2021 SIS International Photo Contest Submission Deadline EXTENDED: December 17, 2021

Large waterfall with a rainbow in the middle of the photo

The Office of International Programs (OIP) is pleased to announce the Fifth Annual SIS International Photo Contest. Based on the category eligibility, contestants may submit up to two photos per category for consideration by 11:59 pm December 17, 2021.  

Please review this page in its entirety for all contest information; including but not limited to eligibility, categories, submission requirements, voting procedures, prizes, unveiling, etc.


To participate you must be an SIS community member that falls into one of the following categories:

  • SIS Graduate or Undergraduate Student
  • SIS Alumni
  • SIS Staff*
  • SIS Faculty

*Full-time SIS Staff who are also students are only eligible as staff members. Part-time SIS Staff members who are also graduate students will be only eligible as students.


1. SIS Programs Abroad –

Who can submit? SIS Abroad Study Abroad Students

Submissions must come from SIS students (current and alumni) who participated in an SIS Abroad Program* at any point during their SIS studies.

*SIS Abroad programs are offered by the SIS Office of International Programs and exclude other study abroad opportunities offered by AU Abroad, Kogod or other AU offices/schools.

2. Local Treasure 2021 –

Who can submit? SIS Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Submissions should be taken between January and December 2021. Photos should depict a place that you explored and/or learned about in your local community during the COVID-19 pandemic as we continued to experience quarantines and social distancing. We will accept photos from within the United States and abroad. Examples may include local landmarks, new landscapes, signage, wildlife, and more.

3. A Moment of Reflection Abroad–

Who can submit? - SIS Graduate Students

Submissions should share an image and accompanying description that conveys thoughtful reflection during an experience abroad. These photos can come in many forms.

4. Landscapes, Landmarks, & Cityscapes Abroad –

Who can submit? - SIS Graduate Students

Submissions may be taken in cities, in the countryside, at so-called 'world wonders,' and ideally will display the diversity of culture, landscapes, and communities around the world. This category is an opportunity for students to share photos from a wide variety of international experiences like living in a city abroad, visiting a small community, exploring nature and beyond. International students may submit photos taken in the United States.

5. SIS Community Abroad –

Who can submit? - SIS Alumni, Faculty and Staff

Submissions for this category should display folks from the SIS community in an international context. Examples of these photos may be of an SIS staff member studying abroad, photos in-front of historical sites/landmarks, faculty teaching a course abroad, staff co-leading an alternative break, etc. The options are broad, but as the name suggests, these photos should include yourself, your colleagues, or a member of the SIS community as they engage in meaningful activities abroad or are featured at a site that is significant to their activity abroad.

6. SIS Fan Favorite –

Selected from all submissions

The SIS Fan Favorite photo will be selected by a panel from the photos submitted to all of the 2021 photo contest categories. 

Selecation Criteria 

Winning entries from each category will be selected on the best quality photographs that convey a strong sense of place or express a cross-cultural experience through the photo and accompanying context provided in the photo title and/or description. 

Submission Guidelines

All submissions should be submitted on or before 11:59 PM December 17, 2021.

Please send all photos, as attachments (please see photo specifications in section below), and include the information listed below for each submission to sisstudyabroad@gmail.com. The subject line of the email must contain the category you are submitting to and your last name. (NOTE: Based on the category eligibility, contestants may submit up to two photos per category - each submsision must be a separate email containing all information listed below).

  1. Name (first, last)
  2. AU ID, if applicable
  3. SIS Affiliation & Program, if applicable
  4. Category
  5. Title of Photo
  6. Location of Photo
  7. Year Taken
  8. Brief Description/The story behind the photo (approx. 50-100 words)

Photo Submission Rules

  • Please use this format to name each photo: LastNameLocation
  • Contestants may submit up to two photos for EACH category for which they meet the stated eligibility requirements
  • No repeats - The same photo for two categories will NOT be permitted
  • All photos must be submitted by 11:59 PM, December 17, 2021.
  • Late submissions will not be accepted.

Photo Specifications

  • Please submit files no larger than 20MB at the time of entry
  • Higher resolution files of at least 240 dpi/ppi; high quality photos of this nature will be needed for any winning photo to be properly printed and showcased.
  • All photos must be submitted in a .jpeg or .png format.
  • Winners may receive a print of their photo after is has been displayed in the SIS building.
  • Winning photos will be printed at 8"x10" and/or 11"x14"; please keep these dimensions in mind when submitting photos (i.e. square photos are discouraged)

Other Submission Conditions:

All entries become property of American University and may be published in any format. By entering this Contest, you represent and warrant that: (i) you are the sole author, creator, and owner of the photos; (ii) except for material used by permission, none of the intellectual property rights in the photos, or any portion thereof, has been assigned or transferred to anyone; (iii) the photos do not violate any applicable laws; and (iv) the photos do not infringe upon or violate intellectual property rights or privacy rights held by any third person or party. By submitting your photos, you give permission to American University to use, reproduce, publish, display and/or distribute your image(s) for any purpose, including the promotion of the School of International Service International Programs, inclusion in reports, print materials and on the School of International Service and/or Office of International Programs Webpages. You also agree that no compensation shall be due to you for the granting of this license. You hereby release American University, its officers, directors, agents, and employees from all liability or legal responsibility that may arise from the acts that you granted herein. You also expressly acknowledge that this photograph is your property, the people in your photo are aware of the photograph's existence and have no objection to the photo being shared for the purposes of this contest.


Winning entries from each category will be selected on the best quality photographs that convey a strong sense of place or express a cross-cultural experience. 

The SIS Office of International Programs will convene a panel of SIS staff and faculty to select the winning photos from the five categories. The decisions of the panels are final and incontestable.

The SIS Fan Favorite photo will be selected in December 2021 through an online voting process. Virtual voting details will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

SIS Alumni, Faculty, and Staff will not be eligible for prizes but will receive a print of their winning photo after it has been displayed in the SIS Atrium and replaced by the next year’s winners. All winners will have their photos displayed by the SIS Spanish Steps until the following years winners are announced.


  • SIS Fan Favorite - $100 AU Rewards Card
  • SIS Programs Abroad - $100 AU Rewards Card
  • Local Treasure 2020 - $50 AU Rewards Card
  • A Moment of Reflection Abroad - $50 AU Rewards Card
  • Landscapes, Landmarks, & Cityscapes Abroad $50 AU Rewards Card
  • SIS Community Abroad – Print of Photo
  • All Winners: Recognition at photo unveiling and photo will be displayed by the SIS Spanish Steps for up to one year

    Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. Winners are responsible for any tax implications as a result of their winning a prize. Any entrant who supplies false information, enters the Contest by fraudulent means, or is otherwise determined to be in violation of the eligibility criteria or terms of these terms shall be ineligible for any Prize and shall be required to forfeit any Prize obtained based on such information or means.


Photo winners will be announced in December 2021 and will be personally notified via email. 

Additional Information

The University reserves the right to refuse to display or use any photos in its sole discretion. The University also reserves the right at any time during and after the Contest to remove or disqualify any photographs when it believes in its sole discretion that the entrant has: (i) infringed any third party's copyright or privacy rights; (ii) failed to comply with these Contest terms; or (iii) failed to obtain the necessary consents as set out in these Contest terms. The Contest shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia. The University specifically reserves the right to amend or change these terms and conditions at any time for any reason. The University will communicate any such changes on its website.

2020 Winners

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