About the Author: Michele Peters serves as Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today launched the Department of State’s second annual ExchangesConnect Video Contest, “Change Your Climate, Change Our World,” with a video message on the ExchangesConnect social network.
The ExchangesConnect Video Contest is a call to action for global citizens around the world to engage in cross-cultural community building and mutual understanding. ExchangesConnect invites people all over the world, ages 14 and older, to enter their 2-minute videos for a chance to win an all-expense-paid two-week international exchange program. The contest runs from November 17, 2009 through January 12, 2010.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State launched the ExchangesConnect social network in October 2008 to promote mutual international understanding by highlighting cultures, commonalities, and exchange program experiences through user-generated content like forums, blogs, photos, and videos. Over 14,200 members are currently part of this thriving global community.
The ExchangesConnect community and an expert panel of judges will select the top 40 videos based on originality, creativity, effectiveness, and production quality. The expert panel of contest judges, all alumni of ECA exchange programs, includes:
• Jay Craven, United States, Independent Filmmaker, U.S. Cultural Envoy, and AFI 20/20 Global Cultural Exchange Program alumnus
• Vassilios Karamitsanis, Greece, President of Platforma International Film Festival and Urban Cultural Company, and International Visitor Leadership Program alumnus
• Josef Frank Madisia, Namibia, Director of the National Art Gallery of Namibia, and International Visitor Leadership Program alumnus
• Rodolfo Molina, El Savador, Coordinator of El Salvador’s Biennials of Visual Arts events and Fulbright Student Program alumnus
• Hind Shoufani, Lebanon, Writer, Filmmaker, and Fulbright alumna.
Winners from last year’s ExchangesConnect Video Contest, "My Culture + Your Culture = ?", are serving as mentors to help educate new contestants about techniques and to give advice. Last year’s winners were:
• Jose Vincius Reis Gouveia of Recife, Brazil
• Bijoy Thangaraj of Bangalore, India
• Grant Jirka of Nebraska, United States
• Tim Peters of Illinois, United States
The winning videos speak to the power of community members to share their exchange experiences, wisdom and tips with other members, and spark meaningful and interesting conversations.
Visit ECA’s official website for more information about this year's contest. We look forward to watching your videos!