Faculty member Linda Tropp examines the ways in which contact between groups reduces prejudice. A recent meta-analysis of over 500 studies shows that greater levels of intergroup contact are typically associated with lower levels of intergroup prejudice. Moreover, these effects are enhanced when the contact is structured to promote equality and cooperative interdependence between groups, when it allows for close, meaningful relationships to develop across group boundaries, and when it is supported by institutional authorities.
In the summer of 2005, several graduate students partnered with Dr. Ilana Shapiro of the Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT) to host a three-week “Pro-Active Leadership Training Program” for Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot youth at UMass Amherst. Sponsored by Fulbright, the program brought together 40 senior high school students (20 Greek Cypriots and 20 Turkish Cypriots) for training in peacebuilding and leadership skills.