Building Bridges was founded with the belief that conflicts are rooted in ignorance and misunderstanding of the ‘other’. Therefore, bringing people together and helping them come to deeply understand one another can break the cycle of violence, and inspire them to seek collaborative solutions to the challenges they face. Our longest running program, Building Bridges MEUS (Middle East, U.S.), was launched in 1994, just months after the historic Israeli-Palestinian Oslo peace accords in 1993. It brings young Israeli, Palestinian and American women together in person for dialogue, discussion, and education. Since that time, Building Bridges has continued to grow and refine our curriculum.
In 2009, we published a Best Practices Report for cross-community interventions that is in use around the world. Additionally, Building Bridges has led programming in other conflict and post-conflict areas, including Northern Ireland and South Africa, as well as ongoing work with diverse young people from the United States. To date, over 2,000 young people have participated in Building Bridges programs, and many have continued to be involved in cross-community work in their personal and professional lives, effecting immeasurable impacts in their homes and their communities. Many more people have been impacted by partner organizations’ programs predicated on the Building Bridges model, such as Creativity for Peace in New Mexico and NewGround in Los Angeles.