UNDER SECRETARY MCHALE: Come on in. These are the stars of the show, the real stars of the show. They probably feel a little uncomfortable because they’re normally on the other side of the camera. (Laughter.)
Good afternoon. I’m delighted to be here with all of you today. I’m Judith McHale and I have the great privilege of introducing you to some great filmmakers. These are the winners of our Democracy Video Challenge, which is in its second or third year that we have done this, where we reach out to young filmmakers around the world and ask them to submit videos which illustrate how they think about – the contest is called Democracy Is… and so they interpret in film, in a two-minute film, what democracy means. And it’s absolutely extraordinary. The sort of versions and interpretations of this are really incredibly well done, but also very moving. We have – obviously, all of us have an enormous commitment to democracy and to see how these young filmmakers interpret that world, I invite you all to see it.
We’re also delighted to have some of our partners here with us today, without whom we could not have done it. And I’d also especially like to thank Lori Brutten from IIP, who has organized this, the sort of State Department genius behind this, and Dawn McCall, our new head of IIP, who have joined me here today.
But most importantly, I’m delighted to have our Secretary of State, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with us today to say a few words about these great filmmakers. Secretary Clinton.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Judith. And this is an especially exciting day for us here to celebrate these young activist filmmakers who are using technology to make their voices heard and, by doing so, giving voice to so many millions of others, and the State Department’s partners who have made the Democracy Video Challenge not only possible, but amazingly successful.
So far, over 3.5 million people around the world have been reached by our growing Democracy is… campaign. This is an effort led by Judith and her entire team to engage youth in a global dialogue on democracy. And we are about to kick off the 3rd annual Democracy Video Challenge at the United Nations next week. So I am very eager to see what ideas this continues to generate.
The prompt for this challenge, as you know, is “Democracy is…” It’s open ended. It is meant to provoke thought and to spur ideas. It truly is a challenge that builds on the freedom that democracy provides for individuals to pursue their own dreams. Each of these young winners has captured six different visions of democracy – some satirical and lighthearted, some poignant and haunting – but each shaped by their own experiences and expressed through their own unique artistic lens.
Now, not all democracies look or behave exactly the same way. As our winner from Nepal said about his video – I hope you don’t mind me quoting you – (laughter) – “Democracy can exist in all countries and it doesn’t have a fixed shape or size.” But the fundamental tenets are non-negotiable. The videos we are honoring today capture essential truths about democracy across the world and respond to the deepest yearning of human beings to have a right to their own lives and their own dreams. Democracy is about fair play. Democracy equalizes the voices of people. And democracy is a learning process.
And so I said earlier this week at a speech I gave that democracy needs defending. And I think we have a very good cross-section of defenders standing here. Another one of our winners, whose beautiful video was inspired by the Green Movement in Iran, said, “I believe if I want democracy, I should fight for it! And this is my way of fighting.” And it gives me great hope to see what these young people are saying.
Now, here at the State Department, we talk a lot about the need to use 21st century diplomacy to solve 21st century problems. Well, this is the heart of that 21st century diplomacy – connecting directly to people, particularly young people, who Judith constantly reminds me – (laughter) – represents what percentage of the world’s population? (Laughter.)
UNDER SECRETARY MCHALE: Sixty-five percent are under the age of 30.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. Boy, does that make me feel old, I gotta tell you. (Laughter.)
So this is about not only the next generation, it’s about this generation. I particularly want to welcome representatives of the countries of the winners who are here today, and thank you all for coming.
Now, Under Secretary McHale will come back to officially present the awards, which I think you will call the name and I will hand the award. Is that the way we will do it? So I will maybe come out around here, and as you call the name, if the winner will come up here, and then we can give the award. And I hope you all get pictures – that way? Is that okay? All right.
UNDER SECRETARY MCHALE: As Secretary Clinton has mentioned, these winners come from around the world, from each of the six different regions of the world, and they were voted on by people who were tuned into and watching constantly YouTube. So we also especially want to thank YouTube for helping us with this.
From Colombia, Juan Pablo Patiño. (Applause.)
From Ethiopia, Yared Shumete. (Applause.)
From Indonesia, Adhyatmika. (Applause.)
From Iran, Farbod Khoshtinat. (Applause.)
From Nepal, Anup Poudel. (Applause.)
And from Spain, Jual – I’m sorry, Joel Mardsen. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re very proud of these winners and we are looking to follow them with great interest. We hope that this not only confirms their own ideas, but actually serves to generate more from them and encourage others to join their ranks. So let’s give our award winners another round of applause. (Applause.)
And Judith, why don’t we invite some of our partners and perhaps you could introduce them as well.
LORI BRUTTEN: Greg Lebedev, Chairman of the Center for Private Enterprise, Steve Grove, the director of YouTube Student Politics; Rick Cotton, Chief Counsel of NBC Universal; Kate Raftery from the – Vice President for Learning and Citizenship at the International Youth Foundation; Patti Pearson, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Director of Special Projects.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Great. (Applause.) Great. Thank you all very much.
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