No Longer on the Sidelines? Youth and Politics


If you have been following public debate on youth and politics in Germany over the last few years, you may have gained the impression of a generation of young people who are increasingly committed to standing up for their interests while, at the same time, feeling that their concerns are not being adequately heard. Number one among these concerns: climate change. But can this impression be generalized and applied to youth worldwide? The articles in this issue of International Reports highlight the regional differences between young people’s social circumstances, problems, and opportunities for political participation. And yet we can still observe one commonality across boarders: youth from all over the world want to create positive change for their societies instead of remaining on the sidelines.

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Content

No Longer on the Sidelines? Youth and Politics

  • Editorial

    If you have been following public debate on youth and politics in Germany over the last few years, you may have gained the impression of a generation of young people who are increasingly committed to standing up for their interests while, at the same time, feeling that their concerns are not being adequately heard. Number one among these concerns: climate change.

    by Gerhard Wahlers

  • Between Hope and Resignation

    Young People and Politics in West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America

    All around the globe – in countries with and without democratically elected governments – young people are taking to the streets to protest about issues concerning them and demanding change. Depending on the region, different experiences shape their view of politics and society. But what are the specific concerns of young people? We turn our focus towards West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

    by Elisabeth Hoffmann, Florian Karner, Katharina Hopp, Alina Reiß, Sebastian Grundberger, Thomas Schaumberg, Laura Rubio

  • The Youth, Peace and Security Agenda in the Context of the United Nations

    Strengthening the Positive Role of Youth in Peace Processes

    Globally, there has been a rise in violent conflict and an increase in civilian casualties since 2010. The majority of conflicts involve low-income countries. According to UN estimates, in 2020, 90 per cent of the world’s 1.85 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 were living in developing countries. Given the increase in armed conflict over the past decade, it is now estimated that more than 25 per cent of youth are exposed to violence and conflict.

    by Andrea Ellen Ostheimer

  • Divided and yet United

    The Palestinian Youth Faces a Contradictory Reality

    Palestinian youth is torn. Fragmented into the different Palestinian territories, young people live under various systems of government and can meet only in exceptional cases. They bear the trauma of previous generations within them and every day are subjected to the challenges of both an Israeli military occupation and repression by Palestinian regimes which are, at least partly, corrupt and authoritarian.

    by Steven Höfner, Alena Jabarine

  • Both Feared and Courted

    Youth in the Spotlight of African Politics

    At over 60 per cent of the population, the generation under the age of 25 represents the largest demographic group in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet most African governments fail to engage young people. While the African Union (AU) has made important progress towards improving youth policy, its ideas often lack practical solutions and are seldom implemented by member states. The latter, for their part, place too much emphasis on employment policy. Instead, the AU and its member states should do more to foster young people’s participation in politics and civil society.

    by Anna Reismann, Benno Müchler

  • Old Rulers, Young People

    Nigeria’s Youth Excluded from Political Participation

    Nigerian society is deeply divided. A large majority of young people is faced with an old political elite that clings to power. Gerontocracy is not only culturally conditioned, but also protected by law. Sharing power is not an option for the established ruling elite.

    by Vladimir Kreck

  • Has the “Neither-Nor” Generation Reached a Dead End?

    The Effects of Social Inequality and the COVID-19 Pandemic on Brazilian Youth

    All areas of Brazilian society were hit hard by the pandemic. Increasing unemployment, declining education, and the absence of adequate state measures have put the country in a precarious situation that reveals the structural problem of inequality and causes frustration and fear about the future, especially among the younger generation.

    by Luiz Gustavo Carlos, Kevin Oswald

  • Fuel for the European Engine

    What Does the Franco-German Partnership Mean for Young People on Both Sides of the Rhine?

    In spring 2021, Hugo Leclerc and Jannis Stöter, along with a group of students, founded the Franco-German think tank La DenkFabrik. The two students spoke to us about the young generation’s view of the Franco-German partnership and European integration – and revealed to us what they associate with Konrad Adenauer.

    by Sören Soika, Fabian Wagener

Other Topics

  • Doing What You Believe Is Right

    Germany’s New Federal Government Must Close the Gap between Ambition and Reality in Foreign Affairs

    The end of an era – that, at least, is how Angela Merkel’s 16-year tenure as German chancellor is currently being described in many international accolades – presents an opportunity for sober review. Are Germany and Europe better off now than they were in 2005? Is their influence greater? Do they have more freedom to manoeuvre? In a changed world, is their model robust, or, to use an English word newly popular in German, is it “resilient”? What about the two traditional pillars of German foreign policy, namely the European Union and transatlantic relations? How much weight does the “West” carry in the world? Answers to these questions point toward the challenges that will confront Germany’s new federal government, particularly with regard to foreign affairs.

    by Frank Priess

About this series

This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.

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Editor

Dr. Gerhard Wahlers

ISBN

0177-7521

Benjamin Gaul

Benjamin Gaul

Head of the Department International Reports and Communication

benjamin.gaul@kas.de +49 30 26996 3584

Dr. Sören Soika

Dr

Editor-in-Chief International Reports (Ai)

soeren.soika@kas.de +49 30 26996 3388

Louisa Heuss

Louisa Heuss (2020)

Desk Officer for Communication and Marketing

louisa.heuss@kas.de +49 30 26996 3916 +49 30 26996 53916

Fabian Wagener

Fabian Wagener

Desk Officer for Multimedia

fabian.wagener@kas.de +49 30-26996-3943