| || || Carling, Mereia.|
| || || Maximising potential : the citizenship role of young people in Fiji |
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.A. Development Studies
Call No.: Pac JF 801 .C37 2009
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: Everyone has the right to take part in the government of the country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. UN 1948: Art. 21(1) The democratic world values the concept of citizenship as a principle that enables good governance. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights determines the will of people that is the basis of the authority of government (UN 1948:21(3)). The theory does not make distinction between people – who has this right and who does not. It assumes that citizens are people of all ages and all of them have a citizenship status and role that contributes to the efficient advancement of a nation. The determination of what constitutes a citizenship role is, however, a process that is less clearly defined. Exactly how citizens contribute to development is dependent on epistemology, which defines how those in leadership positions value such contributions. This is rather more established for citizens above the age of suffrage, where each has equal opportunity to determine by vote their leading representative. For those who are younger there are few if any opportunities to influence development agendas, yet they are wholly reliant on the decisions of others who determine their futures. As this paper explains, decisions made have affected the lives of young people in Fiji both older and younger than the age of suffrage in ways that will have an impact on many generations to come. Problems associated with the youth population are causing increasing concern and impinging significantly upon the progress of the nation. Critical youth issues are related to citizenship status and role. These are analysed from young people’s perspectives, to test the feasibility of making adjustments that would facilitate the emergence of a more appropriate role for young people. Such role redefinition could enrich the social and economic contribution of their greater involvement. This thesis explores the willingness of leaders in Fiji to extend notions of democracy to include the younger population. The implications considered include a change in development priorities, expansion of self-sufficiency strategies and a practice of listening to young people at all levels. Fiji’s current political status provides opportunity to introduce such significant and systemic change. The iv feasibility of a greater citizenship role for young people is ultimately dependent on the will of those who wield state power