The invisible majority: understanding children and youth as social, economic and political actors in fragile post-conflict states

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Post-conflict reconstruction
State building
Fragile states
Children affected by armed conflict
Children and war
Youth and conflict
War-to-peace transition

In fragile post-conflict states, the risks of conflict recurrence are high and international interventions are expensive and frequently unsuccessful. In this complex environment, children and youth are a poorly understood “invisible majority.” In order to better understand this group, this paper asks two questions: First, how do the current approaches to children and youth affected by armed conflict (CYAAC) and to state reconstruction affect how we understand children and youth in post-conflict reconstruction practice? Second, as local actors, how do children and youth affect the goals of post-conflict reconstruction? The paper argues that children and youth in fragile post-conflict states affect the durability of post-conflict state reconstruction, in part due to their demographic predominance. However, unless they are understood as actors with agency and power – rather than as humanitarian or security problems to be solved – they will not be engaged as “local actors” in state reconstruction practice.


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School for International Studies - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)