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Generation Peace


Principal Investigator: Dr Laura Taylor
Funder: Irish Research Council (Laureate award)

GENERATION PEACE is an interdisciplinary, multilevel project with three goals. First, to identify which factors and conditions predict youth peacebuilding, or persistent prosocial action ranging from helping outgroup members to participation in nonviolent social movements. Second, to assess the long-term, generational impact of youth peacebuilding across the globe. Third, the project’s unique analytical approach integrates interdisciplinary frameworks from developmental psychology and peacebuilding, which will ultimately be synthesised into a comprehensive model of youth peacebuilding.

To achieve these goals, the project measures constructs at different levels (individual, societal, cross national). To assess causal processes and change over time, the project combines cross-cultural qualitative focus groups, a longitudinal survey, and field experiments, with historical cross-national data. The project’s case selection also provides strategic variability, including both conflict-affected countries, with varying intensities of violence and time since peace agreements (e.g. Colombia, Israel, Northern Ireland), and non-conflict countries (e.g. Switzerland; all UN member states). In addition, the field experiments compare real social groups to ‘novel’ groups; this design enables teasing apart commonalities and specificity across individuals, groups, and contexts. The inclusive age span (ages 14-24) not only examines changes and processes across traditional developmental periods, such as adolescence and young adulthood, but also across generations using historical data. The complementary approaches to age and time allow for measuring change at the pace that change unfolds.

GENERATION PEACE offers a fundamentally new way to approach the research challenge: Youth are a driver, rather than an indicator, of peace.