Pitt’s Center for Governance and Markets has won a $2.4 million grant to study how societies overcome deep differences

A research team led by Pitt’s Center for Governance and Markets (CGM) will use a new three-year, $2.4 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to examine how societies can manage – and overcome – polarization and social divisions.

The center, which is part of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at the University of Pittsburgh, announced the grant Sept. 17. 20.

Co-researchers Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs and Founding Director of CGM, and Paul Dragos Aligica, KPMG Professor of Governance at the University of Bucharest and Senior Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, will grapple with one of the problems of governance the most pressing issues facing the world today: how growing social diversity, worldviews, pluralism of values ​​and lives shaped by contemporary social and technological change foster conflict and redefine communities.

“This work is so important in our context of ever-increasing interconnectedness of systems and people across the globe, coupled with growing divisions between so many facets of our society,” said Carissa SlotterbackDean of GSPIA.

The project will explore the tools that communities are developing to overcome profound differences in conditions of increasing heterogeneity. Scholars aim to develop and test a range of intellectual traditions by investigating and articulating tolerance-based solutions to these challenges.

Researchers will combine quantitative survey data and field research, among other countries, in Ukraine, Romania, Uzbekistan and the United States, with a focus on Rust Belt communities around Pittsburgh. Research partners include professors from the University of Bucharest and the Kyiv School of Economics, which has close ties to Pitt in the form of President Tymofiy Mylovanov, Associate Professor of Economics in Pitt’s Department of Economics and Fellow of the CGM faculty.

“We are delighted to support this project, which will explore some of the most fundamental challenges of free societies,” said Amy Proulx, director of individual liberty and free markets at the John Templeton Foundation.

— Chuck Finder, photography by Tom Altany

Helen D. Jessen