USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education Announce Powerful Opportunity for Students and Educators to Inspire Communities Nationwide

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– Fifth Annual IWitness Video Challenge Encourages Students to Create Community Action Video Projects to Combat Hate, Bias and Intolerance –

Silver Spring, Maryland (January 26, 2018) – In an effort to spark a social movement against hatred in all forms, USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, today launched the fifth annual IWitness Video Challenge

Designed to provide actionable ways to promote equality, while also challenging bias and intolerance, the 2018 IWitness Video Challenge encourages students to make a change in communities nationwide. First, students will hear testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide. They will then complete a research-based and standards-aligned activity. After being inspired to counter hate, participants will develop a community action project. To be considered for the IWitness Video Challenge, students must document their experience in a video essay for submission.

“USC Shoah Foundation is proud to continue advancing the mission of the IWitness Video Challenge,” said USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education Claudia Wiedeman. “By connecting students to the voices in the Visual History Archive, the IWitness Video Challenge inspires them to act in positive and meaningful ways, and teaches them digital skills that are important for students today.”

Last year’s winners inspired their fellow classmates to celebrate their diverse identities with a project called, “Who Are You? Embracing Identity in Our Community.”

"We want the audience to learn more about themselves, to reflect on who they are and their identities, after watching our video,” said student Yu Jing Chen, one of three students who worked together on the project. “We want them to realize that they are not alone and that they should always fight for an accepting environment.”

Previous winners wrote kind notes to every student in their school, while the first winner documented her determination to stand up for undocumented workers after being moved by testimonies of Holocaust survivors who described their struggles being undocumented immigrants themselves.

Thanks to the continued support from Ford Motor Co., which is sponsoring the event as part of its commitment to innovative educational outreach, the IWitness Video Challenge will award top entries from students, teachers, and schools with scholarships and grants.

· The student who creates the national winning entry will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Second place will receive a $1,000 scholarship; third place, a $500 scholarship.

· The educator associated with the national winning entry will receive a $1,000 grant to inspire, impact and implement change in their local school.

· The school or organization associated with the national winning entry will receive a $2,500 grant to implement change in their community.

Launched in 2013, the IWitness Video Challenge was designed around the premise that one person can make a difference. As USC Shoah Foundation founder Steven Spielberg said at the time of the inaugural launch, “we can use IWitness to show the power of random acts of kindness – the best way to teach empathy is by using the power of example.”

“As an educator, I have observed the positive differences in students’ behavior after partaking in the IWitness Video Challenge,” said Karen Wells from Midland High School in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas. “The contest has been a proven catalyst for change in our community and I plan on encouraging all of my students to submit entries this year.”

“The IWitness Video Challenge empowers youth nationwide to take a stand against hatred in all forms,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Discovery Education. “Peer-to-peer influence is powerful and we are invested in providing actionable ways for students to promote equality, challenge bias and discuss tolerance. We hope that by participating in the contest, students will be able to view the world through a different lens and recognize the importance of stopping oppression everywhere.”

Submissions for the 2018 IWitness Video Challenge are being accepted now until April 13, 2018. For more information and complete rules, visit IWitness.usc.edu.

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About USC Shoah Foundation
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute’s current collection of more than 55,000 eyewitness testimonies contained within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes. Visual History Archive® is a registered trademark of USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education Reg. U.S. Pat & Tm. Off.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 197,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at discoveryeducation.com.  

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