Soliya was piloted at FCCU by History Departments with 10 students in 2013. Since then it has been a graded assignment in different disciplines like History, Religious Studies, Center of Dialogue and Action, and now Political Science. So far 184 students have been active participants of the program.
The Connect Program at FCCU is sponsored by the Soliya and to a total cost of 25000$ / per semester for a class of 30 students.
The Connect Program, Soliya’s flagship virtual exchange initiative, is an online cross-culture education program integrated into curriculum that provides young adults with a unique opportunity to:
- Establish a deeper understanding for the perspective of others around the world on important socio-political issues.
- Develop 21st century skills such as critical thinking, cross-culture communication, and media literacy.
It can be integrated into university courses across a variety of disciplines, including studies, international relations, and religious studies, the Connect Program gives students the opportunity to engage in facilitated and substantive dialogue, and build meaningful relationships across national, cultural, religious, and ideological boundaries through a web conferencing application, students speak face-to-face in groups of 8-10 global peers, with no more than two students from a physical classroom assigned to the same online group so as to ensure a deeply multilateral learning experience. Each group is led by one or two facilitators trained, by us, to sustain dialogue and support an environment where students can comfortably explore perspectives, uncover biases, and arrive at a better understanding of cultures, with the goal of developing the global competence essential to thriving in an interconnected world.
Since 2003, the Connect Program has linked students from over 100 universities in 30 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Europe, and North America. Soliya has developed a full academic curriculum for the Connect Program including readings classroom activities that complement the online dialogue sessions. Soliya conducts extensive evaluation of the Connect Program each semester in partnership with Saxelab Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at MIT.