Youth-Led Peace: The Role of Youth in Peace Processes
Project Report. University of Glasgow, Glasgow. Available at: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/242178/
33 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021
Date Written: May 20, 2021
More than 600 million young people live in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Despite being deeply affected by violence in a myriad of ways, young people’s voices are not heard, nor included in the processes of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The ‘youth bulge’ is seen as a driver of instability, and young people are typically portrayed as perpetrators of violence or potential ‘spoilers’ who should be protected from radicalisation and extremism. The active role young people play as peacemakers, mediators and peacebuilders at grassroots and local levels are under-acknowledged and they are often not included in official peace processes. Beyond peacebuilding, young people display ownership, agency and leadership in diverse areas that are of significance to local, regional, national and international peace and security, ranging from climate change to tackling inequalities. Yet, the achievements of young people are hindered due to the absence of adequate recognition, protection, funding and meaningful partnerships.
This report explores the diverse contributions of youth to peace processes and discusses the challenges and barriers young peacebuilders face while working towards peace, based on findings of a consultation with youth-led peacebuilding organisations and a workshop that brought together key actors in the field of Youth, Peace and Security. We then explore the multiple dimensions of inclusion in peace processes and chart potential avenues for future research, policy and practice in light of lessons learned from youth-led peace initiatives.
Keywords: peacebuilding, youth, peace process, inclusion
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