NOTICE TO THE PRESS
2nd Democracy Video Challenge Launched at United Nations
to Promote Dialogue on Democracy
NEW YORK - September 15, 2009 – The Democracy Video Challenge, a global call to action celebrating democracy, launched its second annual competition today at the United Nations on International Democracy Day. Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, served as Master of Ceremonies for the contest’s global launch. The Challenge again invites citizens from around the world to create video shorts (3minutes or less) that complete the phrase: "Democracy is..." in an effort to enhance the global dialogue on democracy.
"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," said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, a partner in the Democracy Video Challenge.
The Democracy Video Challenge is a unique partnership comprising democracy, and youth organizations, the film and entertainment industry, academia, and the U.S. government. In its inaugural year, the Challenge attracted more than 900 videos from 95 countries around the world. (Partners represented at the launch are listed below.)
“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. 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. The State Department is excited to be part of a partnership that uses these tools to promote a discussion about the meaning democracy for people around the world,” Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale said. Each year, the Challenge honors winners from every region of the world: Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Near East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Contestants may also submit videos anonymously for special recognition. The winning videos are selected by global online voting. The video platform is provided by YouTube (www.youtube.com/democracychallenge).
The winners will participate in screenings of their videos in Hollywood, New York, and Washington, D.C., hosted by partners, including the Motion Picture Association of America. In New York and Hollywood, the winners will spend time on TV/film sets, and will meet with directors, film technicians, professional talent agents, and new media experts. They will also receive tickets to the Universal Studios theme park in Los Angeles. In Washington, D.C., the winners will meet with democracy advocates, the media, and U.S. government officials.
Democracy Video Challenge Partners include: the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the International Youth Foundation (IYF), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), NBC Universal, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the Recording Industry Association of America, TakingITGlobal, USC’s Annenberg School for Communication, the U.S. Department of State, and YouTube.
For more information about the Democracy Video Challenge, contact:
Laura Hesselton at 202/632-9936 or via email at Hesseltonle@state.gov
For additional details, visit "www.youtube.com/democracychallenge".