Research
31.01.17

The hopes and dreams of young people at the crossroads of Europe and Central Asia

Klaus Hurrelmann advises on three new youth studies in Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan 

Three new country studies led by Hertie School professor Klaus Hurrelmann reveal insights into the private, political and economic lives of young people at the crossroads of Europe and Central Asia. Hurrelmann advised researchers at Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in the 2016 survey of youth between 14 and 29 years of age in Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan. Young people were asked questions pertaining to their perceptions, expectations and approaches to the changing world around them. The studies aims to identify specific areas policymakers and others should address in society.

“As in southeastern Europe, the economic situation in both Central Asian countries Georgia and Armenia is quite bad. Youth unemployment is high and political structures are autocratic and opaque. The youth surveyed, a representative selection of 1,200 15-to-29-year-olds, has, as a result, retreated from political engagement and is instead mainly concerned with their private lives revolving around family and friends,” says Hurrelmann. “They look for security in traditional values and wait for an improvement in their situation. The dreams of many are directed toward the European Union and its Western values. They believe that their country will one day achieve modernisation and the well-educated among them have maintained a surprisingly high level of optimism. Young people from disadvantaged parts of society are, however, very pessimistic about the future.”

The youth studies are the 10th, 11th and 12th in a series on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in which Hurrelmann has been involved. They will be followed by studies on Russia and Ukraine. The entire series will be repeated as of 2018, starting with nine country studies in southeastern Europe conducted four and five years ago. The research methodology is based on the well-known German Shell Youth Study, first used in the 1950s.

Download a pdf of the Georgia and Armenia studies here and the Kazakhstan study here.