Why Young People?

The media and mainstream institutions often portrays young people, particularly young racialized men, as violent extremists, but only a minority of young people ever participate in violence, and most young people are peaceful. There is increasing attention to young people in the context of preventing violent extremism, but most responses rely on the police or military, and are often counter-productive. Young people, particularly newcomer immigrants, young refugees, and racialized youth are often unfairly targeted as potential extremists, and girls and young women are disproportionately affected by displacement, exclusion and structural violence.While it is true that an environment of increasing extremism and exposure to violence (including those viewed on social media) is affecting attitudes and behaviors, many young Canadians are demonstrating immense courage and leadership by transforming violent conflict, promoting peace and building inter-cultural understanding in their communities despite overwhelming obstacles. Their leadership and capacities for building peace are not being recognized, and they lack the resources and support they need to be truly effective.