A reflecting lake in the middle of the Andes mountains

Global Studies 2022 Photo Contest

For the 2022 Global Studies Photo Contest, we asked students to share a picture of a place that inspired, changed, transformed, or moved them. They submitted their pictures along with a short artist statement.

All submissions were powerful, and choosing the winners was challenging. Here are the top three submissions:


1. El Valle Sagrado by Jade Pita

"This photo was taken in my ancestral home, el Valle Sagrado, Peru. My dad and I were hiking along local Incan ruins near my grandparent's home. It took us around 4 hours with the intense altitude. Used to living at sea level, the hike really pushed us. It was a bonding moment to challenge ourselves and take in the incredible ruins. Every advance we made was rewarding as the view got more and more breathtaking up the mountain. At the moment of this photo, we had stopped in a residential area of the city that once existed in these ruins. It was so breathtaking to be within the site, to think of the flourishing life that used to take place within the walls. While I was exploring a bit, my father stopped and chatted with a local woman taking her usual route across the mountain. The two of them positioned with the scenery was just a beautiful moment. While they converse within the ruins, in the distance, you can see Incan terrace farming. I love moments where humans are just being humans. These two strangers sharing a moment to discuss and engage with the history around them was just that. For me, it was transformative to engage with my ancestral history in modern times. Living in the States, it is hard sometimes to be so removed from my family's culture in Peru. This moment was one where I truly felt connected with the history of el Valle Sagrado."

Pisac-Peru,  2022



2. Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Julia Bernat 

"This photograph was taken at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea. It marks the first time I had ever traveled outside the United States. Being immersed in a completely different cultural landscape transformed how I saw the world. I was welcomed by family members as they introduced me to their culture, and I began to see how these new customs impacted their cuisine, architecture, and ways of life. In a sense, this photo is a reflection of myself stepping into a new light, unlocking a new identity within me."

Seoul-South Korea, 2019



3. Camping in the Sahara by Omaer Naeem

"Camping in the Sahara transformed the way I understood communication. With no connection to Wifi, traveling without friends or family, and a language barrier between myself and the others on this excursion, I was forced to think about how crucial communication is as the first building block in my relationships with other people. It transformed me in appreciating the power of a global community through shared language."

Sahara Desert-Morocco, 2022


Thank you to all our participants. This year's submissions were exceptional!