Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Uniting the Divided States: Applying Conflict Resolution to U.S. Polarization

Conference Resources

Finding the Way Out: A Once-a-Day Political Courage Challenge 

This challenge is a free, online resource that offers a menu of micro-exercises each day for 4 weeks, to help us start to break free from our culture of contempt. Developed by keynote speaker, Professor Peter Coleman.

Online Resources


  • Coleman, Peter (2021). The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization, Columbia University Press.
  • Klein, Ezra (2020). Why W’re Polarized, Avid Reader Press.

Journal Articles 

Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity, “Navigating Political Polarization in Times of Crisis: Lessons from the Difficult Conversations Lab,” Columbia Climate School, September 2018,

“American democracy at the start of the Biden presidency,” Bright Line Watch, accesses September 28, 2022,

Brookman, David, Joshua Kalla, and Sean J. Westwood, “Does Affective Polarization Undermine Democratic Norms or Accountability? Maybe Not,” OSF Preprints (December 2020): 1-25,

Carey, John M., Gretchen Helmke, Brendan Nyhan, Mitchell Sanders, and Susan Stokes, “Searching for the Bright Lines in the Trump Presidency,” Perspectives on Politics 17, no. 3 (September 2019): 699-718,

“Cross Tabs for October 2022 Times/Siena Poll of Registered Voters,” New York Times, October, 18, 2022,

Edsall, Thomas B. “How much does how much we hate each other matter?” NYTimes, September 29, 2021,

“Growing shares of both Republicans and Democrats say members of the other party are more immoral, dishonest, close-minded than other Americans,” Pew Research Center, August 5, 2022,

Iyengar, S., Lelkes, Y., Levendusky, M., Malhotra, N., & Westwood, S. J. (2019). The Origins and Consequences of Affective Polarization in the United States. Annual Review of Political Science, 22, 129–146, 

Langford, Katie (2023).  Unpacking Polarization: A Review of Recent Political Science Literature on the Misguided Nature of Our Divide. Pell Center,

“Republicans and Democrats increasingly critical of people in the opposing party,” Pew Research Center, August 9, 2022,

Singh, Prerna (2021). Populism, Nationalism, and Nationalist Populism. Studies in Comparative International Development 56, 250-269,

Panelist Bios

Nealin Parker is Executive Director of Search for Common Ground USA, a bold initiative of the world’s largest fully-dedicated peacebuilding organization. Prior to CG-USA, she was founder and Co-Director of the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton University. She holds a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Prerna Singh is a Mahatma Gandhi Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Brown University. Singh earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Singh’s research focuses on the improvement of human well-being, particularly as it relates to the promotion of social welfare and mitigation of ethnic conflict and competition.

Dr. Sean Westwood is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. Westwood studies political behavior and public opinion, examining how partisanship and information from political elites affect the behavior of citizens. His work focuses on understanding where partisan biases originate, where they manifest – inside and outside political domains – and their bounds. Sean received his PhD from Stanford University.

Keynote Bio

Dr. Peter T. Coleman is a Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University and a renowned expert on constructive conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Dr. Coleman has authored or edited a dozen books, well over 100 scientific articles and chapters, is the recipient of various awards, and his work has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Nature, Scientific American, PBS Newshour, and Harvard Business Review. His most recent book, The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization (2021), was released by Columbia University Press.