Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Doctor of Education




Tarc, P.

2nd Supervisor

Larsen, M.


This study explores how contemporary youth understand their lives under today’s context of globalization. It examines and compares perceptions and practice of high school age (15-18 years old) students from Canada, Georgia, and Saudi; how they think about the world and their place in it, and how they take up their roles as citizens of their local, national, and global communities. The study investigates if there are bases to collectively address these youth as a ‘Global Generation.’ By illuminating the core features of this generation it expounds on the implications of the existence of the Global Generation in relation to the hopes of an emerging ‘one-world’ vision.

This study uses qualitative inquiry based on interpretive paradigm, employing a comparative case study (CCS) methodology, with multiple research techniques: e-survey (n=79), individual interviews (n=21), and experiential activities (n=21). Using Biesta’s approach to citizenship learning (CL) as a theoretical framework, allows for the consideration of the interplay between young people’s dispositions, relationships, and contexts in everyday settings, in order toreveal the multidimensional nature of the lives of youth in their particular and broader contexts, including their citizenship learning.

The findings demonstrate that today’s global youth share similar attitudes, understandings, aspirations, and anxieties. They are well informed, skilled in modern technologies, self-reliant, and competitive. They have multiple belongings and identifications, are inclusive of other youth and cultures, have cosmopolitan dispositions, and reject the binary of the concepts ‘local’ and ‘global.’ They consider open-mindedness, tolerance, and solidarity as essential qualities to promote international connections, but foremost, identify ‘common humanity’ as the underlying and binding force of humankind. While being vernacular cosmopolitans youth struggle to apply their values to the world. They lack knowledge and skills to be involved in social movements, and do not see themselves capable of promoting any systemic change, but rather entrusting decision-making to the authorities.

Due to the multiple similarities found among the participants’ ways of doing and being, the study proposes that today’s youth, relationally bound together with technological mediation, can be conceptualised as the Global Generation whose characteristics transcend many national, ethnic, religious, gender, and socio-economic borders.

Summary for Lay Audience

Present day youth, born between the late 20th and the early 21st century, are often known as iGen or the New Millennials. They are recognized as ‘digital natives’ – heavy users of techno-device communications, as more open-minded than the previous generations, but also as being ambivalent. Based on the observations of my own children and an international personal life experience, I undertook the study to examine how today’s young people understand their lives in our interconnected and interdependent world. I aimed to investigate if youth from different sociocultural and geopolitical contexts share similar ideas, attitudes, or practices, and based on this similarity can be collectively addressed as a Global Generation. I wanted to explore if this young generation aspires for a common well-being and a world without strangers.

The 79 participants of this research were high school age (15-18 years old) students from Canada, Georgia, and Saudi. They came from different ethnic, cultural, religious, and social backgrounds. Initially all the participants did the survey, which explored young people’s understandings related to various concepts such as ‘good person’ and ‘good life,’ their interpretation of citizenship, and local and global developments and issues. Later, 21 (10 girls and 11 boys) participants across the sites engaged in interviews and some activities that provided more information about their ethical values, their hopes and aspirations, and their interpretations of being members of their local, national, and world communities.

The results of the study show that today’s youth, considerably due to technological advancements, can be called the Global Generation who share similar attitudes, aspirations, and anxieties. This generation is well informed, techno-savvy, self-reliant, and competitive. It has multiple belongings, is inclusive of other youth and cultures, and rejects the binary of the concepts ‘local’ and ‘global.’ It values education, considers tolerance and solidarity as essential qualities to promote international connections, but foremost, identifies ‘common humanity’ as the underlying and binding force of humankind. The Global Generation has the desire to contribute to the human well-being, while does not see itself capable of promoting any systemic change, but rather entrusts decision-making to those with power and wealth.