Category: Global Initiative on Polarization

As part of the Global Initiative on Polarization, the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) and the Ford Foundation are pleased to announce “The Global Conversation on Polarization”.

In IFIT’s May 2023 foundational discussion paper, First Principles: The Need for Greater Consensus on the Fundamentals of Polarization, the issue of polarization is presented as a ‘hyper-problem’: the special category of problem that makes the solution to every other problem harder. The paper also notes the dominance of a US-specific, rather than global, conceptualization of polarization.

Building on the wide-ranging global research, consultations and convenings held over the past two years in the context of the Global Initiative on Polarization, IFIT and Ford have now translated the discussion paper into twelve languages (Arabic, Bahasa, Chinese, French, Hausa, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu) and will organize multiple rounds of language-diverse convenings over the coming months, bringing together diverse experts and stakeholders from around the world to discuss key dilemmas, controversies and solutions to polarization in all eleven languages.

Through this intentionally global conversation, we hope to generate a more truly global understanding of the problem than has existed up to now. Along the way, we might also discover what is currently evident in much of IFIT’s and Ford’s global work: that while polarization can be overcome, it is a problem best avoided.

To learn more about the Global Conversation on Polarization, please contact [email protected].

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Our founder and executive director, Mark Freeman, was a featured speaker at the Minerva Stiftung Conference on “Non-Violent Resistance: Multi-disciplinary perspectives from the past, present, and future for today’s democracies.” During this event held at the Feldman Lecture Hall, Bar-Ilan University, on July 19-20, 2023, Mark delivered a presentation on “The Nature of Polarisation and Its Implications for Advancing Human Rights.”

Originally published by Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions.

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The Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) is holding a special in-person convening at its global HQ in Barcelona next week to explore critical challenges posed by the growing and troubling phenomenon of polarization. The event is taking place in the context of the Global Initiative on Polarization, a four-year collaboration between IFIT and the Ford Foundation

Over the course of two days, leading experts from IFIT’s and Ford Foundation’s networks, along with other global partners, experts and philanthropists, will discuss the threat that polarization poses for democracy, peace and security in countries around the world. They will also explore the ways in which such threats can be mitigated via narrative, dialogue, and institutional and legal reforms. Extra attention will be placed on Latin America – specifically Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico – where members of IFIT’s local brain trusts have conducted significant work on polarization. 

The discussions in Barcelona will directly inform the work of the Global Initiative on Polarization, which seeks to foster a deeper global understanding of the diverse causes, consequences, and solutions to growing polarization. Through interdisciplinary research, field-level work, expert convenings, and global network-building activities, the initiative aims to examine and expand practice-relevant ideas and strategies to prevent and mitigate the most dangerous forms of polarization.

Date: November 29-30, 2022

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JUNE 21, 2022 | Barcelona – This week, the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) launches 10 Peacebuilding Innovations: a year-long programme of events and initiatives to celebrate the organisation’s 10th anniversary. 

Commencing in July 2022, the series will explore innovative and scalable ideas and practices emerging from IFIT’s local and global work. The inaugural event, Locally-Led Peacebuilding: The IFIT Brain Trust Model, will examine the critical role of ‘go-between’ peace leaders in negotiation and transition contexts. In subsequent online presentations, discussions, and podcast episodes, members of IFIT’s 300+ expert-practitioner community will share their insights on our more important innovations.

Alongside the programme, IFIT is also launching its 10th Anniversary Fund, which will help us to expand and deepen our global programming, including by increasing investment in local peacebuilding innovations developed by members of our country brain trusts. The fund will also support the expansion of lessons-sharing and engagement across our thematic practice groups and bolster our pioneering global initiatives which address systemic gaps in the global architecture for peace. 

“Since its formation in the wake of the Arab Spring, IFIT has been providing integrated policy solutions to help fragile and conflict-affected states achieve more inclusive negotiations and sustainable transitions out of war, crisis or authoritarianism,” said Mark Freeman, IFIT’s Executive Director. “Over the past decade, we’ve harnessed local leadership, supported by international expertise, to respond to challenges of peace and polarization from Latin America to Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.”

We know that the success of peaceful transitions requires long-term engagement. Please support our next 10 years of impact by making a donation today.

Donate to IFIT's 10th Anniversary Fund

Your gift will help us to ensure that our community of  300+ local and international experts advance the cause of peace, democracy and human rights in the complex environments where it is needed most.

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NOVEMBER 11, 2021 | New York and Barcelona – The Institute for Integrated Transitions in collaboration with the Ford Foundation today launched the Global Initiative on Polarization

Through interdisciplinary research, global convenings, and applied work in selected focus countries, the initiative will examine practice-relevant strategies and challenges at the nexus of polarization, conflict and social justice. 

“Polarization is a critical global challenge of our time, but we are only at the beginning of understanding the types of interventions best suited to preventing or reducing its most severe and conflict-generating forms,” said Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice-President of Programs at the Ford Foundation. “We hope this unique collaboration will help civil society leaders and organizations better sustain their work to build more just and inclusive societies.”

The Global Initiative on Polarization not only will provide a deeper understanding of polarization through an international lens, but will also serve as a springboard for future work in this complex yet critical area, allowing for a broad alliance of actors to engage in coordination, strategy formation and joint problem solving on cross-cutting challenges of polarization. 

“Among other things, this collaboration seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge on promising and realistic strategies for combating extreme forms of polarization in both democratic and non-democratic settings”, says Mark Freeman, Executive Director of the Institute for Integrated Transitions. “We also want to help advance understanding of the diversity of underlying drivers of polarization, including deeply-embedded social and political narratives, while charting relevant criteria and metrics for effective interventions at both micro and macro levels.”

Over the next four years, the initiative will encompass global landscape analysis of the major actors and projects in the field; regular convenings that bring together diverse experts and stakeholders around key dilemmas and controversies; “learning by doing” exercises in selected countries; and the development of an interactive resource hub that helps support a community of practice on polarization.

To learn more about the Global Initiative on Polarization, please visit this link.

Media Contacts

Eleanor Weber-Ballard (IFIT)
+44 781 77 77 114
[email protected]

Matthew Creegan (Ford Foundation)
[email protected]


The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization with assets currently valued at $16 billion. For more than 85 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


The Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) is an international NGO dedicated to helping fragile and conflict-affected states achieve more inclusive, just and sustainable negotiations and transitions out of war, crisis or repression. Drawing on a network of over 250+ leaders and experts, the institute’s core work is to serve as an expert resource on integrated policy solutions for locally-led efforts to reduce polarization, increase dialogue and break cycles of conflict. 

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