The Allophilia Project

Creating positively diverse schools, workplaces & communities

Hola, Bonjour, Hallo, Salut, Cia, Shalom, Namaste, Salaam... Hello!

In our inescapably diverse world is tolerance really what we want? No. We want diversity and inclusion that is positive, constructive, and joyful—better than, and beyond tolerance. Yet too often we spend our limited time and money trying to eradicate what we don’t want, negative sentiment, rather than promoting what we do want: positively diverse schools, workplaces and communities.

In 2004, when I launched the Allophilia Project at Harvard University, so little attention had been paid to what lies beyond tolerance—the opposite of prejudice—that it didn’t even have a name. My colleagues and I coined the word for it: allophilia. Literally, it means “liking and appreciation for others.” What it means in the world is that diverse members of a community have gone beyond tolerance and are engaged, interactive, joyful, and productive in all senses of these words. The community—be it a neighborhood, school, company, or country—is not only diverse, but positively diverse. This, in turn, means that all types of diversity—gender, ethnic, racial, religious, national, ideological, political, economic level, family formation, sexual orientation—are part of the positive mix.

Over the years I have been fortunate to work with a wonderful group of academic colleagues, students, managers of corporate diversity and inclusion programs, government officials, and community leaders all seeking to make a positive difference in diversity and inclusion. There is much more to learn and do. 

We seek research partners with whom to advance our understanding of positive diversity, corporate partners with whom to develop and use our practical tools, and friends motivated to support us in pursuing the full potential of this inescapably pluralistic world.

Read recent editorials in Harvard Business Review OnlineThe Harvard Crimson, Yale Daily News and Stony Brook Statesman and profiles of our work in The Economist and The Boston Globe.

To find out more about our work—including our books (Us Plus Them and Crossing the Divide), the Allophilia Scale and our organizational assessment tools, copies of our research papers, past national reports (e.g., Coexistence in Israel) and information on our services (including our new Taste a Sweeter World candy-based inclusion workshops—please email [email protected].