What is Global Competence?

Global competence is “the disposition and capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance.”* It is rooted in our changing reality and is constantly evolving with the world.

The Global Competence Matrix, developed by the GCC founding partners, comprises core concepts, skills, values, attitudes and behaviors, including: appreciation for cultural differences, ability to understand and consider multiple perspectives, capacity for highly critical and analytical thinking, comfort with ambiguity and change, and understanding the complexity of global issues. The Matrix is used as a guideline with the expectation that these components will change over time as a more diverse cross-section of educators and learners contribute to the process.

*Definition developed by EdSteps and Asia Society.

Global Competence Matrix

Globally competent individuals possess and apply the following qualities, characteristics, and abilities to learning about and engaging with globally significant issues. Educators that aspire to help students become globally competent must both develop these attributes in themselves and find ways to foster them in students.

Core Concepts

  • World events and global issues are complex and interdependent
  • The current world system is shaped by historical forces
  • One’s own culture and history is key to understanding one’s relationship to others
  • Multiple conditions fundamentally affect diverse global forces, events, conditions, and issues


  • Investigates the world by framing questions, analyzing and synthesizing relevant evidence, and drawing reasonable conclusions that lead to further enquiry
  • Recognizes, articulates, and applies an understanding of different perspectives (including his/her own)
  • Selects and applies appropriate tools and strategies to communicate and collaborate effectively
  • Listens actively and engages in inclusive dialogue
  • Is fluent in 21st century digital technology
  • Demonstrates resiliency in new situations
  • Applies critical, comparative, and creative thinking and problem solving

Attitudes & Values

  • Openness to new opportunities, ideas and ways of thinking
  • Desire to engage with others
  • Self-awareness about identity and culture, and sensitivity and respect for differences
  • Valuing multiple perspectives
  • Comfort with ambiguity and unfamiliar situations
  • Reflection on context and meaning of our lives in relationship to something bigger
  • Questions prevailing assumptions
  • Adaptability and the ability to be cognitively nimble
  • Empathy
  • Humility


  • Seeks out and applies an understanding of different perspectives to problem solving and decision making
  • Forms opinions based on exploration and evidence
  • Commits to the process of continuous learning and reflection
  • Adopts shared responsibility and takes cooperative action
  • Shares knowledge and encourages discourse
  • Translates ideas, concerns, and findings into appropriate and responsible individual or collaborative actions to improve conditions
  • Approaches thinking and problem solving collaboratively