Educating Youth about the Rule of Law
The world’s young people are an incredibly valuable resource. Their aspirations and potential are limitless in scope. They represent the best that the future has to offer. While they are a very important segment for every society, many youth are especially susceptible to economic hardship and violence. Poor economic conditions have led to an increase in juvenile criminality throughout the world. Among other negative effects, social and economic vulnerability have led many young people to participate in a variety of dangerous and illicit activities, including drug trafficking and gang violence. Furthermore, recent events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown that governments that reject or ignore youth voices can find themselves in great peril.
Under the UN’s definition (youth are defined by the UN and will be defined at the World Justice Forum III as individuals between 15-24 years of age), approximately one person in five around the world is a youth. By 2025, it is estimated that 89.5% of the world’s youth will live in developing countries. At the same time, youth are also an increasingly important voice in much of the developed world as demographic changes in many wealthy countries continue to produce policies and laws that impact young people as never before. It is therefore critical to engage young people in order to bring about effective development and governance throughout the world.
Educating youth about the rule of law will be an essential component of this process. Enabling and encouraging youth to become civically active and knowledgeable about laws and legal processes can lead to more stable societies. This design session will aim to produce innovative and multidisciplinary action plans that promote civic action and knowledge of the rule of law among youth. It is important to emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to this discussion, as there are many stakeholders directly involved in this process. Besides youth themselves, important actors include educators, government officials, business leaders, technology experts, and others.
Key questions to help guide discussion could include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- How can educators work with experts from other fields to build student knowledge and awareness of the rule of law across curriculums in schools?
- How can governments create new forums for youth inclusion in the lawmaking process for issues such as employment, environmental sustainability, public health, and human rights?
- How can stakeholders deliver access to legal information for youth in poor and marginalized communities?
What role can technology play in providing youth with legal information and promoting good citizenship based on the rule of law?