Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
13 May 2022

The Future of Youth Engagement

AHCD researchers met with representatives of the Global Youth Mobilization for a roundtable discussion on the challenges facing young people.

Climate change, the rising cost of living, political instability and war, disinformation, the impact of the gig economy and AI on job markets – young people today face a perfect storm of challenges and an uncertain future. How can youth organisations like the ‘Big Six’—the six largest youth movements—work in collaboration to tackle these issues, stay relevant, and support young people?

On Thursday 12 May, representatives of the Global Youth Mobilization—an initiative through which the ‘Big Six’ have joined forces with the World Health Organization and United Nations Foundation to launch the “Global Youth Mobilization for Generation Disrupted”—visited the Graduate Institute for a dialogue with AHCD researchers whose research focuses on contemporary challenges faced by youth. The goal of this workshop was for them to receive inputs from our researchers on lessons learned and key points that may be useful in their strategic planning.

In introductory remarks, Achim Wennmann, Director for Strategic Partnerships of the Graduate Institute, noted that such Chatham House-style meetings were close to the Institute’s heart, and that understanding the realities of youth was essential as higher education is being rethought to deal with complexity, turbulence, and interdisciplinarity.

Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary-General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, noted the importance of the Global Youth Mobilization and of the workshop, describing today’s youth as a “Gen D”, i.e. a generation disrupted or generation in waiting. Loris Tarazi and Michelle Chew, Youth Board Representatives, then presented Global Youth Mobilization’s focus on grassroots local solutions, driving national change, and championing young people.

Christine Lutringer, AHCD Executive Director and Senior Researcher, introduced the Centre’s researchers. Laura Bullon-Cassis, AHCD PhD Researcher and Doctoral Candidate at New York University, described challenges faced by young people who foreground their youth in UN climate summits as youth receives more attention from media and political actors. Jerôme Duberry, AHCD Research Associate and Managing Director of the Tech Hub, noted the importance of informal and innovative governance designed by youth at different levels, both high and low tech. Maria Mexi, AHCD Research Fellow, described findings from a study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth labour, including that social dialogue with and for young people is not keeping pace with the youth employment landscape.


The event concluded with a Q&A and reception.