HomeAbout the Contest

About the Contest

ACCU Asia-Pacific ESD Photo Message Contest−Letters to Tomorrow 2007

ACCU is organising the contest to contribute to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD: 2005-2014).
In 2007, the first contest was organised on the theme of "Celebration of Our Living Culture".
The International Jury Meeting was held on 26 February 2008 and 80 works were selected from among more than 3,200 entries submitted from 38 Asia-Pacific Countries.
The 80 Prize-winning works are mounted on panels and traveling around the countries as "ESD Photo Caravan", which is a series of workshops and exhibition, to think together to create a sustainable society through ESD.


“Celebration of Our Living Culture”

"ESD Photo Message Book" which contains 80Prize-winning works.

Look around and find something you wish to pass along to the future - in your family, community or country. As each entry, we call for a photograph of people who transmit living culture, together with a text in your own words.
Please try to depict people who are engaged in traditional music, theatre and dance, folklore and legend, social practices, rituals and festive events, traditional handicrafts such as wood carving, dyeing and weaving, and cultural spaces such as those for prayers, rituals and gatherings.
Please select some part of your valuable culture which has been nurtured in nature, and passed from people to people, hand to hand and heart to heart, in other words "Living Heritage" around you, and those people who pass along such living culture, in a spontaneous and natural scene.
Photographs which depict solely tangible cultural heritage, e.g. historical buildings and archeological sites, will not be acceptable.

Closing Date

Entries must reach ACCU no later than Saturday, 15 February 2008.  CLOSED


Grands Prix (3 entries)

Prize of the Chairperson of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
Prize of the President of ACCU
Murata Memorial Prize

  • a certificate
  • a plaque
  • US$1,000
  • ESD Photo Message Book

Prizes for Excellence (12 entries)

  • a certificate
  • US$200
  • ESD Photo Message Book

Commendation Priz (65 entries)

  • a certificate
  • ESD Photo Message Book

Conditions of Entry

  1. Entries should be submitted by nationals of the countries participating in ACCU programme activities. (cf. List of Participating Countries at the end of this page.)
  2. You can submit up to two entries. Each entry must consist of a photograph and a text in line with the theme.
  3. Please fill out the Entry Form in English (alphabetical notation). If you find it more comfortable to express yourself in any of the languages listed below, titles and texts written in the language will also be acceptable.

    Languages to be selected from (titles and texts only)
    Length of texts should be equivalent to approx. 100 English words.

    Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Malay, Mongolian, Myanmar, Nepalese, Persian, Russian, Sinhalese, Tamil, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese

  4. Good care will be taken by ACCU with regard to the custody of entries, but ACCU will not be responsible for loss or damage in transit.
  5. Entries received by ACCU will not be returned.

Photographs should be:

  1. taken by anyone of any age, in his/her own country.
  2. independent prints or digital data (No submission via E-mail) in colour and/or monochrome are acceptable. They should not be in a set, in slide form, or composite.
  3. neither larger than 10 x 12 inches (25 x 30 cm) nor smaller than 8 x 10 inches (20 x 25 cm) in independent print. Volume of digital data should be larger than JPEG 500KB. It is recommended that digital images be taken in high-resolution and high-quality.
  4. those that have been taken in the past five years (on or after 1 January 2003).
  5. those which have not previously been awarded any prize in other contests. Also, photographs should be previously unpublished.

Texts should be:

  1. descriptions on the Entry Form of what you wish to convey to those who see your entries for the first time, as concrete as possible so they can understand your message. For example, please describe what you depicted in the photograph, in which respect you are proud of it, which part of it you wish to pass on to the future generations, etc.


  1. ntries should be submitted with the prescribed Entry Form, completed in block letters. If you submit online, the Entry Form should be attached as digital data when submitting.
  2. In case of any claims or complaints from any person depicted in entered photographs or any copyright holder of the quoted lines in entered texts, such responsibility will remain with you.

Submission of Works

Online Entry
Postal address

Selection/Announcement of Results

  1. Only complete entries (a photograph and a text) accompanied by an appropriate Entry Form each will be subject to the jury meeting.
  2. Selection of winning works will be made by the international jury which will meet in February 2008.
  3. The results of the selection by the jury will be communicated in March/April 2008 directly to the prize-winners.
  4. No announcement of the results of the selection will be made individually if your entry was not selected.

Reproduction of Works

  1. The prize-winning works will be enlarged and mounted on panels for the traveling photo message exhibition to go around countries mainly in Asia and the Pacific at their request.
  2. The prize-winning works will be used in the ESD Photo Message Book and on the ESD Photo Message Website as well as in publications which ACCU produces.
  3. Titles and messages of your entries may be edited for enhanced readability.
  4. is to be granted the right to use the prize-winning works with a credit line but without royalties. Also, ACCU is to be authorised to permit other bodies to use the prize-winning works with a credit line with or without royalties depending on the case. Copyrights for the prize-winning works are retained by each entrant.
  5. Your personal information will be used within the scope of ACCU's objective of carrying out the contest, i.e. announcement of results, production of the ESD Photo Message Book, shipment of prize articles, etc. ACCU will not disclose your personal information to third parties without your agreement.


Organised by: Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU)

In cooperation with (to be confirmed): United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations University (UNU), United Nations University - Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE), Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP), The University of the South Pacific (USP), Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc., NHK, Japan Professional Photographers Society, Ueno Royal Museum, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (Japan), National Museum of Ethnology (Japan), National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan (NFUAJ), Japan Council on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD-J), Japan NGO Network for Education (JNNE)

Participating Countries

45 Participating Countries (in alphabetical order)
Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao P.D.R., Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, P. R. China, Rep. of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam


What is ESD?

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a teaching and learning practice that enables us to anticipate, tackle and resolve our common issues in hopes of averting a problematic scenario for our children and their offspring down the generations as they continue to live on the planet. UNESCO is the lead agency of the United Nations Decade for ESD (DESD: 2005 – 2014).

Among the specific themes covered by ESD are water resources, waste management, employment, human rights, gender, peace and human security, eradication of poverty, HIV/AIDS, migration, climate change and urbanisation. ESD is a holistic agenda as it involves these issues that will have to be dealt with not singly but as a complex environmental, social and economic issue in a given cultural context.

It is essential for us to work on various challenges in cooperation with each other in order to realise a future in which all people can live without anxiety. ESD is the learning and the nurturing of the ability and the ways of thinking necessary for those approaches.

What is Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)?

In our countries and regions, there are multifarious forms of culture, which are common assets of humankind. Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is closely linked to the life of humankind or is a part of it. Such heritage has been passed down from generation to generation for many years, and it is human bodies and souls that are the medium for transmitting such intangible heritage; therefore it is also known as "Living Heritage".

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2003, and the international cooperative framework for the promotion of safeguarding ICH has been gaining momentum. According to the Convention, ICH is manifested in the domains of: "oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship."