Are you a university-level educator interested in online exchange with an Al Azhar English class?

The Al Azhar English Language Resource Center (ELRC) is committed to advancing the ideals of pluralism and mutual understanding among Westerners and Muslims. We are also convinced that individual citizens, when they work together, have the power to effect positive change on a large scale. Direct, structured communication across lines of cultural difference through exchange programs is among the most effective tools for broadening minds, and spurring action that moves us towards a global community. If you share this commitment and would like to collaborate with the ELRC and bring your students into direct contact with Muslims at Al Azhar via the internet contact: ben@elrccairo.net
*Please include
1. Your full name
2. Name of institution
3. Number of students to participate
4. Desired dates of exchange (if more than one-time exchange)
5. Desired type of exchange (written blog exchange, Skype individual or class video exchange, other-if other please provide details of proposed exchange).

In addition, the Azhar Dialog Project strongly recommends that all University professors interested in promoting Muslim World-Western World understanding through web-based exchange explore creating a Soliya pilot project (if interested contact karim@soliya.net) and making Soliya a course component. Visit www.soliya.net for more info

Read more about Soliya below


SOLIYA
Soliya


Overview
Soliya is an international non-profit organization that is using new media technologies to create and mobilize a global community of youth to promote intercultural understanding in diverse societies.

In October 2009, Soliya (www.soliya.net) merged with the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund and became an implementing partner of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

Soliya envisions a world in which deep international cross-cultural engagement – enabled by new media technologies - is a part of every young adult’s education.   New media and communications technologies have the potential to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding on a scale never before possible.  Soliya’s work aims to provide a diverse global community of young people with the skills and experience to effectively utilize these technologies to promote intercultural understanding within broader societies.

Soliya advances its mission through two main initiatives:  The Connect Program and Terana.

The Connect Program

Using customized videoconferencing technologies, Soliya’s Connect Program engages young people in sustained cross-cultural dialogue through accredited university courses.  Since 2003, Soliya has partnered with over 80 universities in more than 25 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States to deliver the Connect Program.


Screenshot of the Connect Program

Over the course of a semester, Connect Program participants:

  • Engage in weekly facilitated dialogue sessions with peers from universities around the world
  • Discuss important social, cultural and political issues such as identity, stereotyping, immigration and foreign policy
  • Follow a rigorous academic curriculum, which includes readings and group activities that supplement the materials used in accredited university courses into which the  program is integrated
  • Develop media literacy skills by creating, sharing and discussing their own news reports (produced from raw news footage provided Al Jazeera and the Associated Press)
The Connect Program has provided over 3,000 young people – in countries as diverse as Egypt, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Qatar, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States -  with opportunities for deep cross-cultural engagement using new media technologies through more than 80 prestigious institutions that include Al Azhar University, Yale University, The American University of Afghanistan, Dar El Hekma College (Saudi Arabia), Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia), Aarhus Unviersity (Denmark), Al Quds University (West Bank), University of Florence (Italy), and many more.

Soliya has ambitious plans to take the Connect Program to scale by developing partnerships with university networks, English Language training centers, and local NGOs.

Terana

Building on the success of the Connect Program, Soliya’s best and brightest alumni are now establishing Terana, a diverse online community of young people who are using new media to capture and share diverse perspectives and foster intercultural understanding in their communities.  The founding members of Terana represent a broad spectrum of political, religious, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, but share a fundamental belief that differences between people, communities, and cultures should be addressed with respect for our common humanity.

Terana combines the best of online media, social networking and citizen journalism.  Through this program, young adults:

  • Gain access to media training, media tools and partnerships with broadcast outlets
  • Create media content designed to share diverse perspectives with a global community of their peers
  • Amplify diverse narratives by disseminating the media content they produce through traditional and new media networks
  • Engage their societies in constructive conversations about divisive global issues through community outreach activities

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Visit: www.soliya.net or email: karim@soliya.net for more info