About us

We're a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization headquartered in New York and with global reach.  We combine the power of interactive technology and the science of dialogue to offer proven cross-cultural exchange and learning opportunities.

OUR MISSION
To prepare rising generations to approach differences constructively and lead with empathy, in order to thrive in an interconnected world. laptopheart.png

OUR VISION
A pluralistic world where diversity is embraced and conflicts are transformed into opportunities for collaboration and collective learning. globe.png

OUR STORY
Founders:
Soliya’s Founder Lucas Welch and Co-Founder Liza Chambers are two young social entrepreneurs from the fields of media and conflict resolution who believe that a meaningful cross-cultural experience at a formative age can profoundly shift the way young people deal with difference. They designed Soliya’s programs to empower the next generation to thrive in a globalized society and workforce.
Our Name: Soliya. Sunlight. We wanted a name that matched our goal to enlighten. We wanted a name that was a bridge between cultures. We wanted a name that was at once old and new. We created that name, marrying an ancient Latin word for “sun” and Arabic word for “light.”
Bridges of Understanding: In 2017, the not-for-profit Bridges of Understanding, founded by Ambassador Karim Kawar, Luma Kawar, and Kathy Hubbard, agreed to merge into Soliya upon its tenth anniversary and expand our impact. Learn more >> logo-icon.png

THE FIELD: VIRTUAL EXCHANGE
The world is more interdependent than ever before, and the challenges of the 21st Century demand multilateral solutions. It is critical that the next generation build the skills and attitudes they need to collaboratively address these challenges. Virtual exchanges—defined as sustained, technology-enabled, people to people education programs—can vastly expand the number and diversity of young people who have access to profound cross-cultural experiences as part of their education. In 2011, together with iEarn USA and GNG, Soliya formed the Virtual Exchange Coalition to raise awareness, grow the field, and together reach many more and more diverse young people globally. Learn More » virtual-exchange.png