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Being Young in Conflict

Funding Agency: SRA-MECW. Duration: 2024-

This is a collaborative research project between CMES and Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) on political youth in conflicts in the Middle East. Since 2011, two broad societal changes challenge the political exclusion of youth: (1) new spaces and institutions have opened up for youth action, allowing young women and men to assume new roles as political and social leaders; and (2) the launch of the UN Youth, Peace, and Security Agenda, based on Security Council Resolution 2250.

Yet, the extent to which these fundamental changes actually contribute to youth political empowerment and the possibilities for their long-term inclusion in political processes and sustaining peace remains largely unknown. This project investigates how, and in which ways, conflict has decreased or increased youth political empowerment in the region. It also explores how broad social and policy changes can be capitalized on to ensure that youth is meaningfully contributing to political processes and sustainable peace.

To examine these ambitious questions, the project seeks to identify the changing norms and political experiences of youth in conflict; evaluate the design and implementation of the YPS agenda; compare the YPS and the WPS agendas; assess youth grassroots political agency and the conditions for empowerment with a specific focus on sustainable peace and gender norms.


The overarching aim of this project is to produce knowledge about young people's political empowerment in the MENA region by focusing on sustainable peace as the lynchpin for promoting sustainable socio-political development 

  • produce new knowledge into MENA youth’s meaningful political participation as a result of changes provoked by armed conflict to build sustainable peace
  • provide a first-of-its-kind comparative analysis between the UN's Peace and Security agendas on Women (Resolution 1325) and Youth (Resolution 2250)


Research Team

Karin Aggestam, CMES Director and Professor in Political Science (Lund University)

karin [dot] aggestam [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se (karin[dot]aggestam[at]svet[dot]lu[dot]se)

Sarah Anne Rennick, Affiliated Researcher at CMES (Lund University) and Deputy Director Arab Reform Initiative

sarah_anne [dot] rennick [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se (sarah_anne[dot]rennick[at]cme[dot]lu[dot]se)

Linda Eitrem Holmgren, CMES Researcher and Doctor in Political Science (Lund University)

linda [dot] eitrem_holmgren [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se (linda[dot]eitrem_holmgren[at]svet[dot]lu[dot]se)

Adam Almqvist, CMES Postdoctoral Fellow  (Lund University) [Starts in September 2024]

Logo of Arab Reform Initiative