The Foreign Service Journal - April 2014 - page 55

APRIL 2014
America’s First Globals: The Millennial Generation
On March 4, AFSA welcomed
pollster and political analyst
John Zogby to speak about
his new book,
“First Globals:
Understanding, Managing,
and Unleashing Our Millen-
nial Generation,”
a detailed
analysis of Americans born
between 1979 and 1994.
Zogby maintains that “millen-
nials,” as this cohort are gen-
erally referred to, are more
globally aware than any pre-
vious generation, and strive
to make their workplace and
planet a better place.
Rea son fo r Hope
In that spirit, Zogby opened
his presentation at AFSA
headquarters with a cry of
“Today, I will give you hope!”
He delivered on his promise.
Contradicting a com-
mon misconception, he
insisted that humanity’s “first
globals” are not self-entitled
and lazy. He added that they
are the well-travelled age
cohort, the most willing to
live and work abroad and the
least interested in settling
down. “They have their world
at their fingertips, and they
appreciate the opportunity to
be global,” Zogby says.
The numbers support
his argument: 60 percent of
millennials have a passport,
with a substantial number
of those expecting to work
abroad at some point in their
career. While first globals
appreciate American culture,
fewer than 40 percent of
them view it as superior to
others—significantly fewer
than among older groups.
“In that sense they
America’s first global
Shortly after the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks, Zogby Analyt-
ics conducted a survey on
Americans’ reactions to the
event. They then compared
the millenials’ reactions
with other generations: the
“Nikes” (born between 1964-
1978), the “Woodstockers”
(1946-1964) and the “Pri-
vates” (1926-1945).
While most in the older
age groups turned inward,
most of the millennials
asked, “How can we go to war
with people who listen to the
same music and wear the
same clothes as we do?”
Te c hno l ogy a s
“Game Change r ”
What makes first globals see
the world differently? “Every
age cohort has their influ-
encing factors. For the baby
boomers, it was Woodstock;
for the millennials, it was
technology”: MTV, the Inter-
net and the mobile phone.
Sports and fashion also
play a big role: while ear-
lier generations preferred
American-styled clothes,
Zogby believes that today, it’s
all about “whether they are
cool or not, wearing Versace
or Gucci, or playing soccer
instead of baseball. It’s truly
international nowadays.”
Zogby closed his pre-
sentation by praising first
globals as “a group that
wants to change the world.
They have less hierarchy,
but a better understanding
for immediacy. They are also
used to solving problems
on a horizontal basis.”While
these attitudes present
challeges for older, more
traditional managers—in
both government and the
private sector—it is crucial to
listen to and learn from the
first globals. “Continuing to
do things the way we have
always done is dangerous.”
To view the event online,
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Supports AFSA Scholarship Fund
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ERM also continues to assist AFSA in other ways,
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The company offers personal property and auto
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serving aboard.       
Political analyst and pollster John
Zogby talks about his new book
First Globals
at AFSA headquarters.
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