Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor

Jean Krasno

Second Advisor

Kimberly Gamble-Payne


Youth Representation Inclusion


Representation of Young People Both Domestically and at the International Level Abstract Young people have played a crucial role in solving major global challenges. Their energy, innovation, passion, and creativity have allowed for the advancement and consolidation of society. However, till this day, youth continue to be excluded, discriminated against, and underrepresented within political spheres. This thesis evaluates youth representation within decision-making processes at the national and international levels. It comprises seven chapters that analyze the current narrative of inclusive participation of young people from international organizations, national governments, scholars, and independent institutions. Initially, this work considers the questions of how underrepresentation occurs and why young people are important today. The thesis examines the impact of young people in the most prominent sectors of society, such as education, health, migration, and labor. At the national level, Chapter Four looks into representation within four countries, Sweden, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Nigeria. The different case studies give a closer look at current national policies on the matter, and the restriction limiting youth participation that have prompted greater local activism. Moreover, the analysis of the IPU Report on Youth Participation in National Parliaments offers a general perspective on the current situation of low youth participation in parliaments, taking into consideration facts and figures from most recent data collected from national parliaments. Consequently, at the international level, this work evaluates 4 approaches and the current narrative of the United Nations and the World Bank in dealing with global youth issues. It concludes by confirming the argument that the cause of this underrepresentation is mainly due to age-restriction laws for public office positions within national governments, the wrong perception that youth lack experience and knowledge, and the preference of young people to participate in other forms of political participation. Lastly, the policy recommendation proposes strategies to improve the matter, primarily on a top to bottom approach. The suggestions entail strengthening research and data collection, holding governments accountable on their promises, increasing funding for youth programmes, educating the general population about the needed for youth representation, and fostering partnerships between governments, private sector, NGOs, and civil society.



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