Emily Evans

Emily is a socio-cultural anthropologist and peace innovator and the current Director of Programs and Research at the Peace Innovation Initiative. As a scholar and practitioner, she cocreates actionable and sustainable solutions for rebuilding our increasingly polarized public sphere through humanizing research, locally driven program design, and multi-sectoral cross-cultural spaces for innovation. Her insatiable curiosity for the motivations and methods people use to cultivate individual and collective resilience and belonging grounds her work, and she is currently researching how change happens within nonviolent and populist movements as she works to develop the field and practice of peace innovation.

Over the past 10 years, Emily has dedicated herself to uncovering the root causes of complex social and political issues that degrade trust and prevent communities from experiencing sustained belonging. Drawing upon lessons from deeply divided societies around the world and populist movements in democratic nations, her research and work uses ethnographic data and stakeholder feedback to generate deeper understandings of present issues and the communities involved. She focuses on uncovering the underlying factors and processes that make people more susceptible to mis/disinformation claims, populist political engagement, and hate-based violence.

In 2021, she pursued this commitment at King’s College London as an MA student in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies. Her graduate dissertation was a secondary ethnographic study of white rural and industrial American communities and the collective narrative that informed political engagement from 2008 to 2016. As part of this and other research projects, she has sought to make sense of the intricacies of public opinion and affective experience around issues including immigration, racism, and economic instability. Emily also has a BA in Anthropology and a Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies.

While Emily’s research and work are grounded in cultural anthropology, social psychology, and political science, she has a passion for harnessing the power of cross-cultural and crosssectoral thought and engagement for good. Having grown up in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands, her desire to connect across differences and bridge divisions in the midst of conflicting interests was nurtured from a young age, and she continues to incorporate these lessons into her everyday life, travels, research, and programmatic work.

Anthropologist, Peace Innovator, and Director of Programs and Research for the Peace Innovation Initiative