About the Author: Trent J. Perrotto serves as Division Chief for Democracy and Global Issues in International Information Programs.
Earlier this year, hundreds of people from around the world submitted videos that completed the phrase "Democracy is…" as part of a global conversation created by a unique public-private partnership that includes democracy and youth organizations, the film and entertainment industry, academia, and the U.S. government. It leverages social networks to engage people around the world to share, debate, and learn from diverse perspectives on democracy.
Over the past few months, an independent jury, chaired by renowned Peruvian economist and President of the Institute for Liberty & Democracy Hernando de Soto, narrowed the field to 18 finalists. Now it's up to you to choose the winners. Polls are open for the public voting portion of the "Democracy Video Challenge" until midnight GMT on June 15. You can vote for your favorite on the "Democracy Video Challenge" YouTube page.
Six winners -- one each from the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia, and East Asia and Pacific -- will be announced in mid-June 2010 and will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC in September. Since its launch two years ago, more than 1,600 people from 111 countries have submitted entries and spurred the online engagement of at least 1.5 million people.
I've watched a few of the videos already, and they're impressive. Some use animation, others use live actors, and there is a wide variety in how people chose to complete the phrase, “Democracy is…” I recommend taking a look.