations and describe their role in the world.
  • The United Nations- is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace.
  • The World Court- is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. Its main functions are to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and to provide advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorized international organs, agencies, and the UN General Assembly.
  • World Organization of the Scout Movement-The mission of WOSM is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Scout Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society. World Organization of the Scout Movement is organized into regions and operates with a conference, committee and bureau.
  • The World Health Organization-providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed;

shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge; setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation; articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options; providing technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.

  • Amnesty International- is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights with over 3 million members and supporters around the world. The objective of the organisation is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."
  • The International Red Cross- is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, sex, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.
  • CARE-It helps with health with almost all of the countries.

Requirement 5

Do the following:

A) Discuss the differences between constitutional and nonconstitutional governments.

Constitutional governments have a written document stating their laws, rights and responsibilities. It must also be limited in power, follow a higher law, and have constitutional stability. Nonconstitutional governments are dictatorships and absolute monarchies. These are hard on the citizens because they don't have many rights. Totalitarian and authoritarian are the two types of nonconstitutional governments. In an authoritarian government, the power to make decisions is in the hands of one person or a small group. Totalitarian government is another form of authoritarian in which the government controls every aspect of society.

B) Name at least five different types of governments currently in power in the world.

United States- Federal republic, Representative democracy(democratic republic), Canada- Federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, Spain- Parliamentary monarchy, Poland- Republic, Libya- People's Congress, North Korea- Single-party state, Brazil- Democratic federal republic, Niger- Parliamentary democracy.

C) Show on a world map countries that use each of these five different forms of government.

Requirement 6

Do the Following:

A) Explain how a government is represented abroad and how the United States government is accredited to international organizations.

A government is represented abroad by an ambassador or a consul. The United States government is accredited to international organizations based on the requirements of each individual organization. For example, here are the requirements for the United Nations

B) Describe the roles of the following in the conduct of foreign relations:

Ambassador: a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative (ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary), usually for a specific length of time. He or she is a diplomatic official heading his or her country's permanent mission to certain international organizations; such as the United Nations; and is an authorized representative of a nation to deliver their nation's messages and protect the national interest of the nation they represent through diplomatic means.

Consul: an official appointed by the government of one country to look after its commercial interests and the welfare of its citizens in another country, as well as providing assistance to Americans traveling abroad.

Bureau of International Information Programs: The Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) is the principal international strategic communications service for the foreign affairs community. IIP designs, develops, and implements a variety of information initiatives and strategic communications programs, including Internet and print publications, traveling and electronically transmitted speaker programs, and information resource services. These reach--and are created strictly for--key international audiences, such as the media, government officials, opinion leaders, and the general public in more than 140 countries around the world.

U.S Agency for International Development: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. An independent federal agency, USAID receives overall foreign policy guidance from the United States Secretary of State and seeks to "extend a helping hand to those people overseas struggling to make a better life, recover from a disaster or striving to live in a free and democratic country.

United States and Foreign Commercial Service: The U.S. Commercial Service (CS), the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, helps U.S. companies succeed in markets around the world. Led by Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General Suresh Kumar and located across the United States and in U.S. Embassies and Consulates in nearly 80 countries, the CS global network of trade professionals helps thousands of U.S. companies to export goods and services worth billions of dollars every year.

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

A passport is an official document issued to a citizen by a government affirming the individual’s nationality. The passport permits the citizen to travel or live abroad and entitles the citizen to privileges guaranteed by international custom and treaties: safe passage, lawful aid, and protection while under the foreign government’s jurisdiction. A visa is a permit to enter another country and must be issued by the country one wishes to enter. It is a special seal stamped on a valid passport that indicates an official of that country has approved the visit. Prior to leaving, the traveler should apply for a visa-if required by that particular country-at the appropriate foreign embassy or nearest consulate. A foreign national wishing to enter the United States must apply for a visa outside the United States at embassies and consulates worldwide. An immigrant visa permits a person to stay in the United States permanently. A non-immigrant visa allows a foreign national to enter the country for a temporary stay. Tourists, temporary workers, missionaries, business professionals, artists, and athletes travel on temporary visas.

Requirement 7

Do two of the following (with your parent's permission) and share with your counselor what you have learned:

A) Visit the Web site of the U.S. State Department. Learn more about an issue you find interesting that is discussed on this Web site.

Web Site:

Issues Vary.

B) Visit the Web site of an international news organization or foreign government...

Example Websites (news organizations): Al Jazeera

...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.

External Links

Author's Note

Writing this article has been a pleasurable learning experience for me and I am happy to have been able to give back to the scouting community.

I hope that my efforts serve as a reminder to the reader that it is important to both give and take information in order to be a good world citizen.

Earning Merit Badges in the Boy Scouts of America
Merit Badges Required to Attain Eagle Scout
Camping | Citizenship in the Community | Citizenship in the Nation | Citizenship in the World | Communications | Cooking | Cycling OR Hiking OR Swimming | Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving | Environmental Science OR Sustainability | Family Life | First Aid | Personal Fitness | Personal Management |
Earning Merit Badges in the Boy Scouts of America
Personal Development
Citizenship in the Community | Citizenship in the Nation | Citizenship in the World | Communications | Family Life | Personal Fitness | Personal Management | Public Speaking | Reading | Scholarship
Earning Merit Badges in the Boy Scouts of America
National Interests
American Culture | American Heritage | Citizenship in the Community | Citizenship in the Nation | Citizenship in the World | Crime Prevention | Disabilities Awareness | Public Health | Traffic Safety
Earning Merit Badges in the Boy Scouts of America
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