Many of today’s youth, at 1.8 billion worldwide, live in areas affected by conflict. The predominant narrative depicts young men as perpetrators of violence and young women as victims. The U.S. Institute of Peace sees youth as agents for positive change and works to equip young peacebuilders with the knowledge and skills they need to bring divided communities together and to manage conflict nonviolently. USIP also helps its youth partners conduct and publish research in their communities, enabling them to develop local solutions to problems and allowing them to be active contributors to the field of peacebuilding.
Youth-Centered Peacebuilding Framework
The Youth-Centered Peacebuilding Framework is a functional guide that proposes an actionable approach for the centering of youth in peacebuilding interventions. The guide operationalizes the concept of youth participation, starting from core principles and moving to practical guidance and specific action steps for meaningful youth engagement at different stages of a peacebuilding project.
Amid Sudan’s Chaos, Youth Groups Work for Peace
Amid Sudan’s battle between security forces loyal to rival generals, young civil society leaders are working to stem the violence. These leaders are part of grassroots youth networks that have been central to Sudan’s five-year-old citizens’ movement for a transition from military rule to democratic civilian governance. Against the current violence, youth-led efforts are combating misinformation, providing humanitarian aid and organizing crowdfunding to secure food and medicine. As the international community presses combatants to end the conflict and safeguard civilians, it is crucial that they also support the youth-led civil society initiatives to stop the violence and address its causes.
Youth, Identity, and the Post-Coup Experience in Myanmar
One of the biggest challenges facing Myanmar today is its lack of a cohesive national identity. Its colonial legacy and half a century of authoritarian rule has reified group divisions and hardened societal cleavages, leading to negative, and sometimes outright hostile, relations between different groups. Against this background, the authors discuss how the Myanmar youth perceive their social identity, in particular national identity, and how they conceptualize notions of citizenship within the Myanmar context, as well as the implications of the coup and the post-coup experience for the youth’s perceptions of social identity and interethnic relations in Myanmar.
Youth and LGBTQ+ in Nonviolent Action: The WiRe+ Data Set
Over the past two years, and in collaboration with Dr. Erica Chenoweth and Dr. Zoe Marks of Harvard University, USIP has been collecting cross-national data on the frequency and extent of youth and LGBTQ+ frontline participation in major nonviolent action campaigns from 1990-2020. The resulting data set helps to illuminate both the causes and the consequences of youth and LGBTQ+ participation in social movements — with implications for activists, policymakers and academics looking to better support nonviolent action campaigns.
The USIP Learning Agenda
In support of the Evidence Act and as part of the U.S. national security architecture, USIP is carrying out its own learning agenda. Peacebuilding has long been viewed as too messy and complex for evidence-based approaches — but USIP’s mix of research and practice belies that assumption.
Youth Country Liaison Initiative
USIP created the Youth Country Liaison initiative to improve linkages between USIP country teams and USIP Generation Change fellows. As part of the initiative, the liaisons provide consultation within USIP and provide a youth-focused lens for USIP regional teams as they design and implement programs and activities. The Youth Country Liaison is a volunteer position for a duration of one year.