Connect Program

The Connect Program—Soliya’s flagship virtual exchange initiative—is an online cross-cultural education program integrated into curriculum that provides young adults with a unique opportunity to:

Establish a deeper understanding for the perspectives of others around the world on important socio-political issues. globe-in-hands.png

Develop 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, cross-cultural communication, and media literacy. devices.png

Integrated into university courses across a variety of disciplines—including media 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 webconferencing 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 222 universities in 30 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Europe, and North America. Learn more about our University Partners »

Soliya has developed a full academic curriculum for the Connect Program including readings and classroom activities that complement the online dialogue sessions. Soliya conducts extensive evaluation of the Connect Program each semester in partnership with the Saxelab Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at MIT. Learn more about the impact of the program »

Download Curriculum Overview (PDF 330 KB) »

See what it's like to be in a Connect Session!







What if every student had a meaningful cross-cultural experience as part of their education? Working closely with the Saxe Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at MIT and the Annenberg School of Communication at University of Pennsylvania, we evaluate the educational impact of the Connect Program with a focus on empathy and understanding, 21st Century skills including critical thinking and cross-cultural communication and collaboration, empowerment, and activation.

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 community members.

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, an indication of their desire to continue to be engaged and to take a leadership role in fostering international understanding.



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.



Results guide Soliya’s ongoing development of the program and improvements to the curriculum. Evaluation results are also shared with professors, enabling them to better assess student participation and learning.


As a professor, how can my students participate in the Connect Program?

As a student, how can I participate in the Connect Program?

How does Soliya select participating universities?

What academic disciplines does the Connect Program relate to?

Is there a fee for participation?

What is required of participating universities?

What will Soliya provide to participating universities?

How much time is required of participating faculty and staff?

What is the timeline of the Connect Program?

What do we ask of participating students?

What criteria should be used in selecting participating students?

How is the Connect Program accredited at participating universities?

What are the technical requirements?


Have questions about the Connect Program? Contact Us »