Bridges of Understanding



Ambassador Karim Kawar, Luma Kawar, and Kathy Hubbard — the original founders of the 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization Bridges of Understanding — remain committed now more than ever to the principles of global citizenship, instilling in everyday individuals a respect for our shared humanity through programs that foster strong bonds between and amongst those of disparate cultures and communities.


In this field that seeks to inspire rising generations of civic leaders, we are all emboldened to promote even further the exchange of ideas and personal narratives that remind us to learn from, rather than repeat, history and to celebrate Bridges of Understanding's signature mantra: 


Let’s Stand Together


In that spirit, Bridges of Understanding agreed to merge into Soliya in 2017 — marking an exciting new chapter of sustainable growth in content development and capacity for our mission-driven constituencies.


Bridges of Understanding was shaped with the dream of overcoming the widening divides between the United States and the Arab World in a post-September 11th society, reminding communities that, in the human race, similarities always outweigh differences. Throughout the years, innovative initiatives and partnerships allowed the organization to enter primary, secondary, and post-secondary classrooms with valuable lessons, reminding educators and students alike to look beneath the surface, to question preconceived notions and prejudices on the road to global citizenship. Thought-provoking dialogues at the desk, in the field, and online sought to humanize ‘the other’ — so that the very notion could one day cease to exist.  


Tens of thousands of individuals worldwide were engaged over the course of a decade through YouthTalk: A Bridges of Understanding and Global Nomads Group Initiative, expansive journeys with thought leaders throughout the Arab World, and partnerships with storied institutions like Georgetown University and Meridian International Center, revealing thoughtful collaboration to be a means through which impact could be deepened and widened.


As such, Bridges of Understanding's merger into Soliya represents an increased commitment by its founders to a vision for a better tomorrow in US–Arab relations and far beyond, reminding us that we are always stronger together. Bridges of Understanding has been lauded for empowering youth and young adults with the tools to become tomorrow's change-makers, and, within the auspices of Soliya, that legacy will always shine bright.


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Bridges of Understanding's Founding Board of Directors includes David G. Bradley, Samia Farouki, Kathy Hubbard, Ambassador Karim Kawar, Luma Kawar, and Marlene Malek. 


Bridges of Understanding Foundation, a United States not-for-profit, nonpolitical entity, was formally established and registered in 2006, with programming commencing in 2007.