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At Soliya, our mission is to empower young adults to establish more cooperative and compassionate relations between their societies by combining the power of dialogue with the reach of new media technologies.
While we are living in a time of unprecedented threats and challenges, we are also living in a time of unprecedented opportunity. We now have tools that can connect us as never before. Like any tools however their ultimate impact depends on how we use them.
We believe that best-practices in dialogue from the field of conflict resolution present models that can and should be applied through these new tools to ensure interactions are constructive and promote deeper understanding and empathy.
In doing that, we focus our efforts on young adults, particularly those who are in higher education or active in civil society, because we believe that they are not only the leaders of tomorrow but also the change-makers of today. Youth have consistently been the driving force behind major social change movements, and that is only more true in this era of new media technologies, which they are always the first to master.
If we can enable a critical mass of these potential "influencers" in Western & predominantly Muslim societies to have profound cross-cultural experiences, then we believe the dominant paradigm for how our societies approach their differences would be one defined by cooperation & compassion instead of confrontation & coercion.
If so, then there would be fewer cross-cultural "sparks" such as pastors burning Korans, educated youth resorting to terrorism or governments ordering pre-emptive attacks. And when there is a spark, "influencers" in political, media, military & religious institutions would use their leverage to ensure their societies react reasonably in a way that does not violate the basic dignity or human rights of the other society.
In short, we would live in a world in which the governing question for approaching cross-cultural relations would be how do we meet the basic needs of us and them, not us or them.
Soliya is an international non-profit organization with offices in New York and Cairo and staff around the world.
Everything we do at Soliya combines best practices for constructive dialogue with innovative use of new media technologies to shift the way societies resolve their differences from a confrontational & coercive approach to one defined by cooperation & compassion.
Exchange 2.0 is the primary way we are doing that, based on the belief that, in the 21st Century, it should become the norm for students to have a profound cross-cultural experience as part of their education, whether it is in person or online. We have established an Exchange 2.0 Coalition with key partners to collaboratively make that vision a reality.
The Connect Program is our flagship program that demonstrates the potential of Exchange 2.0. Since 2003, Soliya has been committed to improving relations between Western and predominantly Muslim societies by enabling youth to participate in cross-cultural dialogue and education. Soliya’s Connect Program, a unique cross-cultural education program conducted through Soliya’s web-based video conferencing application, enables university students to collaboratively explore the relationship between their countries & regions with the aim of improving intercultural awareness and understanding. It has been implemented in over 100 universities in 27 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Europe and North America since 2003.
Facilitation Trainings provide ongoing engagement opportunities to alumni of the program and a space for applicants outside of the community to get involved as volunteer faciliatiors. Our custom trainings ensure we have dependable pool of high-quality facilitators for the Connect Program.
Finally, Civil Media, is the term we use to describe a new strategic model we are developing, which empowers the emerging community of young adults from our programs to amplify voices from civil society that are not commonly heard and catalyze constructive and respectful discourse across divisions about important socio-political issues.
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