The Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) is a non-partisan research initiative that tracks and mitigates political violence in the United States. BDI supports efforts to grow and build local community resilience through elections and other periods of heightened risk, laying a foundation for longer-term work to bridge the divides we face as a nation.

Our work falls into three primary areas:

  • Producing action oriented, responsive research: BDI prioritizes public data production and analysis where it can fill existing gaps or empower local leaders.
  • Enabling cross sector collaboration and innovation: BDI proactively builds connections so individuals and organizations will be better prepared to mitigate risk and respond to crisis when it does arise. We engage practitioners, online and offline researchers, civil society, state and local government, and other key stakeholders via a suite of public and customized analysis, tools, and individualized outreach. We build on these relationships to explore how we can continuously improve and innovate together -- across the breadth and depth of existing efforts looking to scale in response to the risk of political violence.
  • Driving the policy and community response: BDI helps policy and decision makers at every level take action on a whole of society response to political violence, understand the need to address both short-term mitigation and long-term root causes, and advance policy solutions that ultimately support local community resilience and reconciliation.

BDI is based at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), hosted by the Empirical Studies of Conflict (ESOC), and initially incubated at Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD).

Philosophy / Values

The work of the Bridging Divides Initiative strives to be:

  • Flexible, responsive, and entrepreneurial
  • Multi-partisan, with shared core value of non-violent resolution of political difference
  • Non-duplicative, with value-add to existing work and strong partnerships