A Wauwatosa native serving in the Peace Corps has won a second place award out of 500 entries in a worldwide photo contest judged by Alicia Keys.
Leslie Surrett, a 2005 graduate of Wauwatosa East High School, placed in the contest for her photo "AIDS Is Strong But We Are Stronger."
Surrett has been a volunteer in Morocco since 2010, and previously served for two years in Albania. Meanwhile, she found time to graduate from Robert Morris University in Illinois.
Surrett's photo is of actors at a youth center in Morocco putting on a play about fears that AIDS is conquering the four corners of the world – but in the end the world is stronger and defeats the disease. Production of the play was part of a Peace Corps local partnership.
The outcome of the Peace Corps AIDS-Free Generation Photo Contest was announced in advance of the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.
Entries were submitted by Peace Corps volunteers, returned Peace Corps volunteers and Peace Corps staff.
The first-place winning photo also came from Morocco, taken by volunteer Molly Green. The third-place photo featured volunteer Ryan Lehman at an AIDS awareness march in Ecuador.
“Peace Corps volunteers work tirelessly day in and day out to promote HIV/AIDS prevention techniques and improve access to care,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams (returned Peace Corps volunteer, Dominican Republic, 1967-1970). “These photos portray the inspiring work Peace Corps volunteers do to help toward creating an AIDS free generation.”
Photographs were judged based on creativity and impact in the following categories: education and prevention; treatment, care and support; reducing/eliminating stigma and discrimination; and photographic technical merit. Alicia Keys, co-founder and global ambassador for Keep a Child Alive, selected the winning photographs from these categories and a fifth “People’s Choice” photo was chosen by the number of ‘likes’ the photo received on social media. Keys made the announcement through Twitter today.
The top three photos from each category as well as the People’s Choice Award will be exhibited at the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C. from July 23 to 26. An additional selection of submissions will also be on display during the 2012 International AIDS Conference in the Global Village at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
All photo submissions have been permanently added to the Peace Corps Digital Library, a searchable collection of electronic Peace Corps materials from 1961 to the present.
Along with being featured at the International AIDS Conference the winning photos will be highlighted on the Peace Corps websites, featured in the 2013 official Peace Corps HIV/AIDS Awareness Calendar and displayed in the Peace Corps headquarters building in Washington, D.C. First-place winners will also receive a framed certificate signed by Director Williams and Ambassador Eric Goosby, United States Global AIDS coordinator.