Bridges of Understanding Announces Merger with Soliya

“In today’s heavily interconnected world, the need to empower our next generation of civic leaders with the empathy that stems from communication is greater than ever.”

Bridges of Understanding (BOU), a not-for-profit, nonpolitical organization dedicated to bridging the cultural divide between Americans and people of the Arab world, announced that the organization has entered into an agreement to merge with Soliya (, pending the approval of the New York Attorney General. With over 10,000 alumni from around the world, Soliya is a pioneering Virtual Exchange organization that provides sustained, technology-enabled cross-cultural programs for the higher education space.

BOU has spent a decade focused on innovative primary and secondary school education that illuminates shared human experiences between cultures. “For 10 years, Bridges of Understanding’s programs have helped youths shift perception and overcome cultural divides,” says Faisal Al-Juburi on behalf of BOU. “The merger with Soliya promises to deepen the organization’s impact on the field of cross-cultural relations, expanding into the post-secondary market and embracing a holistic worldview, inclusive but not limited to US-Arab relations.”

Over the past two years, BOU has grown its portfolio of primary and secondary school activities in partnership with the online learning platform NextLesson, making programs available to an audience of over 60,000 educators and two million students. In the same period, Soliya’s university level Connect Program, anchored by its newly launched proprietary exchange portal, has seen exponential growth, from 700 students in the 2015-2016 academic year to nearly 4,000 students anticipated this year from the organization’s network of 160 institutions in 30 countries. Through the guidance of trained facilitators and a UN Habitat partnership that certifies them, undergraduate and graduate students with concentrations in history, political science, international affairs, business, and beyond come together to engage in face-to-face virtual dialogues around relevant, conflict-prone topics.

By merging into one organization, BOU and Soliya are ensuring that thoughtful reflection and exchange amongst cultures and…

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