The Polarization Report Is Out

For the Press

Conflict Resolution, Reconciliation, and the Intersection of Experience and Brain and Behavioral Science

Tim Phillips | Founder and CEO of Beyond Conflict

Tim Phillips is the founder and CEO of Beyond Conflict. Using the unique approach of shared experience, Tim helped catalyze the peace and reconciliation processes in several nations, including Northern Ireland, El Salvador, and South Africa. In recent years, Tim has led Beyond Conflict’s work with scientists and community leaders to apply lessons from brain and behavioral science to address a range of challenges, such as toxic polarization, racial justice and inclusion, conflict resolution and reconciliation. 

Expertise: Peace and reconciliation, conflict resolution, the role of leadership, political polarization in the U.S.

Preempting Racism

Dr. Marjorie Rhodes | Beyond Conflict Advisor, and Principal Investigator at the Conceptual Development and Social Cognition Lab at New York University.

Dr. Marjorie Rhodes is a Professor of Psychology at New York University. She directs the Conceptual Development and Social Cognition Lab at NYU, which conducts research on cognitive and social development in early childhood at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the American Museum of Natural History, various New York schools, and online at Discoveries in Action Lab. In partnership with Beyond Conflict, Dr. Rhodes is directing a large longitudinal study on the development of racial biases among children across the United States, with the aim of developing new intervention approaches to prevent the development of racism in young children. 

Expertise: Racial biases among children, cognitive and social development in early childhood


Karen Bernstein | International Peacebuilding Program Manager

Expertise: Evidenced-based peace-building, conflict mediation in entrenched conflicts, programming focused on vulnerable communities

For most of her career, Karen Bernstein worked in entrenched violent conflict and post-conflict reconstruction contexts, specifically in Israel and occupied Palestinian territory, Cambodia, Nepal, Ireland/Northern Ireland, and South Sudan. Karen has 20 years of working in conflict zones including as a UN civilian peacekeeper and as the Middle East Peace Process Advisor to the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Mental Health and Armed Conflict

Michael Niconchuk | Program Director with extensive experience in the Middle East.

As a Program Director, Mike Niconchuk leads the strategy and execution of initiatives focused on trauma and violence prevention in the U.S., Germany, Jordan, and Lebanon. These initiatives target two major themes: the link between neuroscience and participation in group violence (e.g., gangs, extremist groups, etc.), and the mind-body effects of conflict, forced displacement, and violence on youth and adults. 

Expertise: Trauma, neurobiology, public mental health, social belonging and group behavior, complex emergencies, conflict and fragility.


Dr. Michael Pasek | Research Fellow

Dr. Michael Pasek directs Beyond Conflict’s translational science and intervention work in polarization. As a Research Fellow, he is responsible for creating, testing, and deploying evidence-based interventions to reduce toxic polarization and division. Dr. Pasek has extensive experience conducting cross-cultural field research aimed at understanding and improving intergroup relations.

Expertise: Social and political psychology of intergroup relations, social belonging and group behavior, ethno-religious conflict, evidence-based interventions for social cohesion.

Media Contact

Ana Eira
Communications Lead
(646) 331-0027