Communities Connecting Heritage

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Communities Connecting Heritage (CCH) brings U.S. and international participants together to explore cultural heritage preservation through virtual and in-person exchanges.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by World Learning.

CCH matched U.S. organizations with partners in Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, India, and Serbia to collaborate on unique cultural heritage preservation projects.

After receiving exchange program training from World Learning, the partners carried out their own virtual and in-person exchanges over six months.

All 117 participants took part in the six-month virtual exchanges. Each partner also chose five participants for two-week, reciprocal exchanges with their international counterparts.

Each project culminated in a public exhibition to engage the wider community in cultural exchange through performances, presentations, art shows, and other activities.

Continue exploring cultural heritage with us across social media with #communitiesconnectingheritage


The 2018 Communities Connecting Heritage program encompassed six projects: Learning Together for a Brighter Future, Connecting Capitals, Global Threads, Through Walls, Saving What Matters, and Voices from the Margins.

Discover the breadth and depth of participants’ work, including recipes, journal articles, blogs, videos, sign language lessons, digital stories, and so much more.

Connecting Capitals: These Young Deaf Artists Have a Message for the Hearing World View More
Culture is More Important than Ever in a Shrinking World View More
Global Threads Online Magazine View More
Learning Together Blog View More
Saving What Matters: Digital Stories View More
Connecting Capitals: My Culture My Story App View More


  • [Due to] the valuable connections we made online and the strong sense of unity and belonging that we created as a team, I know now that understanding people and cultures is anything but an independent pursuit; it is an open-ended and open-invite journey that is rewarding and meaningful to me and to the world.

    Learning Together for a Brighter Future Participant, CCH 2018
  • [We] were touched by the stories of the women artisans [in Serbia] who had gone through so much to pursue and be successful at their trade, many of them supporting their family on their single income.

    Global Threads Participant, CCH 2018
  • The most surprising part to me was witnessing the strong and independent spirit of the Egyptian women. In America there are so many stereotypes about Muslim countries and their politics towards women. Meeting Egyptian women who call themselves feminists and choose not to wear the hijab despite mainstream influences. I found this intriguing and captivating, knowing that the women there have such diverse mindsets and choose what works for them.

    Through Walls Participant, CCH 2018
  • Cultural heritage preservation…gives us the sense of where we were, and gives the sense of belonging and identity…This exchange program helped me to professionally see the practical approach on how different NGOs tackle the issues both of tangible and intangible heritage and I got really good ideas what we could do in Serbia based on the American model.

    Global Threads Partner Organization, CCH 2018
  • We can learn from the past in order to enrich our present and future lives. In particular, cultural heritage preservation can help keep traditions, skills, and creative knowledge alive. The exchange program left me more committed to trying to get others to see the importance of learning about their own culture and those of others.

    Saving What Matters Participant, CCH 2018
  • With this exchange I understood my deaf identity a lot more and how I want to change the world for deaf people. Before this exchange I was kind of indifferent to my deaf identity in the sense where it felt normal, since I’ve been around deaf people my whole life coming from a seven-generation deaf family, deaf schools, etc. I did not really understand the impacts of deaf clubs, Gallaudet University, and accessibility. But the Belgian participants made me really see what being deaf in a majority hearing world is like.

    Connecting Capitals Participant, CCH 2018
  • [T]he experience really put an exclamation point on the necessity of finding ways for cultural heritage experiences to become much more widely available and inclusive, in ways that are meaningful in people’s contemporary lives, rather than as an experience of a heritage frozen in time.

    Saving What Matters Participant, CCH 2018
  • It is important because a lot of times that is how people completely disconnect from their culture and origins. In the program it was amazing for me to see how many languages the India group knew, including their villages’ languages. They’ve kept their culture alive through language for hundreds of years while so many native languages here in New Mexico are rarely ever known.

    Voices from the Margins Participant, CCH 2018

By the Numbers

Male/Female Ratio





Traveling & Virtual Participants

Traveling & Virtual Participants


Virtual Only Participants


Number of Participants by Country
















Connecting Capitals

Global Threads

Learning Together