A Message from Lucas Welch to the Soliya Network

A message from Lucas Welch, Soliya Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, to the Soliya Network community. Here is a transcript of the video message:

Welcome to the Soliya Network, I’m glad you’ve decided to join us. If you’re watching this video, it means you have been a critical part of helping Soliya work to shift the way our societies deal with their differences.

At Soliya, we believe the world is reaching a tipping point of interdependence where our fates are now so intertwined, whether it’s the global economy, our environment or our security, that if we don’t learn how to deal with each other constructively, if we don’t learn how to get out of this win-lose, us or them mindset, then we’re all going to end up losing. Instead we need to shift away from that us-or-them approach to finding solutions that meet the needs of us and them.

This community consists of facilitators, fellows, trainers and coaches who have all committed tremendous time, energy and love to that vision. It is a private group for the key people who have been active with Soliya for the past several years; people without whom, we would not be able to implement our programs and have the impact we aim to have in the world.

The goal of this network is to put all of you amazing people together in an eco-system of social medial tools in order to connect, collaborate and promote constructive dialogue. It allows for more streamlined communication from us to you and you to us as well as a space where you all can feel connected to each other. This will be a space for you to make your own and we bring it to you as a result of feedback received from you all over the years; a place where you can feel in touch with your fellow Soliyans.

As we come together, I think it is a good opportunity for us to look back at what we have achieved together over the past ten years: together, we have connected over 4000 students globally, together, we have produced hundreds of videos viewed by over 35,000 people around the world. Together, we have amplified voices from our communities to world leaders at the United Nations Forums, the Arab League and various governmental and education institutions around the world.

And we have pioneered a new model for cross-cultural engagement that is now poised to scale up significantly in the coming years. Our Connect Program is now recognized as a gold-standard in the emerging field of virtual exchange. Virtual Exchange programs are defined as technology-enabled, sustained, people-to-people education programs, and we are working with a coalition of other virtual exchange organizations to make it the norm for all students to have a profound cross-cultural experience as part of their education. That means leading advocacy efforts so that governments, foundations and corporations provide more resources to virtual exchange programs like our connect program.

It means expanding our pool of highly skilled facilitators and it means building more and deeper partnerships with universities for our Connect Program. We are hoping that we can continue to count on you as we chart that path, because we think the world would be a different place if every student had the opportunity to engage in a meaningful cross-cultural experience as part of their education.

But we are not just betting on the power of virtual exchange to change the world. We’re betting on the power of you. We believe that if we can continue to learn together and grow you will each be able to take what you’ve learned and do extraordinary work together whether that means bridging international divides online or helping people in your local communities deal with the differences more constructively. We have mapped out a plan for your development within Soliya’s programming. Our engagement tree delineates all the opportunities available for you now and in the future that encompass both training and practice. You can see it in the community space. We hope that you will choose to grow with us as we do our work together.

So the two key components of the new online space are the Soliya Network Blog to help you stay tuned to Soliya’s updates and opportunities and also the Soliya Network Hub which is a private group that brings together the Soliya community of volunteers to socially interact and network with each other. You can find the details on the blog and sign up if you if you still haven’t done so.

We look forward to seeing you there and continuing to work and grow with you in this next chapter of Soliya. Thank you.
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