Youth Political Engagement – Picking Up Where We Left Off

Youth Political Engagement: Synopsis

Today, youth make up nearly a quarter of the global population, a number that continues to rise. However, despite this demographic significance, youth political engagement and representation remain low worldwide. Consequently, older generations often interpret this low representation as young people’s lack of interest. On the contrary, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, young people around the world mobilized and played active roles not only in youth-related issues but also in broader societal concerns affecting their future. For instance, they led climate change demonstrations and organized strikes against corruption and inequality.

Moreover, young people engage actively at local, regional, and global levels. Their approach is distinctly modern and tech-savvy, diverging from traditional methods of political engagement. Nevertheless, while actively mobilizing, many youth feel disconnected from traditional politics. They sense that decision-makers frequently sideline or ignore their voices, thus causing them to refrain from participating actively in the political process.

In a year marked by numerous elections globally, the participation and influence of young voters are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the political landscape. In this episode of our podcast, our guests delve into how youth are engaging with politics and the impact they have on shaping public discourse in their respective countries.  This podcast continues the Center’s series on Collective & Human Security.


Begum Uzun

Begüm Uzun is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at MEF University, Istanbul. Dr. Uzun’s research interests include youth political participation, state-society relations, social movements, and Turkish politics. Currently, she is conducting research on youth political and cultural values in Turkey as part of an international youth project sponsored by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation.

Khaled Emam

Khaled Emam is a human rights lawyer and an international human rights specialist. Currently, serves as the executive director of Justice Call, a non-profit focused on empowering and protecting young people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Before, Khaled served as a co-chair of The United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (UN IANYD), where he played a key role in fostering youth engagement and participation in the UN system and beyond.


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