Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

Dr. John Ungerleider


This paper uses a review of relevant literature on empowerment and youth empowerment theories and models to develop a comprehensive understanding of key elements that are found in youth empowerment programs. Through the literature review, there are five themes identified which can be used to analyze youth programs for the presence of empowerment. The five themes considered are: a power sharing adult-youth relationship, an individual and community level orientation, a safe and supportive environment, peer collaboration, and reflection. A World Learning youth program, Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action, or JenA) is used as a case study to understand the practical application of these youth empowerment themes. Each theme is analyzed within the program implementation and within the youth-centered pedagogy which informs JenA program design. Program reports, blog posts, and student newsletter articles are used to evaluate the JenA program through the lens of the five youth empowerment themes. The purpose of this Capstone project is to use youth empowerment theory as a method of illuminating the practice of youth empowerment program design and implementation.

Keywords: experiential learning cycle, empowerment theory, youth empowerment, youth programs, Jóvenes en Acción


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods | Educational Sociology