Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Social Welfare

First Advisor

Ram A. Cnaan


Youth social and economic well-being continues to be a marker for the well-being of a community. As the world continues to globalize, if and how youth are socially and economically well is even more important. One way of assessing youth’s adjustment to the globalizing world is through their ability to efficiently transition from youth to independent adulthood. The United States does not have policies that require global integration or global citizenship education within the educational or social systems. Therefore, meditating structures are needed to ensure that youth receive the necessary skills—namely global citizenship skills—for a better personal and societal future.

This dissertation addresses the problem via three papers. The first paper is an observational study that highlights the ways that religious congregations have supported individuals and communities when the government or policies do not provide the resources needed. With this historical overview, religious congregations could serve as mediating structures to help youth prepare for life in a global society and economy. Papers two and three are quantitative approaches that center on youth and religious congregations, respectively. For paper two, the 18-country secondary data analysis uses World Values Survey data to assess youth’s identification as global citizens and their religious connections. Using primary surveys for the third paper, a pilot study assesses religious leaders in the Philadelphia area to best understand how religious congregations’ youth-based programming and teachings align with global citizenship tenets stemming from globalization.

These combined studies highlight that preparing youth for a global society and workforce is another opportunity for religious congregations to serve as a mediating structure. Across 18 countries, many youth identify as both global citizens and religious. Religious leaders identify their youth as global citizens and promote the moral ethics of global citizenship. An opportunity for religious congregations to support youth is to help them understand how globalization and global citizenship can impact their lives—socially and economically. A starting place for this support is to increase youth’s comfort levels with people from diverse backgrounds and foster more global identity discussions with existing programming. Through collaborations with social workers, global citizenship educators, and corporations with religious congregations, this endeavor is feasible.

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