Working closely with the Saxe Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at MIT, we evaluate the educational impact of the Connect Program with a focus on Empathy & Understanding, 21st Century Skills such as critical thinking, cross-cultural communication & collaboration skills, and empowerment & activation.
Quantitative Feedback from Students
90% are glad to have participated in the program and would recommend participation to their peers.
82% agree that participating in the program helped them clarify what they think and feel about issues that are important to them.
25% increase reported in having a good understanding of their peers from other regions, and recognizing they have a lot in common with them.
25% increase in having challenged media representation about the relationship between their societies and societies abroad.
90% shared information about what they were learning with their peers and other people in their community.
25% increase in speaking out or acting to promote awareness about an issue related to international affairs after participating in the Connect Program.
30% of Connect Program alumni go on to participate in our UN-certified Facilitation Training program after completion of the program as an indication of their desire to continue to be engaged and to take a leadership role in fostering international understanding.
Qualitative Feedback from Students
“Soliya allowed me to open the box that I was living in for a long time and see the world around me. It taught me never to judge people according to where they live…It made me discover my personality all over again.”
-female student, University of Jordan, Jordan
“Never before have I been able to discuss such interesting topics with so many people all living in different countries at the same time. Our discussions were always really fertile and I feel that they broadened my personal horizon a lot.”
-female student, Basel University, Switzerland
“The best thing about the Soliya program was being able to meet and interact with people from around the world. To have a global network is invaluable in this day and age. And then to be able to have intellectual conversations within the group was priceless to our education and life perspectives.”
-female student, University of Northern Colorado, US
“[What I learned most is] To have self-confidence and to give my opinion in freely without any fear.”
-male student, Al Azhar University, Egypt
Quantitiative Feedback from Professors
97% say the Connect Program helped them accomplish the goals for their course.
89% say the Connect Program enhanced the quality of discussions in their class.
90% of professors agreed that their students developed an understanding of alternative perspectives through their participation in the Connect Program.
81% say students gain confidence, communication skills and critical thinking skills.
88% say students gain media production skills and increase their ability to be critical media consumers.
Qualitative Feedback from Professors
“The Soliya program was phenomenal in terms of its impact on the students' capacity to engage, learn, and quite frankly, be transformed [...] Across the board, all of the students displayed a heightened consciousness of the diversity and multiplicity of perspectives. […] the aim is to open up minds and spur young people to taking their responsibilities as global citizens more seriously”
-Dr. Junaid S. Ahmad, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan
“Your program is an invaluable window into direct cultural exposure with this other; often resulting in positive engagement with issues that often menaces their daily lives. […] The "Connect Program" offers sustained cross-cultural exposure over longer periods of time. And it has been very fruitful. So, thank you for offering this program to a community of middle and low-middle class students who are in need to see others as they really are; human beings sharing common fear, love and hopefully understanding.”
-Dr. Osama Madany, University of Menoufeyya, Egypt
“It is fine to talk about theories about “engaging the other” or “increasing understanding across cultures”, but Soliya puts the students on the front lines on intercultural relations. They will learn more about themselves and their place in the world in the Soliya sessions than in a semester in International Relations classes.”
-Ambassador Cynthia Schneider, Georgetown University, USA
“The Soliya element was crucial to the students' understanding of the Arab world and of the religious element in particular. […] Their eyes were opened to a reality with which they had previously had no contact, except through the media. They discovered through direct contact with young people of their age the events and emotions associated with the realities of the Arab world. In short, Soliya is my students' window on the Arab world and is simply indispensable in that context.”
-Dr. Robert Crane, École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, France