Posted February 3, 2009
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Education

Laurier welcomes American scholar to speak on youth political engagement

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University will welcome James Youniss, a psychologist from the Catholic University of America, as this year’s Hunsberger Memorial Lecturer. Youniss, well known for his research on youth development, will deliver his lecture, Youth Political Engagement: Forging Healthy Identities, on February 6.

“Engagement in the wider society is an important context for adolescent and youth development,” said Laurier psychology professor Michael Pratt, who organized the lecture. “There has been a recent surge of interest in this topic within developmental psychology, and Professor Youniss' important research has been a major contributing factor in this growth.”

For the past 10 years, Youniss has examined the role that direct civic action such as community service plays in generating political awareness, a sense of agency and social responsibility among youth.

He has been recognized with a fellowship from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a senior fellowship from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Laurier’s annual Hunsberger Memorial Lecture was created in honour of Bruce Hunsberger, a Laurier psychology professor from 1974 to 2003 and chair of the department. Hunsberger was an influential scholar in the psychology of religion, prejudice and applied social psychology. He was a recipient of the William James Award from the American Psychological Association.
The lecture will take place Friday, February 6 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Bricker Academic Building, Room BA201. The lecture is free and open to the public. No advance registration is necessary.

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