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 engages 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), co-hosted by the Empirical Studies of Conflict (ESOC) and Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD).


Coming soon! Check back for a full list of BDI's active projects and partnerships, building on the examples below:

Research:  Trend and Risk Mapping

BDI uses different tools and methodologies to track demonstrations and political violence in real time, providing new data and risk analysis so that local communities and national organizations will be better able to address issues before they escalate.

Collaboration:  Online Bridging Organizations Map

BDI works to build an expansive picture of peacebuilding and reconciliation organizations across the country, to highlight existing work while developing new avenues for coordination and support.

BDI's Bridging Map is a resource for community building organizations and individual leaders to increase their network, coordinate, collaborate and focus resources to areas of highest impact. We are actively working to expand to incorporate further networks and coalitions. This includes continual outreach to new groups, expanding related locations under the "BDI Expansion from Network" tag from publicly available information, and connecting with existing groups on the map.

See our FAQ for how to join.

Policy:  Enabling Local Leaders

BDI is committed to advancing research and resources that enable local leaders and citizens to mitigate political violence and respond to incidents that do arise. We draw on lessons from international early warning initiatives with domestic expertise in US emergency management, faith-based, and community-building networks.

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