GCYPS Knowledge Cafe: Youth as Researchers on COVID-19 Initiative

Maria Stage

Young people have a critical role in sustaining peace. Youth bring local knowledge about opportunities for peace and creative ideas to address the drivers of violence, and they are often the ‘connecting tissue’ within and between communities. At the same time, young people often experience exclusion from decision-making processes relating to peace and security and their expertise often remains unvalued. 

GCYPS card

The knowledge cafes by the Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security (GCYPS) aim to bring to the fore youth expertise and youth-led recommendations, provide greater knowledge on youth, peace and security, and connect young people with the academic community and practitioners.

This knowledge cafe presents Youth As Researchers (YAR) on COVID-19 Initiative’ by UNESCO, which connects youth-generated knowledge with tangible policy solutions and pandemic recovery efforts in line with the UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers. The initiative emphasises the role of young people as knowledge holders and producers and creates a space for youth-generated evidence to inform policy debates and actions to address the social and human impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Such investment is critical at a time when civic space is closing in many societies and the space for youth to voice their concerns is shrinking. It is also a recognition and retribution for the great empathy and solidarity that young people have demonstrated during the pandemic, supporting their families and communities. 


Time and date: 7:30am - 8:30am EST, 14 December 2021

Registration: Please sign up with this link

It is a public, virtual event which will be recorded.



  1. Introduction to GCYPS knowledge cafes
    Grace Atuhaire, Eastern Africa Youth Empowerment Forum and Maria Stage, United Nations Development Programme
  2. Introduction to the UNESCO Youth As Researchers Initiative
    Dr. Pat Dolan (UNESCO Chair at National University of Ireland, Galway), Dr. Mark Brennan (UNESCO Chair at Penn State University), and Dr. Kaila Thorn (UNESCO Consultant, Visiting Assistant Director Batten Leadership Institute- Hollins University)
  3. Presentation of youth-led research
    1. Ammar Hadeed, YAR Researcher from Arab States Youth Civic Action Team
    2. Tokelo Shai, YAR Researcher from Global Use of Technology Team
  4. Reflections from previous Youth As Researchers participants
    Jack Gaffey (YAR Researcher and YAR Coordinator) and Ella Anderson (YAR Researcher, YAR Steering Committee Representative, and YAR Coordinator)
  5. Q&A
    Facilitated by Laura Guay (UNESCO Youth Programme Individual Specialist)

About the UNESCO Youth As Researchers Initiative
Launched in 2020 and with over 6000 applications, the UNESCO Youth As Researchers (YAR) Initiative has engaged 270 young people as researchers, from over 70 countries, and close to 10,000 young as respondents to research surveys and interviews, enumerators, coordinators, reviewers, communicators, interpreters, graphic designers, and trainers. Over 16 months, 34 youth-led research teams have been conducting research with youth to explore the impact of the pandemic on them: from mental health to human rights; from learning to livelihoods; and from youth-led action to the role of technology, the UNESCO YAR has been yielding findings on those aspects of the lives of youth that have been significantly affected. These were presented, at a preliminary stage, during the UNESCO YAR Knowledge Sharing Meeting (5-7 October 2021) where the young researchers were able to debate and fine-tune their work with technical and policy experts from government, academia, civil society and the UN System. A Policy Conference will be held in January to launch a multi-stakeholder global coalition to address the impact of the pandemic on youth and to secure tangible commitments to a Global Grant Scheme to sustainably support youth-led research and solutions to the crisis.

About the Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security
The Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security (GCYPS) is the leading platform for shaping global policy and practice on youth, peace, and security. The GCYPS facilitates exchange, coordination, and collaboration between organizations from civil society, including youth-led and youth-focused organizations, UN entities, donors, academia and inter-governmental bodies.