Global Youth Contest « If I were… » - and the winners are ...


25 April 2017

“What would your life be like if you were somebody else?
Have you ever imagined stepping into someone else’s shoes?
How would you react to a given situation?”

UNESCO is pleased to announce the 10 winners of the 2017 Global Youth Contest « If I were… ». This is a photo and video contest for young people between 21 and 30 years old, inviting them to experiment with somebody else’s life through a video film (1 minute maximum) or a powerful photo made by him/herself.

The contest was launched on social media in Arabic, English, French and Spanish and was open from 24 February to 12 March 2017. Over this period, UNESCO received 837 submissions, from 117 countries around the world.

Participants had the opportunity to imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes: they could choose to be anyone with a simple camera. The idea was to illustrate their feelings if they were this other person, change their perspective and express themselves differently while developing their empathy and leaving their prejudices behind!

Below is the list of the contest winners (in alphabetical order):

  • Asher Harani Breech, Philippines
    Title of the video : “If I were … an Indigenous Filipino”


  • Coulibaly Bah Fatoumata, Côte d'Ivoire
    Title of the photo : “La petite chasseuse d’eau”

© UNESCO / Coulibaly Bah Fatoumata


  • Folaranmi Odetola Ismail, Nigeria
    Title of the photo : “Pattern of life”

© UNESCO / Folaranmi Odetola Ismail


  • Hatem Jean, Lebanon
    Title of the video : “A handful of soil”


  • Kathri Achchige Sandunika Hasangani, Sri Lanka
    Title of the Photo  : “Survivor” (Japan)

© UNESCO / Kathri Achchige Sandunika Hasangani


  • Nunez Melina, Uruguay
    Title of the photo : “Same place different realities”

© UNESCO / Nunez Melina


  • Perez Fernandez Gisela, Mexico
    Title of the video : “If I were… a Changemaker”


  • Raihan Ahmmed, Bangladesh
    Title of the video : “If I were… a helper”


  • Sothy  Suntharak, Cambodia
    Title of the photo : “Smiles through Education and Religion” (China)

© UNESCO / Sothy Suntharak


  • Vesal Sulaiman, Germany/Afghanistan
    Title of the photo : “Graves make for us money” (Afghanistan)

© UNESCO / Vesal Sulaiman

The 10 finalists will:

In addition to the 10 winners, UNESCO will exhibit an extended photo selection received through the contest in various formats (online, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and in a publication), if resolution allows. The authors of the photos will be duly informed.

Why did UNESCO launch this contest?

UNESCO aspires to equip young people with abilities that are indispensable in today’s diverse and dynamic world. These “intercultural competencies” are fundamental acquisitions for living together regardless of our social, economic or cultural differences. The “If I were…” contest encourages young people to imagine new realities and new perspectives, and to leave behind stereotypes and prejudices.

The contest was organized in cooperation with the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue through the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue. This Programme is being implemented in the context of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), adopted by the UN General Assembly, and led by UNESCO across the world through development projects, training, partnerships and events. Through this International Decade, UNESCO promotes the wealth of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue and related competencies.