Conflict thrives in divided societies, particularly when individuals in positions of power exploit differences for personal or political gain. Many factors, including scarcity of resources and recent histories of intergroup strife, can further exacerbate divisions and drive citizens apart based on political, ethnic, religious and other identity factors. When allowed to deepen, these divides threaten social cohesion and undermine the foundation of cooperation and collective action in democratic societies. As polarization increases, so do the challenges faced by governing institutions. Strengthening inclusive democracies can reduce polarization and bridge intergroup divisions by bringing communities together to pursue shared interests and to develop sustainable intergroup relationships.
Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa
Ben Malick is a program officer on the Middle East and North Africa team, where he supports the Institute’s programs in Jordan and Libya. Prior to joining NDI, Ben served in the US Marine Corps as an Arabic cryptologic linguist.