Rohatyn Center to Hold Conference on Youth Unemployment

August 8, 2016

Conference will bring together scholars, practitioners and recent alumni to the discussion table

Middlebury, VT—The Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs will host its 2nd annual international and interdisciplinary conference on March 13-15, 2014. Titled The Young and the Jobless: Youth Unemployment in Times of Crisis, the conference will bring together scholars, practitioners and recent Middlebury College alumni together to analyze and clarify the reasons behind youth unemployment.

The topic of youth unemployment was selected this year not only because of the magnitude of the crisis locally, nationally and globally, but also because of its relevance to college students. As Tamar Mayer, director of the Rohatyn Center and professor of geography, states, "There is no other single issue that is experienced at all geographical scales, everywhere in the world, all at once which has such grave social, economic and political ramifications [as unemployment]." 

The conference features presentations from various perspectives, including the dynamics of displacement, migration, gender inequality and the relationship of volunteer work and unpaid internships to the youth unemployment crisis. Various regions of the world will be covered, including Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia. Professor Mayer hopes that attendants will walk away with "a critical perspective on the many forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate the crisis of youth unemployment." 

She continues: "I hope that [the conference] will start a critical discussion about the culture and the politics of employment and unemployment, and that the comparative perspectives will enable a discussion on the ways to combat the crisis." 

The conference will take place from Thursday, March 13 until Saturday, March 15. A full schedule of events can be found below, with more information at the Rohatyn Center's website. All events are free and open to the public, and will take place at the Robert A. Jones ’59 House on 148 Hillcrest Road, just off Route 125. The conference is generously sponsored by the Christian A. Johnson Economics Fund, the C.V Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad, Brainerd Commons, the Departments of Geography, History, Sociology and Anthropology, Spanish and Portuguese, and Political Science, and the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs.

Full Schedule of Events


Opening Remarks

Tamar Mayer, Director, Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, Middlebury College

Session 1: Dignity and Dollars: The Case of the U.S.

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
4:30-6:00 p.m.

Moderator: Charlotte Tate, Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
Student Chair: Emily Bensen '14

  • On the Political Economy of Youth Unemployment

Robert PraschProfessor of Economics, Middlebury College

  • The Rise of the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program and Its Links to Youth Unemployment

Cate Bowman, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado-Boulder


Session 2: Unemployment, Violence and Terror

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
6:15-8:00 p.m.
Dinner will be served over this presentation.

Moderator: Robert Prasch, Economics
Student Chair: Molly Stuart '14.5

  • Youth Labor Prison Terror: An Economist's Meditation on Human Disposability

Marcellus AndrewsBucknell University

  • Unemployment and Violence

Juana Gamero de Coca, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Middlebury College


FRIDAY, 3/14

Session 3: Pounding the Pavement: Voices of Recent Alumni

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
12:15-2:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served over this presentation.

Moderator: Amy Gibans McGlashan, Center for Careers & Internships
Student Chair: Caroline Goodwin '14

Ava Kerr '12 - history with religion minor
Barrett Smith '13 - Classics with Physics minor
Ashley Guzman '13 - Women & Gender's Studies and French 
Hanna Mahon '13.5 - Independent Major, Peace and Justice Studies


Session 4: No Exit? Migration and Borders

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
2:30-4:15 p.m.

Moderator: Nadia Horning, Political Science
Student Chair: Levi Westveld '15.5

  • Youth Unemployment in a Mayan Indian Town in Guatemala

David StollDepartment of Sociology and Anthropology, Middlebury College

  • Fighting Unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Illegal Emigration as Youth Response?

Ange Bergson Lendja Ngnemzué, Department of Anthropology, Middlebury C.V. Starr School in Africa: Cameroon

  • The Inactives: How Can Public Policy Encourage the Engagement of the Youth in the Labor Marker?

Natalia Herbst, Office of the Vice-Chief of Government of the City of Buenos Aires


Session 5: ¡No Mas! Strategies and Alternatives

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
4:30-6:00 p.m.

Moderator: Will Pyle, Economics
Student Chair: Gabrielle Lee '14.5

  • Bailing Out Capital or Diffusing a Time Bomb?: The Question of Youth Wage Subsidy in South Africa

Crispen ChingunoDepartment of Sociology, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa 

  • Youth and Work Policy in Spain: The Andalusian Case

Ciro Milione, University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain

  • Eliminating Youth Unemployment: A Proposal 

Pavlina TchernevaDepartment of Economics, Bard College, New York



Session 6: Sticky Floors: Gender and Unemployment

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
8:45-10:45 a.m.

Moderator: Sujata Moorti, Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
Student Chair: Adam Lang '14

  • Gendering the Recession in Ireland: Unemployment, Migration and the Post-Celtic Tiger Era

Diane Negra, Film Studies, University College, Dublin, Ireland

  • Precariousness in Japan: After the 'Lost Decade'

Heidi GottfriendWayne State University


Session 7: Overworked and Underpaid

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
11:00-12:30 p.m.

Moderator: Jamie McCallum, Sociology and Anthropology
Student Chair: Claudia Esteva '15

  • "I Need Money, That's the Only Reason I Do It": Youth "Volunteers," Unemployment and International Action in Pakistan's health Sector

Svea ClosserDepartment of Sociology/Anthropology, Middlebury College

  • The Chosen, the Choosers and the Others: How Unpaid Internships Lengthen the School-to-Work Transition and Reproduce Inequality

Alexandre FrenetteDepartment of Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center

  • Ambivalent Attachments: Youth and Economic Insecurity in India

Stephen YoungDepartments of Geography and International Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Session 8: False Promises: Is There a Way Out?

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
12:45 p.m.
Concluding remarks will be held over lunch.

Moderator: Kacy McKinney, Geography

  • Concluding Remarks, Discussion and Summary

Jackie Voluz '14 and Jia Jun Lee '15, International and Global Studies Seminar: Global Geographies of Labor and Youth


Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs

Robert A. Jones '59 House
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
F: 802.443.2050