The Polarization Report Is Out


Tim Phillips is the founder and CEO of Beyond Conflict. Using the unique approach of shared experience, Tim has helped catalyze the peace and reconciliation processes in several nations, including Northern Ireland, El Salvador, and South Africa. He has advised the United Nations, the U.S Department of State, and the Council of Europe and has been a frequent speaker in national and international forums, including the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S Congress. He also helped launch and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Club of Madrid, a forum for over 90 former democratic heads of state and government. Full Bio


Marty Walz is the Interim Executive Director at Beyond Conflict. She has over 25 years of experience and leadership positions in the non-profit, corporate, and government sectors, most recently serving as the Interim Executive Director at Old South Association and Science Club for Girls. Marty has previously served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, leading the organization’s health care, education, and advocacy work. A former State Representative, she represented the 8th Suffolk District for 8 years. Among her legislative achievements, she was the author of the 2010 education reform law, the anti-bullying law, and the law allowing the establishment of virtual schools. Marty has held leadership positions at non-profit and public organizations including Jumpstart for Young Children and Boston Public Schools. Marty started her career as an employment attorney, having practiced law at the national law firm Littler Mendelson and at the venerable Boston law firm Palmer & Dodge. She also worked as Associate General Counsel for Harcourt General, Inc. Marty holds a M.P.A. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and a B.A. from Colgate University.


Peter T. Brown is the Director of Finance at Beyond Conflict. He has worked in senior non-profit management and finance positions for more than 20 years and has a professional diploma from the UK's Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). He served as the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation for six years, as it developed its public outreach campaigns and membership programs. He has been a Director and Company Secretary for the New Internationalist Trust, and the Director and Treasurer for the Software Freedom Conservancy, and previously worked in London for BBC Network Radio.


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. Mike has a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from Tufts University and a Master of Science in Social Cognition from University College London.


As a Program Director, Michelle Barsa manages a growing portfolio of initiatives on social inclusion and behavior change communications. She recently held senior advisory positions on countering violent extremism at USAID, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Equal Access International. Prior, as a director at DC-based Inclusive Security, she advised on US foreign policy related to women, peace, and security, in addition to leading initiatives in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Sudan, Libya, and Nigeria. Michelle also regularly advises the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, the United Nations, and NATO on how to improve the effectiveness of security assistance provided to partner nations. She holds a master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University and a bachelor’s in finance and philosophy from Boston College.


Michael directs Beyond Conflict’s translational science and intervention work in polarization. As the Program and Research Lead, he is primarily responsible for creating, testing, and deploying evidence-based interventions to reduce toxic polarization and division. He also leads Beyond Conflict’s scientific research on these topics. Michael earned his Ph.D. in social psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The New School for Social Research, where he led an international program of research studying ethno-religious relations in the U.S., Fiji, and the Middle East. Michael’s research focuses on the social and political psychology of intergroup relations as well as on how evidence-based interventions can foster social cohesion by bridging racial, religious, and political divides. He is a proud graduate of Bates College, where he earned his B.A. in political psychology.

Michael Pasek , PhD

Rebecca Littman works with Beyond Conflict as the lead researcher on the Decoding Dehumanization initiative in Nigeria. She is also the lead researcher with the Managing Exits from Armed Conflict project in Nigeria, in collaboration with United Nations University. Her research focuses on conflict and conflict resolution, studying how behavioral science-informed interventions can be harnessed to reduce conflict and address social problems more broadly. She received a PhD in Psychology and Social Policy at Princeton University, a Masters of Arts in Psychology at Princeton in 2014 and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Government at Wesleyan University. She will be joining the faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology in August 2020.

Rebecca Littman , Phd

Ana Eira manages internal and external communications for Beyond Conflict. During her career, Ana has explored multiple facets of communications, from journalism to audiovisual production and public diplomacy, while working for multilateral organizations such as the Council of the European Union in Brussels. Prior to Beyond Conflict, she supported the re-election of Senator Elizabeth Warren as her Deputy Press Secretary. Ana holds degrees in Communications and Journalism from NOVA University and Universidad San Pablo Ceu of Madrid.


Alex Gulakos is on the Finance, Accounting, and Operations teams at Beyond Conflict. Before Beyond Conflict, Alex had worked in Operations at Bridgewater Associates, overseeing the hiring process for multiple recruiting searches. Alex graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Statistics and Bachelor of Science in Management at the University of Connecticut.


Dr. Samantha Moore-Berg is a Beyond Conflict Postdoctoral Innovation Lab Fellow based in the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research bridges the areas of social psychology, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience to study links between behavior and social-cognitive processes that evolve in intergroup contexts. Her main research interests include 1) designing and implementing prejudice and discrimination reduction interventions, 2) investigating how prejudiced attitudes give way to discriminatory behaviors, and 3) isolating cognitive functions that contribute to or predict prejudiced attitudes and subsequent behaviors. Samantha received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Temple University in 2018 and her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology at Florida State University in 2013.


