Youth in War and Post-War Africa: Priorities and Policies

April 17, 2012 // 9:00am12:30pm
Event Co-sponsors: 
Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity
Podcast (Audio-only): 
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In war and post-war Africa, youth populations are colossal and most governments are weak. Most international observers do not realize that African youth are faced with a daunting irony: that while they are demographically dominant, many if not most of them feel like and act as if they are members of an outcast minority. The separateness of so many young citizens raises questions about who is actually represented by mainstream civil society groups and traditional community leaders, the entities with which most international actors engage. In turn, this casts doubt on the degree to which governments claiming to welcome and support youth programs are viewed as legitimate, and whether these programs for finite numbers of youth cohorts are appropriate, since only a tiny fraction of young people in need stand to benefit and many more may feel, yet again, left out.

The Youth in War and Post-War Africa: Priorities and Policies conference will feature a panel of experts and practitioners on the priorities and situation of war-affected African youth and another panel of policy and opinion leaders on the strengths and deficits of government and donor policies that impact this population. In addition, the issues and challenges that the April 2012 conference will have direct relevance to war-torn and exceptionally youthful countries in other regions, such as Afghanistan and Timor-Leste, as well as the entire Middle East, where youth bulge demographics and youth-driven political resistance are overriding concerns.


Opening and Welcome

Introductory Remarks by Steve McDonald, Director, Africa Program, Wilson Center

Conference Scene Setting by Marc Sommers, Wilson Center Fellow

Panel I: The Policies and Perspectives of Youth in War and Post-War Africa

Hugo Kamya, Professor, Clinical Practice Sequence, Simmons College

Dyan Mazurana, Associate Research Professor and Research Director for Gender, Youth and Community, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

Gary Barker, International Director of Promundo

Mats Utas, Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University

(Moderator)  Steve McDonald, Director, Africa Program, Wilson Center

Panel II: Policy Pospects and Challenges for Addressing Youth in War and Post-War Africa

Ian Bannon, Sector Manager, Fragile States, Conflict and Social Development, World Bank

Mark Hannafin, Office of the Administrator, Executive Secretariat, USAID

Nicole R. Goldin, Senior Advisor, Bureau for Policy Planning and Learning, USAID 

Kate Almquist, Adjunct Faculty/Senior Fellow, Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Lakshitha Saji Prelis, Children & Youth Program Director, Search for Common Ground

(Moderator) Marc Sommers, Wilson Center Fellow


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

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