Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI)

Project Leaders
2018 to Present


The Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton University works to support local community resilience in the United States, building on expertise from political and elections work around the world.  BDI has an immediate focus of mitigating political violence in the US by supporting a more coordinated response around the 2020 election, while ultimately supporting longer-term solutions to societal polarization.


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