DURATION: 09/09/2016 - 09/30/2019
FUNDER: U.S. Department of State

Program Description

Everyday individuals in our communities – storytellers, artists, musicians, and others – are at the center of vibrant societies, and are in a unique position to preserve cultural heritage.

Calling all cultural heritage organizations!

World Learning is looking for organizations that are interested in engaging their local community in a unique virtual and in-person exchange with an international counterpart institution. Cultural organizations invited to apply include, but are not limited to, art centers, cultural associations, historical sites, museums, libraries, and universities. This opportunity is most ideally suited for organizations looking to establish and sustain a new international partnership.

Please click here to submit an inquiry if your organization would like to receive an application when funding becomes available.

International cultural heritage organizations from eligible countries must be nominated by their respective U.S. Embassy to participate.


Communities Connecting HeritageSM is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning. The program engages underserved communities, empowers youth, and builds partnerships between communities in the U.S. and in key strategic world regions through exchange projects that explore cultural heritage topics. These projects advance tangible and intangible cultural heritage appreciation and preservation through community outreach and public education.

Countries: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Maldives, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan

Program Goals

The goals of the CCH Program are to:

  • Promote mutual understanding between cultures.
  • Showcase cultural organizations as vibrant, engaged and influential for community and national identity.
  • Increase awareness and understanding of American art, culture, values, and society for international participants and audiences.
  • Foster opportunities for education outreach and community engagement with diverse and underserved communities, especially youth, women, ethnic minorities, and refugees.
  • Provide unique opportunities for artistic collaboration, engagement, and public exhibition between American and international participants.
  • Create opportunities for sustaining relationships and collaboration between U.S. and international participants and institutions.

New Communities Connecting Heritage Projects

Communities Connecting Heritage is pleased to announce the five new cultural heritage projects that will receive funding in its second year. Partnerships between five U.S. and five international organizations will implement mutually designed cultural heritage preservation projects through virtual exchanges and reciprocal in-person exchanges, as well as public exhibitions engaging their larger communities. Following are brief descriptions of our new projects that will be implemented in the 2018-19 cycle.

Mandala Theater (Nepal) and Creative Connections (Connecticut, USA)

Title of Project: Kalasanskriti ra Sampada: An Artistic Approach to Preserving Cultural Heritage and Community Healing

Thirty participants from Nepal and the U.S. will engage in a creative approach to cultural heritage preservation using the power of the arts to better understand their own and others’ cultures. Program participants will explore their cultural heritage by conducting and recording oral histories with family and community members through the exchange of art, videoconferencing, and the creation and sharing of recorded performance pieces. Partners will also explore how inter-generational and societal tensions can be addressed through a better understanding and appreciation of cultural differences and of common values. Participants will utilize a selection of the exchanged art and videotaped theatre-based recordings, combined with live pieces, to put together and facilitate one-day workshop residences at four local schools in both countries, encouraging local students to carry on the work of heritage preservation in their own lives.

Bhasha Research and Publication Center (India) and University of Northern Colorado Anthropology Department (Colorado, USA)

Title of Project: Reclaiming Heritage: The Intercultural Heritage Exchange Project

Up to 30 participants from the historically marginalized Chhara community in India and Karenni refugee community in the U. S. (resettled from Burma to Colorado) will be trained in virtual reality technologies to explore and document their respective cultural heritages. Through synchronous and asynchronous virtual exchanges using the Google+ platform, participants will interact with 360-degree images that include ambient sound and viewed through Google Cardboard Goggles, thereby examining family traditions, festivals, performances, and spiritual traditions, natural heritage, and tangible cultural heritage.

Youth of Osh (Kyrgyzstan) and New York Folklore Society (New York, USA)

Title of Project: Cultural Bridge

Up to 30 youth will discover Kyrgyz and American cultural heritage by learning the principles and techniques of oral history and cultural heritage documentation. They will add their own contribution for its preservation through community service (leading volunteer camps for at least 50 community members in each location), producing media products (video, photo stories, text stories), and installing tangible signage that will contribute to the cultural tourism industry in both locations.

Association MakeDox (Macedonia) and Dallas Black Dance Theater (Texas, USA)

Title of Project: Widening the Lens

Twelve African-American dancers and 12 Macedonian filmmakers will explore and preserve African-American and Romani heritages by producing a creative documentary of dance on film that reveals cultural similarities, highlighting the experience of ethnic minorities. The film will be a creative documentary around 40 to 50 minutes in length, featuring African-American dancers performing to Romani music in site-specific locations around Dallas and Macedonia, with interviews and a verbal storyline. A final synchronous public exhibition will take place in both Dallas and Macedonia that will include a screening of the documentary and a panel discussion.

Centre for Fine Arts/BOZAR (Belgium) and Soul of Nations (District of Columbia, USA and Navajo Nation, Arizona)

Title of Project: Digital Natives

Digital Natives depicts cultural expression inspired by the exploration of cultural heritage through art making and technology. The project helps bridge a digital gap that exists in Native-American and Belgian migrant communities, expanding on notions of cultural identity, roots, community, and multiculturalism. Ten young Native-American women from New Mexico and 10 young Belgian women from migrant families will create group artworks and video installations to be displayed online and in public exhibitions in the U.S. and Belgium. Creative outputs will explore issues relating to equality and women’s empowerment, explored through the lens of personal narratives and cultural backgrounds.

Communities Connecting Heritage is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning.