What do a 14-year-old freshman in Columbus, Nebraska; a 23-year-old software engineer in Bangalore, India; a 16-year-old senior in Recife, Brazil; and a 22-year-old Fulbright scholarship recipient from Wheaton, Illinois have in common? They share a strong desire to create bridges across cultures and their unique action and vision has earned each a video contest Grand Prize: -a two-week international exchange program and a featured role as a citizen diplomat.
On March 16, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced the four winners of its online video contest, “My Culture + Your Culture=?” ECA launched the initiative on December 1, 2008, to encourage cross-cultural community building and mutual understanding, which is our core mission, via the Web and to attract new members to our social networking site, ExchangesConnect, launched in October 2008. ExchangesConnect has drawn more than 8,600 members from 170 countries and the community continues to grow.
The 8-week contest invited members of the general public worldwide to join the ExchangesConnect online community and to submit a 3-minute video addressing the contest theme. We received more than 170 video entries. The community’s top 40-rated videos, representing 15 countries, proceeded to a panel of expert judges — all distinguished alumni of ECA exchange programs — who ranked the videos. Based on the judges’ ratings, ECA selected two foreign and two American Grand Prize winners in two age categories: (1) 14-17 years, and (2) 18 years and over.
The contest winners are: Jose Vinícius Reis Gouveia of Recife, Brazil, age 16, for “Human Colours”; Bijoy Thangaraj of Bangalore, India, age 23, for “My Culture + Your Culture = World of Wonder”; Grant Jirka of Columbus, Nebraska, age 14, for “Winning Team”; and Tim Peters of Wheaton, Illinois, age 22, for “A Friend in Nanjing”. The winners reflect the diversity and talent of those who participated, representing three continents and very different backgrounds. Their personal stories and motivations for submitting their videos are inspiring.
Read more at DipNote: http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/video_contest_winners/