About us

Soliya is an international nonprofit organization preparing the next generation with the skills, attitudes, and commitment to engage with difference constructively. We operate at the intersection of technology, peacebuilding, and global education to foster local awareness and global perspectives.

Our mission is to empower young people to establish more effective, cooperative, and compassionate relations within and between their societies by providing high quality global education that combines the power of dialogue with the reach of new media technologies. laptopheart.png

We want to see a world with inclusive and pluralistic societies where diversity is embraced and conflicts are transformed into opportunities for collaboration and collective learning. globe.png

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 with a view to empowering the next generation to thrive in a globalized world and workforce.
Our Name: Soliya integrates the Latin word for sun, sol, and an ancient Arabic word for light, iya ( إياة ). The word "iya" is rare, but can be found in the Mu’allaqat, or The Hanging Poems, a collection of renowned pre-Islamic poems that hang on the Ka’aba. The name reflects our aim to bridge divides and shed light on cultural differences that too often seem inevitable and intractable.
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 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