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Bridge Builders 2021 (Programme Announcement)

Bridge Builders 2021 (Programme Announcement)

Bridge Builders 2021 (Programme Announcement)

Solutions Not Sides* has launched Bridge Builders 2021, an online student leadership programme for 16-19-year-olds. 

The British Social Attitudes survey has identified a deeply worrying trend; 63% of the population believe that religion brings conflict than peace. This has been further echoed by the misperception that religion is divisive rather than uniting. The Bridge Builders Programme is an empowerment programme, which will equip young people with intercultural competencies to become active on campus and in communities. Young people will go through a process that emphasises finding common ground, learning to disagree better and working towards the common good.

The journey begins with creating a safe online space for thirty young people, exploring identity, faith and belonging, leadership and the key question: “who am I?” The next stage is an opportunity to encounter the perceived other in more depth, exploring the key questions of: “who are we?”; “Where do we live?”; and “why do we need to build bridges?” This will be an opportunity to build a foundation on our commonalities and learn to understand our differences, learn about social division, its causes and interfaith relations. “What happens when we disagree” is an opportunity to learn about global conflict, Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Israel-Palestine, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, mediation, negotiation, non-violent communication and negotiating peace. The programme concludes with attempting to answer this final question; how do we live together better? We are very excited to announce that we will be collaborating with Stand Up Education to deliver workshops on understanding and challenging antisemitism and Islamophobia, being an upstander instead of bystander, campaigning for change and becoming active through community organising and working towards the common good. 

Upon completing the programme, participants join the alumni student network and will be sent the Bridge Builders Challenge. Working in a small team with others living close by, each team will be mentored by an experienced leader and empowered to organise four events and projects throughout the year. Next summer, our Student Leadership Programme will bring young people together in person, and applications from Bridge Builders’ alumni will be prioritised. 

Bridge Builders will be online with a weekly commitment of three hours and six hours during February half-term holiday. Comprising of workshops, talks, discussions, skill labs, lectures, incubator hubs and much more. The programme will take place:

Sunday 7th February: Welcome and orientation (1 hour only)

Sunday 14th February: Identity, Faith & Belonging

Tuesday 16th February: Cohesion and division

Thursday 18th February: Conflict Resolution & Peace Building

Sunday 21st February: Palestine & Israel

Sunday 28th February: Building Bridges

Applications are now open; the deadline is Sunday 31st January, more details can be found here:

Previous SLP participants have commented:

“It has consolidated a lot of previous knowledge on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on-ground reality. I learned much more in regards to history, politics, economics and religion in the region”

“I’ve become more open to learning about other perspectives”.

“[The programme has] made me more passionate and determined to engage in dialogue”.

“It was an indescribably fantastic week”.

“I have learned so much in such a unique way. Not just about the conflict but about on cultures and religions.”

“I think my understanding has deepened far more than I expected it to, I feel like there were copious amounts of background to the conflict which I never really appreciated.”

“The programme was honestly perfect”.

“Definitely deepened my understanding both emotionally and historically.”

“I knew enough about the conflict beforehand to make an educated assessment of the conflict, but engaging with others really challenged and deepened my understanding.”

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

* Solutions Not Sides is an organisation focuses on creating humanising encounters and safe spaces to talk about the Israeli – Palestinian conflicts, without feeding Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, as they are both forms of hate speech and discrimination. The organisation does so by bringing Palestinian and Israeli voices into the same room to discuss the conflict, the realities of violence, the power dynamics, personal experiences, and use these discussions to see how peace can be reached. 

** DisclaimerThe views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the individuals and organisations involved and do not necessarily represent those of Urban Muslimz and its employees.

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