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Winners of Second Democracy Video Challenge

Online Voters Select Winners of Second Democracy Video Challenge

By Stephen Kaufman Staff Writer

Washington - The six winners of the second Democracy Video Challenge were announced June 21, capping a nine-month contest that has drawn enthusiastic participation from around the world. For the prize of an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles, New York and Washington, more than 700 competitors submitted short online videos to complete the phrase "Democracy is ...."

Eighteen finalists were selected May 17 by an independent jury chaired by renowned Peruvian economist and President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy Hernando de Soto. But the six winners, each representing their geographic region, were determined by an online public vote that closed on June 15.

These are the winners announced in Washington:

Adhyatmika ( ) from Indonesia (East Asia) for Democracy is yet to learn ( ) Anup Poudel ( ) from Nepal (South and Central Asia) for Democracy is black ( ) Farbod Khoshtinat ( ) from Iran (Near East and North Africa) for ATTN: Mr. Democrat ( ) Joel Marsden ( ) from Spain (Europe) for World Vote Now ( ) Juan Pablo Patiño Arévalo ( ) from Colombia (Western Hemisphere) for Democracy is ... the right of life (War Child) ( ) Yared Shumete ( ) from Ethiopia (sub-Saharan Africa) for Democracy is fair play ( )

First launched in September 2008, the Democracy Video Challenge has encouraged more than 1,600 people from 111 countries to submit video entries, and the process has spurred the online engagement of at least 2.5 million people.

The contest is made possible through a unique public-private partnership among democracy and youth organizations, the film and entertainment industry, academia and the U.S. government. The goal is to spark global conversations about democracy, using social networks such as YouTube and Facebook to showcase the diverse video submissions and to encourage debate.

In September, the six winners will travel to the United States to have their videos screened in Hollywood, New York and Washington by the Motion Picture Association of America and other challenge partners. They will also spend time on television and film sets and meet with directors, film technicians, professional talent agents and new media experts. While in Washington, the winners will also meet with democracy advocates, the media and U.S. government officials.

When she met with the winners of the first challenge in September 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised the young filmmakers for their creativity and the insight they displayed in their video submissions.

"Democracy is one of the most difficult terms to explain, but the easiest to expound," Clinton said ( ). "It is fueled by the voice of the masses. It empowers the individual to make the individual powerful," while blending "philosophical ideas, cultural norms and aesthetic values."

Although the 2009 winners offered different perspectives of democracy, the secretary also said that their films "have the same meaning."

The second year of the challenge, which was launched at the United Nations in September 2009, drew more than 700 entries from 83 countries. But along with the efforts of the filmmakers, the challenge also generated nearly 550,000 YouTube views, and the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs tallied more than 200,000 votes to select the winners.

"President Obama and Secretary Clinton have both underscored the importance of listening to what others think, and the Democracy Video Challenge provides us a platform to do just that," Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale said ( ) in a September 2009 State Department press notice.

"Using the Internet and new media technologies, we have an unprecedented opportunity to convene a global dialogue about the important issues that shape our world," she said.

Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, which is one of the contest's 12 partners, said the Democracy Video Challenge offers an outlet for artists to courageously reflect their political will.

"Art is meant to engage us, not merely distract us, and needs a robust democracy for it to thrive. Artists everywhere have a civic obligation to speak up fearlessly and courageously on issues, regardless of how difficult they might be," Tisch said in the September 2009 press notice.

Partners in the Democracy Video Challenge include the State Department, the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the International Youth Foundation, the Motion Picture Association of America, NBC Universal, the Recording Industry Association of America, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, TakingITGlobal, the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, and YouTube.


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