It wasn't all bad news in 2015.
Iran finally reached a major agreement with Western powers on its nuclear programme. And negotiators from nearly 200 countries signed a deal committing the world to fight climate change.
But 2015 was also the year when events seemed to divide us, increasing our fear and suspicion of one another, not leaving much room for the middle ground.
The first big story of the year was a tragic indication of things to come.
On January 7, gunmen stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and killed 11 people.
It was followed by other ISIL led or inspired attacks, again in Paris but also in Beirut, Tunis, San Bernardino and elsewhere.
Along with events in the Middle East, this year exposed how divided Muslim and Western countries are on how to deal with ISIL and its ideology.
The armed group's attacks, combined with an unprecedented refugee crisis, also triggered a debate on what it meant to be European or American and the place of Muslims in those societies.
The violence served to embolden right-wing populists such as Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, bringing their often provocative views from the political fringe deeper into the mainstream
2015 also revealed a crisis in the European project, on how to collectively deal with refugees and the aftermath of the recession, while Greece's financial problems tested the limits of European solidarity.
On this end-of-year review, Al Jazeera looks at some of the stories that mattered and asks: Are we heading towards more polarisation or cooperation in 2016?
Arjun Appadurai, Socio-cultural anthropologist and Goddard Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University.
Bessma Momani, CIGI Senior Fellow and Professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo
Source: Al Jazeera