Citizenship and Youth Social Engagement in Canada: Learning Challenges and Possibilities


  • Ali A. Abdi University of Alberta, Canada
  • Lynette Shultz University of Alberta, Canada



Canada, Youth, Citizenship


With the general increase in the ‘production’ of citizenship and global citizenship education scholarship, one might think that we have established a clear and comprehensive understanding of these concepts and their daily implications and possibilities. That may not be the case, and while all claims, contexts and formations of citizenship are important and certainly empower individuals and groups in important ways that directly affect their lives, they do not necessarily explain or actively respond to the qualities of citizenship that people experience, desire or are able to achieve. Our analysis of youth engagement holds that by strengthening the quality of local citizenship, the connections to global citizenship are also affirmed. To discuss and analyse these active youth engagement projects in Canada’s public (and to some extent private) spheres, we look into the socio-political formations of three contemporary Canadian youth movements. The first is Lead Now; the second is the Journey of the Nishiyuu and Idle No More and their members; and the third is the student movement that was organized by youth for the adequate funding of higher education in the province of Quebec.


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Author Biographies

Ali A. Abdi, University of Alberta, Canada

Ali A. Abdi is a professor and co-director of the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research (CGCER) at the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. His areas of research and teaching include global citizenship, human rights education, the cultural and social foundations of education and postcolonial philosophies and methodologies of education.

Lynette Shultz, University of Alberta, Canada

Lynette Shultz, PhD, is an associate professor and co-director of the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research at the University of Alberta. She has published widely on the topics of educational policy studies and global citizenship education. She teaches courses on education governance and leadership, educational policy studies, and global citizenship education at the University of Alberta and the Universidade Católica de Brasilia where she is an adjunct associate professor.