Cihan Dizdaroğlu is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie action (MSCA) fellow and assistant professor at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations of Coventry University, United Kingdom and a member of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey. He is also associate editor of the Journal of International Relations.
- Young people have taken part in remarkable political mobilisation in the last year. They have participated in global climate change strikes and demonstrations and protests against ruling elites, corruption and inequality in countries such as Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq and Libya. However, my research shows that they can be excluded from decision-making and peacebuilding processes. In particular, young people frequently think that their messages are devalued or ignored. Young people are often perceived as vulnerable and in need of protection. Yet they can be simultaneously viewed as dangerous, violent and uncontrollable. These views have long dominated attitudes towards youth. Moreover, popular beliefs about young people’s lack of experience and political apathy has meant that many people are ignorant about their contribution to political debate. This has also led to a failure by political leaders to acknowledge young people’s potential to bring about political change.
- During my fieldwork in Cyprus, I observed what is known as “adult territoriality”, in which the politics is mainly dominated by older men, and they do not allow young people to take part in any type of governmental body. As one young Cypriot told me, “political parties are hesitant to encourage youth candidates in politics and they don’t have any intention to open the doors to youth either”. This prevents young people from being included in politics, decision-making or peacebuilding. [...] Cyprus is not alone in this regard. Youth-led demonstrations often receive criticism, such as calls for youth climate activist Greta Thunberg to “shut up and go back to school”. And sometimes, young activists are more directly sidelined: Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate was cropped out of a photograph by Associated Press after a press conference at the 2020 World Economic Forum at Davos. The marginalisation of youth activists of colour has also been a persistent trend.
- Most Cypriot young people are used to living in a divided country. However, some wish to see the division end and seek to contribute meaningfully to dialogue and cooperation between the two sides. [...] Cypriot youth may not be as politically active for peace as they were in the run-up to the 2004 referendum on the Annan Plan, or the period in 2011 when there was a movement to occupy the buffer zone between the north and south, and when young people were involved in demonstrations for peace. But the island’s youth still believe that they have a responsibility to find a peaceful solution to the “Cyprus problem”.
- Although countries are hesitant to include youth in politics, young people find alternative ways to cope with marginalisation and amplify their voices. This is apparent in the youth-led protests around the world. Young people are demanding to be leaders today, rather wait their turn in an elusive future.
- Cihan Dizdaroğlu's profile at Coventry University
- Cihan Dizdaroğlu's profile at Kadir Has University
- Cihan Dizdaroğlu at Academia.edu
- Cihan Dizdaroğlu's profile at The Conversation
- Cihan Dizdaroğlu at ResearchGate
- Cihan Dizdaroğlu at Google Scholar