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Harvard Undergrads Debunk Myth of Youth Apathy

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October 2003
Harvard Undergrads Debunk Myth of Youth Apathy

Written by two Harvard undergraduates, Ganesh Sitaraman (a native of Marietta, GA) and Previn Warren, Invisible Citizens offers a realistic assessment of young America's attitudes toward politics. It elucidates the worries of a generation, untangles the true reasons for youth disinterest and disengagement with public affairs, and offers America's policymakers, educators, and parents a set of fresh solutions for restoring civic pride among young people. Do you think you are in tune with today's youth? Do you know what they care about? Invisible Citizens debunks the myth that they are apathetic and portrays them as integral members of our society who collectively spend millions of hours each year volunteering at soup kitchens, building homes, tutoring underprivileged children, and caring for senior citizens.

The authors argue for a complete shift away from a manipulative political structure with a voracious and ceaseless appetite for power. In summing up, they write: "Our generation cares too much about real people and the issues that affect them to waste their time on what they see as an endless batch of would-be leaders who are busy responding to polling data to actually lead. This perception is born less out of apathy and more out of disgust. A lack of courage has inspired a lack of engagement. And it has led to what may be the truly greatest tragedy of the 21st century, our generation's disavowal of the political realm."

This work was developed and written by young people working out of Harvard University's Institute of Politics, the nation's premier nonpartisan political organization devoted to young people. Invisible Citizens is centered on the thoughts, reflections, and opinions of a diverse body of students from across the country. As Ganesh remarked, "The book was written entirely by young people, and details why our generation hates politics and what policymakers can do about it." He is studying government and international relations, and is a former chairman of the Harvard Political Union. Previn, the co-director of the Harvard Progressive Advocacy Group, is studying modern intellectual history and social thought. This is their first book.

- Murali Kamma


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