Vivian Khedari DePierro holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology by the New School for Social Research and is a Predoctoral Psychology Intern at Montefiore Medical Center who first trained as a psychologist at Universidad Católica Andres Bello in Caracas, Venezuela. She has extensive clinical experience working with children and adults and is particularly interested in the treatment of psychological trauma and working with at-risk youth, forcibly displaced people and immigrants. She has been involved in research on the physiological markers of complex and acute trauma the U.S, South Sudan and South Africa; and recently completed the first RCT of The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychologists with Beyond Conflict in Jordan as part of her doctoral dissertation. Vivian integrates her research work into her clinical practice, working through a lens that considers clinical theory, psychobiology and the cultural and sociopolitical context.


For most of her career, Karen worked in entrenched violent conflict and post-conflict reconstruction contexts, specifically in Israel/OPT, Cambodia, Nepal, US, Ireland/Northern Ireland and South Sudan. Through her role as a civilian peacekeeper at the UN peacekeeping missions in Nepal and South Sudan, she partnered with local governments to create socially-inclusive policies and structures, and led teams to implement early warning detection systems. In Nepal and Cambodia, she conducted research and developed projects focused on addressing the needs of socially-excluded and vulnerable groups in the population. She has also led the largest mediation provider in the US and served as the Political Advisor on the Middle East Peace Process and Human Rights for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Karen is a Rotary World Peace Scholar and the runner-up winner of the FCO's Sir Nick Brewn Policy Excellence Award in 2015.

Karen Bernstein

Boaz Hameiri is a Beyond Conflict Postdoctoral Innovation Lab Fellow based in the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, under the direction of Beyond Conflict's Lead Scientist, Dr. Emile Bruneau. His research focuses on intergroup processes, intergroup conflicts, developing psychological interventions that aim to promote better intergroup relations and conflict resolution, and testing these interventions in the lab and in the field on a large scale. In his Ph.D. dissertation, Boaz developed a new line of psychological interventions based on the “paradoxical thinking” approach and tested it in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition, he is interested in studying victimhood as an interpersonal and intergroup phenomenon, and its effects on processes of conflict resolution and reconciliation. Boaz recently submitted his Ph.D. dissertation in social psychology at Tel Aviv University, where he also received his M.A. in social psychology in 2013 and his B.A. in psychology and communication in 2009.

Boaz Hameiri , PhD

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 In partnership with Beyond Conflict, Rhodes is directing a large longitudinal study on the development of racial biases among children from across the United States, towards the aim of developing new intervention approaches to prevent the development of racism in young children. More about her research is available at: Full Bio

Marjorie Rhodes , Phd

Michael Rizzo is a Beyond Conflict Postdoctoral Innovation Fellow based in Dr. Marjorie Rhodes’ Conceptual Development and Social Cognition Lab at New York University. Michael received his Ph.D. in Human Development and Quantitative Methodology from the University of Maryland and is broadly interested in children’s social and moral development. Michael’s current research examines the individual and environmental factors implicated in the development of racial biases during childhood, and the role of children’s understanding of others’ perspectives in their developing moral judgments and behavior. He also received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego.

Michael T. Rizzo , PhD

Evan DeFilippis is a Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab Doctoral Fellow working on his PhD in Organizational Behavior, a joint program with Harvard Psychology and Harvard Business School. He works with Professor Joshua Greene doing research on novel forms of cooperation designed to reduce political animosity. More generally, his research focuses on understanding the psychological underpinnings of belief and attitude change - particularly in political contexts - and in understanding the conditions that maximize the likelihood of conflict resolution. Before attending Harvard, Evan DeFilippis graduated from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School with a Master's in Public Affairs, focusing on quantitative and computational methods. He received undergraduate degees from the University of Oklahoma in Economics, Psychology, and Political Science, where he was the class valedictorian, a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and David L. Boren Scholar.

Evan DeFilippis

Bill Casebeer advises teams to develop novel science and technology to aid in conflict prevention and resolution. Most recently, Bill served as Senior Research Area Manager in human systems and autonomy for Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Laboratories. In that role, he led science and technology development to improve human performance, human-machine teaming, and training. His research interests include the intersections of cognitive science and national security policy, neuroethics, political violence, philosophy of mind, and human performance. Bill is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and former DARPA program manager.


Sarah Ryan is a Research Assistant for Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab. Sarah previously worked as a research assistant for implicit bias and game theory altruism psychology labs at Harvard University. She is interested in the social and psychological effects of chronic stress and discrimination. She is also interested in how implicit bias is reflected in policy, particularly in the realms of education and incarceration. Sarah holds a degree in Psychology from Harvard College.

Sarah M. Ryan