Bridge Builders Programme 2022

The Bridge Builders Programme is an online interfaith leadership programme, with weekly workshops, guest lectures, facilitated conversations and panel discussions, providing young people to listen to leaders, academics and activists, to explore your role as student leaders and activists.



Dialogue on Israel-Palestine is often the elephant in the room for Interfaith dialogue or causes friendships to be strained or to breakdown. In the past year, Antisemitism and Islamophobia, in particular on university campuses, has increased.

Bridge Builders Programme 2022 Logo

The Bridge Builders programme is aimed at student leaders in Year 12 & 13, to come together online to create a safe space for dialogue, have the opportunity to find your common ground, disagree respectfully and create opportunities to work towards the common good. You will have the opportunity to take part in weekly interactive workshops, guest lectures, facilitated conversations and panel discussion, with the opportunity to listen to inspiring speakers and ask questions. The following questions will be explored in more depth:

- What impact is Israel-Palestine having on campus & community relations in the UK?

- What role can student leaders play in promoting good relations on campus and in communities?

- What role can student leaders play in reducing tensions and polarisation?

- What is your role as student leaders in developing a solutions focused approach?

The Bridge Builders programme focuses on three pillars: finding our common ground, learning to disagree better and working towards the common good. [Check out a more detailed breakdown of topics below in the FAQ]

Israeli and Palestinian speakers discuss the conflict and the impact on their lives, surrounded by students listening.
Israeli and Palestinian speakers discussing the impact of the conflict on their lives.

Bridge Builders 2022 will be led by Ali and Poppy:

Mohammed Ali Amla, Youth and Partnerships Director, has 20 years experience of facilitating difficult dialogue on a range of topics, an interfaith activist and peace builder. He loves to create safe, compassionate and courageous spaces for dialogue and foster opportunities to learn from one another.

Poppy Soetens-Hall, Programmes and Events Manager with Solutions Not Sides, has been working on the Student Leadership Programme and with alumni networks since 2018. Before this, she worked with Palestinian civil society organisations and with binational Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding movements primarily based in the West Bank. 

All participants will be asked to commit to attending 2 workshops per week (90 minutes each) and a 15 minute virtual hang out. 

The course will begin in February 2022, dates, topics and speakers will be confirmed very soon.

Register by completing this form.

  1. When is it? - For 12 weeks, from February 6th 2022
  2. Where is it? - Online/Zoom
  3. Who is it for? - 30 participants, students currently enrolled in studies between Year 12 and 13. While the programme is partly designed to help enable interfaith dialogue on the issue of Israel-Palestine particularly between Muslims, Christians and Jews, anyone is welcome to apply, regardless of background, political beliefs, or prior knowledge or experience.
  4. Goal - To provide a safe space for those who want to learn much more about Israel-Palestine, receive training in conflict resolution and affect positive change within their societies or communities.
  5. What happens during the programme? – The online programme is full of talks, workshops, discussions, skills labs, and lectures and more! The focus will be on understanding social cohesion, interfaith and bridge building. All participants attend all of the sessions and there is always plenty of time to give your own opinions, ask questions, and hold your own discussions each week. The programme will be delivered over 12 weeks, aligning to a university module and with a commitment of: (a) two 90-minutes sessions and (b) a weekly virtual hangout between the two sessions.
  6. What kind of topics does the programme cover? - The Bridge Builders programme focuses on three pillars, finding our common ground, learning to disagree better respectfully and working towards the common good. Our learning outcomes include:
    • Understand identity, faith and belonging

    • Nurture Leadership skills

    • Foster critical-thinking skills

    • Understand social division in Britain today

    • Understand social cohesion, interfaith and bridge building

    • Foster intercultural competencies

    • Challenge hate, prejudice and discrimination

    • Understand Antisemitism and Islamophobia

    • Develop skills and knowledge about conflict resolution and peace building

    • Understanding about Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland and Balkans 

    • Develop skills in dialogue and public speaking

    • Build confidence

  7. What does SNS promote? - You can see our guiding ethos laid out in our programme principles. When it comes to the conflict in Israel-Palestine, we believe in centering Israeli & Palestinian voices, and that any solution must include an end to both the occupation and the conflict, and a win-win outcome. As an educational programme, our focus is on teaching the skill of empathy, providing humanising encounters that break down barriers and challenge prejudice, and teaching about embracing complexity and the value of critical thinking
  8. How much is it? –  The suggested donation for a place on the programme is £50. However, we are able to offer subsidised and free places for students meeting certain requirements. 
  9. What happens afterwards? - After the programme you will become part of the SNS Youth Leadership Network. This means that you will receive one-on-one mentoring and support from us for any activities you want to do in your schools/communities/campuses, including access to micro-grant funding. You will also have connections with dozens of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and hundreds of Bridge Builders and Student Leadership Programme alumni, are invited to speak at our events, can be part of our blogging programme, volunteer & intern with SNS as well as coming to our school sessions, are invited to reunions, events, and other activities.
  10. What have other participants gone on to do? - Over 200 students have now completed our Youth Network programming. Students have gone onto set up their own pro-solution university societies, set up charities, visit Israel - Palestine, work for NGOS, work for the Foreign Office, intern and even become employed at SNS, become teachers, campaign in parliament, do Masters or PHD degrees, volunteer for SNS in schools & at events, write blog posts, create art pieces reflecting their experiences, and many other brilliant things.
  11. When is the deadline? 9th January 2022
  12. How do I apply? - by completing & submitting this form.
  13. Do you run other programmes? - Yes, we run our annual Student Leadership Programme (SLP), which is designed for students who want deeper learning on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and to receive training in conflict resolution and affect positive change within their societies or communities. We envision graduates of the Bridge Builders programme to be first-choice candidates for the SLP, and for the two programmes to complement one another in content and aims. You can find out more about the SLP here.
Comments from previous participants:

“In the course I was able to learn much more about the problems and conflicts featured, especially from the speakers' first-hand accounts.”

“While prior to the programme I had a broad historical awareness of the conflicts that were studied, understanding the societal implications of said conflicts was particularly fascinating. It allowed to a deepening of comprehension of the necessity to combat contemporary issues rather than simply studying the history from arm's length.”

“At first I didn’t understand much about conflicts for example with Northern Ireland and now I’ve gained massive amounts of knowledge about how i can become an activist.”

“I knew lots on a factual basis about different Muslim issues, but this programme opened me up to the human side of it which was amazing.”

“After the Bridge Builders programme I believe I am more knowledgeable about the issues that affect me due to the fact that in this programme we discussed and evaluated global conflicts which I thought to not have an affect on me before this program, but now I feel more knowledgeable about global issues that can affect me e.g. Palestinian and Iraq conflict.”

“I have learned about different conflicts around the world and have more knowledge about issues that I didn't know existed, I gained more insight about these conflicts and have learned what I can do to be a part of the solution throughout the Programme.”

“Bridge builders helped me to fill the gaps in my knowledge about topics important to me.”

“Attending Bridge Builders made me aware of issues I wasn’t before and after attending the workshops I feel knowledgeable about them.”

“I never participated in an in-depth course that allowed me to express my views, regarding Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I learned a lot more about interfaith and the fascinating perspectives the speakers told us about. I found this very beneficial and I'm sure that anyone else planning to attend this course next time will surely love it!”