The Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads Photo Contest is organized as part of the UNESCO Silk Roads Programme, this photo contest aims to raise awareness among youth about the relevance of the shared heritage of the Silk Roads in modern times.
The first edition took place from 11 April to 22 July 2018. In total 6,625 photos were submitted by young girls and boys from 100 countries along the Silk Roads. The young photographers were invited to take photos that represent the Silk Roads heritage within the four major themes of Culture, Monuments, Landscape and People. The first edition benefited from the kind support and valuable advice of the renown photographer and humanitarian Reza.
The award ceremony took place on 21 September 2018 in Beijing, China on International Day of Peace, in close collaboration with the contest partner, the China World Peace Foundation. From this contest, the "Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads" travelling photo exhibition presenting the 57 best photos was established. It was exhibited for the first time as a side event during the award ceremony in Beijing. These photos were also presented during various travelling exhibitions around the world (Oman, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Russian Federation, UNESCO HQ in Paris and Turkey). This exhibition was also organised at the venues of international conferences such as the "World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue" in Baku, Azerbaijan on 2-3 May 2019, and the "Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations" in Beijing on 15 May 2019.
In addition, a professionally printed photo album displaying the best submitted photos from the first edition was published in February 2019. The photo album of the 1st Edition “Youth Lens on the Silk Roads” aims to reflect the diversity of youth’s perspectives and impressions on the shared heritage of the Silk Roads.
For the second edition of the contest which launched in 2019 and ended in 2020, 3,500 photos were submitted from 85 different countries. For this edition participants were invited to submit photographs which represented the shared heritage of the Silk Roads through the three themes of Gastronomy and Food Production, Music and Dance, and Traditional Sports and Games.
Again, the award ceremony took place in Beijing, China, on the occasion of the Peace Garden Peace Festival, as part of International Day of Peace on the 21st of September 2020. The event (on-site and online), which took place in collaboration with the photo contest’s partner the China World Peace Foundation, included a presentation of the winning photographs in the presence of the Selection Committee and featured video presentations from some of the winning young photographers. A travelling photo exhibition presenting a collection of the best photos from the 2nd edition of the contest is scheduled to take place depending on sanitary restrictions. Moreover, the photo album “Youth Lens on the Silk Roads” - 2nd Edition will be released soon.