About Bridging Backgrounds


The Bridging Backgrounds program empowers high school students in the Balkans to foster tolerance, expand inter-ethnic understanding, and promote human rights in their communities. The program consists of two phases: learning and activism. During the learning phase, program participants attend a ten-day residential training where they participate in human rights education activities, restorative practice workshops, community activism trainings, digital field trips, and discussions with distinguished activists, politicians, and academics. During the activism phase, each participant designs and implements their own community-based projects with a micro-grant and sustained mentorship from the organizing team.

Dates and Location

The Bridging Backgrounds program has two phases. The first phase of the 2021 program will take place in Skopje, Macedonia in July. The second phase takes place in participants’ home communities between August and December.


To be eligible for the conference, students must meet the following criteria:
– Must be a citizen of Macedonia or a permanent resident who has resided in the country for the past two years and will continue to reside in the country for one more year.
– Must be enrolled in a high school in Macedonia and be entering the twelfth, eleventh, or tenth grade for the 2017-2018 academic year.
– Minimum English language proficiency level of B2 according to the CEFR scale.


All students accepted to attend Bridging Backgrounds will receive a full scholarship to
the program that covers all necessary costs, aside from personal costs and incidental
expenses. The scholarship covers the following costs:
– Program tuition and supplies.
– Accommodation and meals during the phase one training.
– Transportation costs to and from the participant’s hometown.
– A micro-grant in for the phase two project.


To participate in the programs, students are required to do the following:
– Participate fully in the Bridging Backgrounds residential training in July.
– Complete pre-program and post-program readings, homework, and surveys.
– Organize a post-conference community-based project that focuses on one of the
themes of Bridging Backgrounds and expanding inter-ethnic understanding in
their own communities. Students are eligible to receive up to $200 in grant
funding to complete this project.


Students wanting to apply for the program must apply online here. The deadline to apply
is May 31, 2021. Students who apply through the early application cycle will be notified
of their application status as accepted, wait-listed, or not accepted by June 7, 2021.