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Listening and Learning in a Polarized World

Making 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.

Polarization affects everyone.

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 Listening and Learning in a Polarized World, 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 five-year strategy to support new scientific research on human flourishing and to translate related discoveries into practical tools for dissemination.

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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.

How we will bring this area to life

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

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.

Measurement, Learning & Evaluation

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.

Innovative Grantmaking Mechanisms

Grantmaking Mechanisms

We will then commit the bulk of our resources through innovative grantmaking mechanisms.

What is Listening and Learning in a Polarized World?

Listening and Learning in a Polarized World: Polarization

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

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