Flowing into the state: Returning refugee youth and citizenship in Angola

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This paper considers citizenship in its non-legal sense, using Angola as a case study and focusing primarily on returning refugee youth and the manner in which reintegration programs are designed and implemented in light of the transition to democratic governance. Through interviews with United Nations and non-governmental organisation officials in Geneva, analysis of policy material and country reports and a review of both theoretical and country-specific literature, this paper suggests that outdated notions of childhood development still widely inform the manner in which youth are treated today. It explores education as a means through which this process is manifest, in both UN and Angolan domestic policy. It also questions the ability of education in and of itself to address the needs of young people in a post-conflict setting in which civil and social institutions have been widely ruptured. It calls for the engagement of refugee youth in the process of their repatriation at the earliest possible moment, and highlights the need for a reframing of young people such that their contributions to Angolan and international society are recognized and their ‘citizenship’ consequently validated at an experiential level.


Jess Auerbach

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