W elcome to The Depolarization Project. We exist to help people listen, learn and lead. We do this through researching what works (and what doesn’t), providing training courses to businesses, students and community groups and encouraging leaders to open up to changing their own mind.


The Depolarization Project sprang from a course at Stanford University that was implemented in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election. It drew attention from around the world after a feature in the Financial Times.


We are spending more time with more people who think like us. It makes it harder when we encounter difference, establishes barriers where previously there were none and fragments society. We believe that for society to function effectively, we need to embrace political difference - not walk away from it.


Changed my mind is The Depolarization Project’s podcast. We’re proud to work with Open Democracy, a global media platform, to share it with you. Each week we ask guests to tell us a substantive issue they have changed their mind on. We’ll ask them why they changed their mind, and what they have learned from it. Leaders are frequently told they shouldn’t change their mind, but in our polarizing times, is that still the case? Your hosting team for this podcast is Laura Osborne, Alex Chesterfield and Ali Goldsworthy. Find the latest episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic, Stitcher, TuneIn and a whole host of other platforms. Alternatively you can subscribe directly to the rss feed.


We run bespoke training courses for leaders in the community, colleges, NGOs and the private sector to help them to better listen, learn and understand the impact of their work. Central to our approach is that seeking out views that are different to your own is critical to depolarizing society. But having those conversations, reflecting on what is said and then changing behavior is deeply challenging. Our courses, developed at Stanford University, help participants overcome those challenges.



We're committed to trying to discover what is, and is not effective at tackling polarization. That means we occasionally contribute additional research on the topic. We are currently looking at two areas. The first, which will be supported by David Broockman at Stanford University will consider the impact of single issue campaigns on polarization. Building on a piece published in Quilette in fall 2018. The second is a qualitative series of interviews with people who have been triggered by social media to change their mind on an issue. We plan to publish both in 2019


There is a growing level of interest in polarization, what causes it and how to tackle it. We regularly summarise the latest research that has been undertaken by others as part of our newsletter. An ongoing catalogue of the work we have found and featured is available as a back catalogue.




Saumitra Jha

An Associate Professor at Stanford University Saumitra (Saum) Jha's work focusses on understanding the effectiveness of organizations and innovations that societies have developed to address the problems of violence and polarization. He is a professor by courtesy at the Stanford Departments of Economics and Political Science. Saum grew up in England, Scotland and the Indian Himalaya, he gained his undergraduate degree at Williams College, Masters at Cambridge University and was an Academy Scholar at Harvard before coming to Stanford. Saum is the faculty lead in Stanford's Conflict and Polarization Initiative.

Katherine Vasconez

Katherine is a corporate lawyer based in LA. A lifelong republican and outspoken supporter of President Trump, her family hail from Ecuador. In her spare time Katherine is a stand up comedian. She's been featured in The Independent, LA Times, Financial Times and Huffington Post.

Helen Mayer

Helen is a former Director of the successful campaign to persuade the UK to leave the EU (Vote Leave). A member of the Conservative Party and former local Councillor, she provides provides strategic political counsel and advice to politicians and companies. Helen began her career in fashion design and gemmology, gaining a degree from Southampton University. She has lived in Italy and Northern Ireland but is now based in London where she lives with her family, including a husband who was an active Remain campaigner.

Bernadette Clavier

Committed to entrepreneurial innovation and sustainable practices, Bernadette put 10 years of marketing leadership experience creating category winners in the private sector to the service of higher education programs that seek to advance solutions to the world’s global problems. As the Director of the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business she has explored multiple avenues to social progress including nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, impact investing, and responsible business. She has coached numerous students to find their personal path to impact and social entrepreneurs to launch successful ventures..


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