What we seek to accomplish

Understand the underlying mechanisms of polarization and depolarization, with clear and measurable indicators of these mechanisms.
Measure and map polarization between and within societies and cultures in a global context.
Inform culturally relevant polarization preventative and mitigating innovations.

Closed: Request for Proposals

November 28, 2022 through January 24, 2023

Go to the RFP

Polarization affects everyone

Polarization affects us all. It is a complex and increasingly pressing issue that speaks to some of the fundamental questions surrounding human flourishing. We don’t expect to solve the problems associated with polarization completely. Instead, we seek to help societies flourish in a world where increasing polarization is becoming more common.

In the context of this Priority, we think of polarization as both an opportunity to precipitate progress from competition (if the polarization can be resolved), and a potential threat to our flourishing (if the polarization is not resolved).

Opportunities for progress may arise when we are better able to listen to and learn from each other in a range of contexts. Conversely, potential threats may arise in polarizing situations leading to erosion of trust in institutions or to intense dislike, dehumanization, or reduced empathy for those on the other side. This can lead to a range of problems, including violent conflict and economic disruption.

We believe that all kinds of progress in society, whether spiritual, economic, physical, or social, will require connection amongst those with opposing views to work together towards solutions to society’s most pressing problems. Such practices should be able to scale continuously to cope with increasing polarization.

About Listening and Learning in a Polarized World

Templeton World Charity Foundation has launched Listening and Learning in a Polarized World (LLPW) to support research for new scientific discoveries that can help humans flourish in a world confronted with increasing polarization. It is a direct output of our new five-year strategy to support new scientific research on human flourishing and to translate related discoveries into practical tools for dissemination. 

Learn more about our approach and the opportunities we see to make progress in this field here.

Building the Field of Human Flourishing

Listening and Learning in a Polarized World (LLPW) makes use of a range of funding, networking, and engagement mechanisms to discover innovations that can help humans flourish in a world confronted with increasing polarization.

How we will bring this area of inquiry to life

To execute these actions as a coherent program, the LLPW Priority will structure them around these ongoing activities: 

diverse group in conversation

Collaborative Relationships

Starting at launch, and for the majority of the project's duration, we will search for opportunities to partner with other funders and institutions to leverage our approach in the field. We will make strategic grants to facilitate these interactions and support collaborative efforts to grow the field. We will use networking and strategic grant development to explore a range of interactive opportunities.

Listening and Learning in a Polarized World - Templeton World Charity Foundation

Measurement, Learning & Evaluation

We will use measurement, learning, and evaluation activities to evaluate our progress through the life of LLPW and create an iterative process for structuring our activities.

Listening and Learning in a Polarized World - Templeton World Charity Foundation

Signature Grant Events

We will then commit the bulk of our resources through coordinated signature grant events.

 Listening and Learning in a Polarized World: Polarization

Play this video for insights into why this area of focus matters for human flourishing.

Featured Projects


Exploring the Power of Immersion and Emotion for Intervention Design

Evidence-based social programs are needed to reduce the expression of prejudice and promote social justice. However, efforts to combat prejudice...

The Cambridge Overcoming Polarization (COP) Seminar

The Cambridge Special Interest Group (SIG) on Disinformation and Media Literacy is an interdisciplinary and university-wide project (part of the...

Open research program launch and analysis: creating a blueprint, evidence and credit for collaborative open practices

Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) is launching its new Listening & Learning in a Polarized World (LLPW) priority as a grant program...

An Open-Science Platform to Improve Deliberation and Reduce Polarization

This research program seeks to discover which interventions most reduce social polarization in deliberative groups and populations. Prior research...

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