Washington, DC – IRI, along with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) hosted a lunch for the winners of the 2009 Democracy Video Challenge.  The lunch and other events in Washington, DC were a part of the prize awarded to the winners.

During the event the winners discussed what inspired them to make the videos, where they received their inspiration and why they made specific choices to finish the sentence “Democracy is…”

The winners, Chansa Tembo from Zambia, Aissa Peñafiel from the Philippines, Lukasz Szozda from Poland, Tsering Choden from Nepal, Rodin Hamidi from the United Arab Emirates and Anna Israel from Brazil all have an interest in making films and all expressed how the contest caused them to reflect in how democracy is working in their countries and what responsibilities they have as film makers to speak out.  Tsering Choden from Nepal commented that in making her film she came to realize that individuals can do things to improve Nepal.

The contest has led to an online discussion on FacebookTwitter and YouTube, which has really excited the winners and led some of them to do further work in this subject area.  The winners also discussed what winning has meant to them and their families.  Chansa Tembo recalled how his aunt said at his winning that she used to be scared for the future of Zambia, but seeing how he responded to the contest showed her that the younger generation cared about the country and that has given her hope.

Online voters selected a winner from each region of the world (the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Middle East/North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia and East Asia Pacific) from more than 900 submissions representing 95 countries.  Challenge partners included CIPE, IRI, NDI, the International Youth Foundation, the Directors Guild of America, The Motion Picture Association of America, NBC Universal, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, TakingITGlobal, University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, the U.S. Department of State, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, and YouTube.

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