The latest uprising is occurring in Iran where about 40% of the young are unemployed and staple products like eggs have gone up 40%, leading to demonstrations in December 2017. They began in Mashhad to protest recent price increases and spread to tens of thousands in multiple cities. The economic grievances expanded to calls against corruption and to oust Ayatollah Ali Khomeini and cries of “Death to Rouhani.” Crowds chanted “Forget Palestine” to focus on Iranian economic problems, as well as “Death or Freedom.” They also chanted, “Mullahs have some shame, leave the country alone.” President Hassan Rouhani responded that Iranians have the right to protest but not to do violence. The government shut down Instagram and the messaging app Telegraph. Hundreds were arrested and over a dozen people were killed as they tried to take over police stations and military bases. These are the biggest demonstrations since the 2009 protests over corruption in the presidential election. A difference is that they don’t have known leaders like presidential candidates who were spokesmen in 2009.
Duke University student Andrew Leon Hanna interviewed 50 young leaders he knew from youth leadership gatherings from 31 countries to learn their solutions to the crisis of global youth unemployment.[i] Few of them (18%) felt that young people are involved in decision-making in their countries. The programs they found most useful for youth are, in this order, apprenticeship programs as provided by governments in Germany and Denmark, skills-training for uneducated youth, vocational schools, with programs to inform youth about available jobs at the bottom of the list. The youth leaders also recommended peer mentoring and education programs, such as the Mosaic Initiative where British Muslim young people mentor younger youths, India’s Restless Development’s Youth Empowerment Programme in India where peer educators teach over 36,000 people a year, and Israel’s youth-led computer training courses. Although youth entrepreneurship is widely encouraged, young people need funding like that provided by the Kenyan Youth Enterprise Development Fund.
Organizations like Restless Development and Global Changemakers started in Britain and expanded globally to facilitate youth leaders to assist with social problems. In the latter group, young people created 250 Community action Projects in 86 countries. Their website explains, “Our mission is to place young people at the forefront of change and development. Our strength comes from being led by young people and young professionals, from the boardroom right through to the field. We have been working hard since 1985 and over the past 30 years, our programmes have reached over 7 million young people directly and indirectly.”[ii] Global Changemakers was “created in 2007 with the aim to empower youth to catalyse social change. In its seven-year existence it has become a close knit network of 100,000 young social activists. Global Changemakers supported 280 youth-led projects in 128 countries with 200,000 people directly involved and benefiting over 4 million people.”[iii]
[i] Andrew Leon Hanna, “The Global Youth Unemployment Crisis,” Duke University Honors Thesis.
 Andrew Leon Hanna, “The Global Youth Unemployment Crisis,” Duke University Honors Thesis.
Youth have to cope with chronic unemployment a “ticking time bomb.”[i] Jeffrey Joerres, CEO of Manpower (MAN), a temporary-services firm with offices in 82 countries warns, “Youth unemployment will clearly be the epidemic of this next decade unless we get on it right away. You can’t throw in the towel on this.” A global problem is NEETs, youth not in employment education, or training—including an increase to 5.8 million in the US (the endnote includes suggestions for how to solve the problem).[ii] A UK charity reported that 27% of employed young people are often or always depressed, with the percentage rising to almost half for NEETs, in an era when youth unemployment is around 20%.[iii] Suicide rates are increasing. In the US, 5.6 million young people ages 16 to 24 are NEETs, causing $27 billion spent on public assistance, health care and incarceration in 2013.[iv] In response, businesses, governments and foundations formed the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative tin 2015 to provide jobs and apprenticeships to 100,000 young people over the following three years.
[i] Peter Coy, “The Youth Unemployment Bomb,” Bloombergy Businessweek, January 1, 2011.
[ii] Elisabeth Jacobs, “Twelve Ways to Fix the Youth Employment Crisis,” Governance Studies at Brookings, May 2014.
[iii] “UK: Half of Jobless Youth Suffering Depression,” Rebel Youth, January 30, 2013.
[iv] Howard Schultz and Sheri Schultz, “Connecting Young People with Jobs,” New York Times, July 13, 2015.