Youth Agency: Raising Awareness of 21st Century Global Citizenship in Higher Education

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: Youth Agency: Raising Awareness of 21st Century Global Citizenship in Higher Education
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Nilufer Ulker, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
Yasemin Yilmaz Yuksek, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
Ozlem Ayar Gemalmaz, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey


Youth agency is defined as the willingness of young people to make decisions and initiate social change. Being an agent of change in the 21st century, a time characterized by environmental and economic havoc, entails a new understanding of citizenship. An increasing number of university courses are designed to make the young generation more aware of their potential to become civically engaged in social matters. This study employs a qualitative case study which explores undergraduate students’ changing perspectives of global citizenship and how they define their role as agents of social change and progress. The authors draw attention to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to demonstrate how the notion of youth agency is redefined through educational practices and new approaches to learning in higher education. Focusing on student products prepared both individually and in groups throughout the 2021-2022 academic year within an EAP course in Turkey, this paper underlines the significance of challenge-based higher education courses in engaging students in real-life situations within a collaborative framework. Introducing undergraduate students with social development goals of the United Nations, encouraging them to lead discussions about the existent problems of their country and propose solutions are among the main objectives of the course. The fundamental value of global citizenship becomes more clear when its role in redefining youth agency is considered.

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