Columbia’s Global Policy Initiative Publishes UN Report Overcoming Youth Marginalization

October 28, 2014

The 36-page report summarizes the presentations, discussions and recommendations from a two-day conference in March co-hosted by Columbia’s Global Policy Initiative and the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

The conference and subsequent report, Overcoming Youth Marginalization (PDF), represent the efforts of panelists from the UN, professors from Columbia and other universities, and youth leaders and activists from around the world, along with the work of staff at the Global Policy Initiative, said Director Michael Doyle, the Harold Brown Professor of US Foreign and Security Policy and Professor of Law and Political Science.

“Working with the office of Ahmed Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, the Columbia Global Policy Initiative convened a diverse network of researchers and youth activists from around the world,” Doyle said. “The meeting on March 24-25 highlighted before the UN community the challenges and opportunities of mobilizing youth to overcome marginalization. The meeting's report proposes tangible recommendations to address these challenges and opportunities, and to further the youth rights movement.”

The conference – Toward a Better Understanding of Youth Marginalization – featured more than 40 experts gathered on campus from around the world.

The program included four panels:

  • A Rights-Based Approach to Youth Inequalities
  • Youth in Governance and Political Participation
  • Gender and Health Marginalization
  • Youth Experiences of Employment, Education and Migration

Panelists included youth leaders and activists from Sierra Leone, Egypt, the Navajo Nation, Mexico, Croatia and the United Kingdom. Several local and international UN officials also joined the panels, along with Columbia’s Jeffrey Fagan, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law.

During one session, panelist Kate Gilmore made an impassioned plea on behalf of youth. Gilmore is a UN Assistant Secretary-General and a deputy executive director of the UN Population Fund.

“We have to put the human rights of young people at the heart of the agenda,” she said. “The safe rite of passage of children to adulthood is not their responsibility. It's ours. And we are all failing miserably.”


The event was co-hosted by Michael Doyle (below left), director of the Global Policy Initiative and the Harold Brown Professor of US Foreign and Security Policy and Professor of Law and Political Science, and Ahmad Alhendawi (below right), the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

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Columbia Hosts UN Panels on Global Youth Issues, March 26, 2014