Youth

(Hover your cursor over the YOUTH tab above (that you just clicked) and click on the second YOUTH option to read more recent posts on Youth issues.)

One area of youth development that I have examined over the last 6 months is how youth are perceived by international organisations such as the United Nations and World Bank.  The concept of youth identity was something I wanted to understand more, particularly when youth often feel misunderstood and represented negatively in the media.

In order to build bridges between warring communities (or between adults and youths), it is important to understand not only how people see each other but also how people see themselves. Often how people see us may different from how we see ourselves. This divergence in perceptions is often called the difference between ‘Self’ and ‘Other’. This distinction is often discussed in the racial, post-colonial sense (like Edward Said’s Orientalism) but is still emerging in youth identity studies.

If you would like to read how the UN and World Bank represent youth, feel free to click here:  ELAINE PRATLEY’s THESIS.

My research focussed on youth living in the context of war or during a period of post-conflict reconstruction. Chapter two provides an overview of the three main ‘roles’ youth play during conflict- as victims, as troublemakers (ie child soldiers) and as peacebuilders. Much research on youth living in the midst of war focusses on them as either victims or as troublemakers, but it is only recently that more people are not using the either/or framework and consider it possible for youth to be both roles. There is also growing evidence that youth play a crucial role to peacebuilding.

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