A 23-year-old Indian youth, Bijoy Thangaraj of Bangalore, is among the four winners of a US State Department global online video contest to encourage cross-cultural understanding and community building.
Thangaraj was picked up for his video titled "My Culture + Your Culture = World of Wonder" in the contest co-sponsored by the Adobe Youth Voices initiative of the Adobe Foundation.
The contestants were invited by the department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to submit a 3-minute video on the theme of "My Culture + Your Culture =?" and they submitted more than 170 videos.
The aim of the contest, ECA said, was 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 voted on the video entries and an expert panel of judges - all alumni of ECA exchange programmes -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 programme 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 other three winners were: Jose Vinicius Reis Gouveia, 16, of Recife, Brazil for "Human Colours"; Grant Jirka, 14, of Columbus, Nebraska, US for "Winning Team"; and Tim Peters,22, of Wheaton, Illinois, US 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.