US State Dept Announces Global Online Video Contest Winners

Mar 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Citizen Media, Video

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has announced the four winners of its online video contest, “My Culture + Your Culture =?”.

ECA launched the contest in December 2008, to “encourage cross-cultural community building and mutual understanding” via the Web and social media platforms. The initiative also aims to attract new members to its ExchangesConnect social networking site. Since its launch in October 2008, ExchangesConnect has drawn over 8,400 members from 170 countries.

For the contest, members of the ExchangesConnect community were invited to submit a 3-minute video addressing the “my culture + your culture = ?” theme. More than 170 videos were submitted in all. The community voted on favorite entries, and a panel of judges — all alumni of ECA exchange programs — ranked the “top 40” videos. ECA selected two foreign and two American Grand Prize winners, including one adult and one youth winner in each category.

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”
  • Tim Peters of Wheaton, Illinois, age 22, for “A Friend in Nanjing”

The winning videos can be viewed at or

The international winners will receive a two-week, all-expenses-paid exchange program to the United States and the American winners will receive the same to an overseas destination. In addition, winners will receive multi-media software (provided by the contest co-sponsor Adobe Foundation), and will be honored at an event later this year.

The contest judges were diverse crew, and included musician, performer, and author Toni Blackman; actress and Founder of the Cancer Schmancer Movement Fran Drescher; graphic artist Milton Glaser; President of the Egyptian Cultural Civic Education Organization Raafat Khalid; and Founder and former Co-Chairman of New Line Cinema and Principal Unique Features Bob Shaye.

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