Untold Stories: MEI’s 2019 Photography Contest - logo

Untold Stories: MEI’s 2019 Photography Contest


The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to announce that the submission period is open for its third annual digital photography contest: Untold Stories.

This year's contest seeks photographs with a story to tell about the people, places, history and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. We particularly invite submissions that showcase underrepresented communities and traditions, and highlight the vibrant and diverse spirit of the region. Creativity in interpreting the theme is highly encouraged, and submissions from all genres and skill levels are welcome.

Please note that previously published material is not eligible.

Photos will be reviewed by a panel of volunteer judges who will select First, Second, and Third Prize winners, as well as a number of Honorable Mentions.




First Prize - $500

Second Prize: $250

Third Prize: $150

Honorable Mentions: $75 each

Winning photos will be exhibited at the Middle East Institute and auctioned at MEI's Annual Gala on November 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. to support MEI’s arts and educational programs.


The Middle East Institute (MEI) Digital Photo Contest (“Photo Contest”) is open to all professional and amateur photographers who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry. Board Members and Employees of The Middle East Institute, as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) of those persons are not eligible to enter. By submitting an entry to the Photo Contest, entrants certify that their participation in this Photo Contest is not illegal or in violation of any law, regulation, treaty or administrative act. MEI reserves the right to reject any entry if, in MEI’s sole discretion, the laws of an applicable jurisdiction, including but not limited to the entrant’s jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry, would prohibit or limit MEI from proceeding with the Contest as intended. MEI is unable to award prize money to winning entrants who live in countries under US sanctions. Individuals residing in such “Excluded Jurisdictions” are welcome to enter the Photo Contest, and if selected as winners will receive full recognition for their work, but by entering acknowledge that they are ineligible to receive prizes. Excluded Jurisdiction means any country listed on the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Active Sanctions Programs list available at https://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov/.

Copyrights & Usage Rights:

Your photographs help MEI raise awareness of the arts and culture of the Middle East and its diaspora communities. Thank you for helping to further our mission through your photography.

You will retain all rights to any photograph you submit -- including ownership if applicable. A copyright notice with the photographer's name will accompany winning images when used by MEI. Third-party requests for use of winning images will be forwarded to the photographer.

If your photograph is selected as a winner in the Photo Contest, you grant MEI a 5 year royalty-free, nonexclusive right to:

Display the photograph on mei.edu.

Allow third-parties to share the photograph on social media.

Use the photograph on the Internet and Social Media in support of our mission.

Use the photograph in MEI’s internal and external communications materials including but not limited to web sites and web publications, fact sheets, fundraising publications, advertising, multimedia, presentation and membership services, annual report and the Middle East Journal.

Provide your photograph to other individuals and organizations for MEI-related use in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, videos, membership premiums, and the like.

Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city, state and country of residence in promotions and other publications.

Retain a digital copy of your photograph that will be archived in MEI’s photo library and accessible to MEI staff via the MEI internal online photo archive.

The Middle East Institute will endeavor to credit all photographs with the caption "Person's Name" when the full name is available.

Additionally, one large print of each winning photograph will be auctioned at the 2019 Annual Gala to benefit The Middle East Institute. MEI does not reserve the right to reproduce any submission for sale beyond the aforementioned event.