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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 10, 2008


Democracy Video Challenge Welcomes Renowned Economist Hernando de Soto As Jury Co-Chair

The Department of State is pleased to announce that acclaimed economist Hernando de Soto has joined the Democracy Video Challenge as co-chair of its independent jury.

Mr. de Soto (http://www.ild.org.pe/en/organization/desoto) is a prominent voice on democratization and property rights worldwide. He is President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy and currently is active in the United Nations Commission on Legal Empowerment for the Poor.

As jury co-chair of the Democracy Video Challenge, an online contest that promotes global dialogue on democracy, Mr. de Soto will oversee selection of the 21 video finalists representing all regions of the world. The online public will then choose a winner from each region in the spring of 2009. The six Challenge winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC, New York City, and Hollywood, California; participate in gala screenings of their videos; and meet leaders in the U.S. entertainment industry, film schools, government and non-governmental organizations.

The Challenge is supported by a unique partnership that includes the State Department as well as pro-democracy organizations (Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute), youth NGOs (International Youth Foundation, TakingITGlobal), the film/entertainment industry (Directors Guild of America, Motion Picture Association of America, NBC Universal), and academia (NYU Tisch School of the Arts, USC's School of Cinematic Arts). YouTube is providing the video platform, and the William Morris Agency is contributing part of the prize package.

More information about the Democracy Video Challenge is available at http://mmsweb.a.state.gov/asp/notices/dn_temp.asp?Notice_Id=10138, from Laura Hesselton at 202/453- 8363 or via email at hesseltonle@state.gov or www.youtube.com/democracychallenge.

2008/1030


Released on December 10, 2008

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