Mission: Bridges to Understanding empowers and unites youth worldwide, enhances cross-cultural understanding and builds global citizenship through the art of storytelling and the use of digital technology.
Humanitarian photographer Phil Borges founded Bridges to Understanding in 2001 to give youth around the world the tools to share their vision, hopes and dreams. Bridges connects hundreds of middle and high school students in the northwest United States with their peers in South Africa, India, Guatemala, Peru and other countries through teacher-guided online dialogues, curriculum-based programs and the creation and sharing of digital stories. Students from radically different backgrounds across the globe get a unique opportunity to learn directly from each other, ask questions about each others lives, and ultimately develop cross-cultural understanding and creative problem solving.
We envision a harmonious, inter-connected world in which youth are actively engaged as responsible global citizens.
Geographic areas served: International
Programs: The organization provides an online program which connects middle school students in the developed world with their contemporaties in indigenous communities. Central to the program is digital storytelling mentored by professionals and created by students. The organization provides tools and training that enable the students to tell stories from their own lives and communities. These stories are shared through the bridges website where the students can engage each other, ask questions about each other's lives and collaborate to create multimedia stories exploring their cultures.
Bridges to Understanding is tapping into an essential 21st century need, Global citizenship! In this techno/ internet era the world is shrinking and more and more we are having to interact as global citizens. Giving our kids the tools and skills to appreciate and understand other cultures and realize our common humanity is vital to our Country's economic future and National Security. Giving our U.S. kids an avenue to expand their understanding of the world and how we are much more alike than different as a people is invaluable. It goes without saying that the kids who are living in the reciprocating countries also receive these same benefits but would otherwise have little to no opportunity to gain those tech skills and learn about our country 1st hand.
Bridges to Understanding is one of the most effective and creative organizations doing global citizenship in the world. Their work with educators, students/learners and local activists is both powerful and long lasting.