Countering the Militarisation of Youth

International Study Conference Germany 2012

Darmstadt, 8-10 June 2012

"In Europe, and to some degree on a global level, there are presently two trends which both contribute to an increased militarisation of youth. The first is the end (or, more exactly, the suspension) of conscription in most European countries. The second is an increasing “normalisation of war” stemming from the 'war on terror and the use of military force as a means of politics. Both trends reinforce each other in strengthening the militarisation of youth from an early age- something we are committed to working against.

The project, which includes an international meeting in Germany, and a post-conference publication, hopes to bringing together activists from all over the world.

The aim is to foster an ongoing regional and multi-regional network of cooperating anti-militarist organisations. The overarching objective of the conference is strengthening the work against the militarisation of youth in Europe (and beyond) by providing opportunities for people to exchange skills and experience of working in this field and to create/strengthen networks and relationships across the region.


The militarisation of youth takes many forms. The project aims to analyse the different ways youth are militarised, and will also look at strategies to resist the militarisation of youth.

Although we have separated out several different issues and types of resistance we aim to bring core themes of analysis to each topic including but not limited to;

  • Class,
  • Race,
  • Ethnicity.

• Nationalism and patriotism:

Looking at the privileging of the military as a normal and essential part of maintaining and sustaining the nation state. How can the legitimacy of challenging violence be maintained when it is de-legitimised as a threat to security and presented as destructive to society as a whole?

• Culture of militarism:

Attendees will be encouraged to participate in 'mapping' the global militarist culture whilst sharing strategies for challenging the cultural prevalence of militarism and discussing the provision of peaceful or non-violent alternatives.

• Military recruitment strategies:

Discussion on current military recruitment strategies will occur throughout the conference, however contemporary and emerging trends in recruitment will feature heavily.

• Military in public spaces:

Looking at both long-standing and emerging ways in which the military encroach on public spaces, developing an analysis of the situation as it currently stands and sharing resistance strategies.

• Military masculinities:

Time will be set aside to look at the ways in which militarism undermines diversity with gender binarism and the increased recruitment of women and LGBTIQ people

• Military in education:

The ways that the military access school age children for example with cadet/youth programmes or collaboratively with curricular and extra curricular activities and recent (under) funding of Universities exploited by the military with 'tied scholarships'.


Within the peace and anti-war movements, there are many different approaches to challenging and resisting the presence and recruitment tactics of the Armed Forces.

During the conference sharing and exploring strategies for increased resistance of the militarisation of youth- both in Europe and beyond- will take prominence.

Attention will be given to;

  • Military Out of Schools
  • Conscientious objection
  • Countering military recruitment
  • Veterans For Peace
  • Resistance by women and Queer people
  • Working with disadvantaged youth to prevent recruitment of vulnerable groups

Application Process

Filling out and returning the attached Registration of Interest from will not automatically guarantee you a place at the 'Countering the Militarisation of Youth Conference' it will however mean that we have your contact details so that we can communicate with you about the development of the project and offer you a place when they become available.

Register online:

War Resisters International

War Resisters International is an organisation that supports Conscientious Objectors and their Right to Refuse to Kill.
WRI believe very strongly that the right of concientious objection is an undeniable human right and has an equally long history of promoting non-violent action against the causes of war.
War Resisters' International,
5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX, Britain
☎ +44-20-7278 4040
☎ +44-20-3355 2364

Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft – Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen

DFG-VK was formed through the merging of the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft (German Peace Society), founded in 1892, with the Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner (War Resisters' International – 1968) and the Verband der Kriegsdienstverweigerer (Association of Conscientious Objectors – 1974). Its members view the refusal of all military and non-military services for war as a concrete action against war. It is the aim of DFG-VK to bring about a complete end to military violence and soldiering. DFG-VK aims for complete world-wide disarmament and works for the abolition of the German military. DFG-VK is part of a world-wide movement for peace, justice, and a decent future.

Bertha-von-Suttner Foundation

The Bertha-von-Suttner Foundation works for international understanding, peace, and international co-operation. It does this work in the tradition of pacifist Bertha von Suttner, who courageously fought against the militarist zeitgeist at the end of the 19th century, analysed its causes and spoke out against armament and its consequences.
The examination of the causes of war, and of ways to abolish the causes of war, ways of disarmament and the development of alternative, civilian forms of dealing with inter- and intra-state conflicts is one of the objectives of the Bertha-von-Suttner foundation.

Conference and Venue

The conference will be held at a venue in Damstadt (about 20mins from Frankfurt) and will run from Friday afternoon on the 8th June until the Sunday evening of the 10th. The whole venue will be booked for the conference providing accommodation, food, meeting rooms and a relaxed atmosphere. Although there may be some possibility of subsidy/funding applicants should expect a cost of about 120euros inclusive of all expenses which will be confirmed closer to the time.
Jugendhof Bessunger Forst e.V.
Aschaffenburger Straße 183-187
D-64380 Roßdorf


War Resisters' International,
5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX, Britain
☎ +44-20-7278 4040
☎ +44-20-3355 2364

More information

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