In 2011, youth were the revolutionary avant-garde, carrying forth a vision for transformed State-society relations and demands for a new social contract, and ushering in a new political era. Yet, while youth today are actively involved in social movements and seemingly “apolitical” forms of civic engagement, their participation in formal politics and political process remains limited. On the contrary, the majority are disillusioned with “politics as usual” and disavow top-down efforts at reform. However, youth participation in the unfolding democratic transition must be a priority in order to achieve the visions of 2011. This includes not only having them play a direct role in the formal political sphere but also having their visions for social justice, full citizenship, and sustainable and just development be pillars of the transition.

In 2021-2022, ARI, along with its partners WeStart and Humetna, will be working with Tunisian youth in six municipalities. Activities will include conducting 12 focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews with youth of Generation Y, Generation Z, and youth elected officials in order to assess factors that mediate their support to and participation in democracy, and to unpackage the process of democratic socialization in transitional Tunisia. The project will then work directly with youth in order to build their capacity in policy terms and their ability to meaningfully dialogue and work with the formal political sphere by conducting a series of Policy Workshops on key thematic issues. These will be used to define policy positions and build actionable strategies for youth to achieve their priorities. Finally, the project will involve direct advocacy actions by youth to be carried out at the local and/or national levels in order to achieve influence the policymaking process and provide new venues for youth to directly engage with the formal political sphere.