Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 16, 2009


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is pleased to announce the four winners of its online video contest, “My Culture + Your Culture =?”. The contest was co-sponsored by the Adobe Youth Voices initiative of the Adobe Foundation. ECA launched the initiative at the National Press Club on December 1, 2008, to encourage cross-cultural community building and mutual understanding via the Web and social media platforms and to attract new members to the groundbreaking ExchangesConnect social networking site, at connect.state.gov. Since its launch in October 2008, ExchangesConnect has drawn over 8,400 members from 170 countries.

Members of the ExchangesConnect online community were invited to submit a 3-minute video addressing the contest theme, and they submitted more than 170 videos. The community voted on the video entries and an expert 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 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 Adobe Foundation.

The contest winners, who will be honored at an event later this year, are:

1. Jose Vinícius Reis Gouveia of Recife, Brazil, age 16, for “Human Colours”;

2. Bijoy Thangaraj of Bangalore, India, age 23, for “My Culture + Your Culture = World
of Wonder”;

3. Grant Jirka of Columbus, Nebraska, age 14, for “Winning Team”; and

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

The videos can be viewed at exchanges.state.gov or connect.state.gov.

The contest judges were 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.

Media Contact: Catherine Stearns, 202-203-5107 or StearnsCL@state.gov



PRN: 221