UNESCO Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads Photo Contest 2019
  • Fully Funded

The visual arts, and in particular photography, are increasingly being used by today’s youth as a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As such, they have the potential to play a significant role in raising awareness of the key issues facing our contemporary globalizing world. The annual Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads International Photo Contest offers an exciting opportunity for young people from all over the world to capture their understanding of the common heritage of the Silk Roads through the lens of their camera.

Organized within the framework of the UNESCO Silk Roads Programme, UNESCO Youth Programme and the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), the 2019 edition of the contest is open for entries from 19 September 2019 to 6 January 2020.

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The Silk Roads are an expansive region composed of a network of maritime and land routes. Originating in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia the Silk Roads cross the Central Asian sub-continent, the Russian steppe, the Iranian and Anatolian plateaus, and the Arabian Peninsula. They also stretch through North Africa and Northeast Africa, from Tanzania to Morocco. Additionally, they pass through Eastern and Southern Europe, before reaching France and Spain. Please see the map here

The Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads Photo Contest is an opportunity for young people living or travelling within these regions to share their perceptions and further their understanding of the common cultural heritage and pluralistic identities emerging from the interactions and exchanges taking place along the Silk Roads. The contest encourages the use of photography to extend these cultural interactions and encounters in the contemporary world, to foster mutual understanding and promote peace amongst the diverse populations encompassed by the Silk Roads.

The contest is divided into two age categories: 14-17 year olds, and 18-25 year olds. Participants are invited to submit photographs that best encapsulate the shared heritage of the Silk Roads through one or more of the three themes of Gastronomy and Food Production, Traditional Sports and Games, and Music and Dance. The Selection Committee members will then examine these submissions and select the winners from each of the age categories. Examples of some of the very best photographs from the 2018 contest can be found here.





  • 1st Award: A professional digital single-lens reflex camera equipped with 18-55mm lens
  • 2nd Award: Semi-professional digital camera
  • 3rd Award: Digital camera
  • In addition, winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the award ceremony. Those under 17 years of age may be accompanied by one family member, courtesy of UNESCO.
  • A travelling exhibition of around fifty photos that best represent the spirit of the contest will be exhibited in various places around the world.
  • To commemorate the occasion, these exceptional photographs will ultimately appear in a professionally bound photo album.
  • Participation in the photography contest is free of charge. The organizer is not responsible for any expenses that the participants may be incurred in the creation and submission of the photograph.


  • The photography contest is open to everyone between 14 and 25 years old, regardless of his or her country of residence, except employees of UNESCO and the donor, China World Peace Foundation, and their family members (parents, children, siblings and spouses).
  • There will be two categories:
    • 14 to 17 years old
    • 18 to 25 years old
  • To participate, minors must provide written permission from their legal guardian(s):
    • “I, the undersigned Mr/Ms “full name” legal representative of “full name”, authorize him/her to participate in the photography contest “Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads” which runs from 19 September 2019 to 6 January 2020. I read and agreed with the terms of rules 

      Signed “City”, the “Date” Signature

  • No minors’ participation will be accepted by the Organization without their written permission.
  • To participate, entrants must have access to the Internet.
  • Participation is strictly personal and the entrant cannot enter the contest on behalf of another person.
  • Participation in the photography contest implies full acceptance of these rules and all of their provisions. Non-compliance with the rules will result in disqualification of the entrant.
Eligible Regions: Open for All

Application Process

  1. Participate online through the Apply Now link.
  2. Upload a maximum of 20 photographs:
    1. Include a caption for each photograph or series of photographs, in digital format (JPEG or JPG)
    2. The quality of the photographs must be at least 1,500 pixels wide for horizontal images and 1,500 pixels tall for vertical images. (See Article 3).
  3. Before officially entering the Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads Photo Contest, UNSECO encourages you to read our Rules and Themes sections to give you a clear idea of the desired visual elements to be included in your submissions.
  4. In order to participate, you should first create an account by completing the mandatory fields with the requested information.
  5. You will then be able to upload your photos to the contest’s website via your account. All participants will subsequently be divided into two age groups: 14-17 years old, and 18-25 years old.
  6. All submitted information should be in English.

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Application Deadline: January 6, 2020

Application ClosedOfficial link
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