International Positive Youth Development: Challenges and Opportunities in Policy and Practice


  • Lisa A. Lauxman Independent Consultant and JYD Publications Committee Member
  • Thomas Archibald Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education; Virginia Tech
  • Elizabeth M. Dowling Tufts University, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development
  • Cassandra Jessee International Center for Research on Women



international positive youth development, evidence base, cross-sectoral, gender, youth voice, civic engagement, conflict and crisis, integration of research and practice, LMIC, specificity principle


This special issue of the Journal of Youth Development on international positive youth development brings together diverse perspectives of research, practice, and policy regarding the challenges and opportunities facing international efforts to promote the positive development of youth. To represent a plurality of perspectives on international PYD, the authors sought to represent a variety of continents, countries, genders, races, ethnicities, sectors, and levels of experience with publishing. There is also variety in the types of articles such as case studies, presentations of frameworks and curricula, letter-style commentary by youth, and cutting-edge research methodologies and studies. A few key themes frame the volume, including (a) diversity in definitions of youth and operationalizations of PYD; (b) the multifaceted and multidimensional ways in which PYD is integrated into different sectors, domains, and types of programmatic and organizational contexts; and (c) the importance of and need for an accessible evidence base of PYD informed by rigorous science. Thought leader commentaries are interspersed in the beginning, middle, and end of the issue. The articles represent the current state of the field of PYD internationally with an outlook toward the future and how the integration of PYD research and practice can enhance contributions of youth to equity, social justice, and democracy.

Author Biography

Lisa A. Lauxman, Independent Consultant and JYD Publications Committee Member

Dr. Lisa Lauxman retired 10-11-19 as a National Program Leader in the Center for International Programs (CIP) within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).Previously, Dr. Lauxman served as the Director, 4-H National Headquarters, Division of Youth & 4-H from February 2010 to July 2018. Dr. Lauxman provided national programmatic leadership leveraging the land-grant universities’ resources of Cooperative Extension for international opportunities, emphasizing international positive youth development in agriculture. Her areas of expertise and research interest include positive youth development, non-formal learning, youth voice and advocacy, civic engagement, and youth and adult leadership. Before February 2010, Dr. Lauxman served on an Inter-Personnel Assignment (IPA) to 4-H National Headquarters from the University of Arizona. Dr. Lauxman’s career spans over thirty-nine years in the cooperative extension land-grant system serving in two counties in two different states, at the state level and was active in the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) serving as President. Dr. Lauxman earned her Doctorate in Educational Psychology with a minor in Psychology in Program Evaluation Research Methodology from the University of Arizona as well as an M.A. in Educational Psychology, an M.B.A from Emporia State University, and a B.S. in Home Economics Extension from Kansas State University.


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