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Entries in the Carolina Global Photography Competition show a range of global activity, educational opportunities, research and service work.

Hoi An
Night in Hoi An, taken in Hoi An, Vietnam, by Rebecca Bielamowiecz, doctoral candidate, sociology. At night, Hoi An is illuminated by hundreds of lanterns that hang above the town’s narrow streets and alleys. “My sister and I strolled around the night market, where hundreds more were on display and available for purchase. Each beautiful individually, when positioned side by side, they were even more striking.”


Stunning images from the annual Carolina Global Photography Competition on exhibition at the FedEx Global Education Center illustrate Carolina’s work around the world.

From over 600 submissions by students, faculty, staff and alumni, judges selected photographs for first-, second- and third-place grand prizes. Rachel Holtzman ’14 won first place for her photo Crafting Leaves into Bowls, taken during her time as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal.

Contest categories included First Time Abroad, Learning Moment, Celebrations and Festivals, Global Perspectives in the United States, Movement, Nature’s Beauty, School Spirit and A New Take on an Old Landmark. A dozen Carolina departments, offices and centers collaborated on the competition.

Winning photographs are on exhibit in the FedEx Global Education Center through July 10. Here’s a look at a few of the photos.

Kiruna, Sweden
Nature’s Ballet, taken in Kiruna, Sweden, by Shelby Casey, senior, biology.


The northern lights, aurora borealis, are a result of solar particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere. “The northern lights have always been somewhere at the top of my list of things I need to see. As soon as I got the chance, I was ready with fur hat, snow onesie and camera in freezing hand, but as soon as I saw nature’s ballet, I almost couldn’t take a picture. I was wonderstruck and in awe and, needless to say, not disappointed.”

Crafting Leaves into Bowls, taken in Madan Pokhara, Palpa, Nepal, by Rachel Holtzman, ’14, health policy and management.


In the mid-hills of Nepal, some families use local tree leaves and small twigs to craft bowls for festivities. “During my Peace Corps service, I spent hours trying to master the craft, and my host sister, Niruta, always took the time to reteach me. I paused from crafting bowls to take this photo, loving how her red kurta surwal contrasted with the green leaves.”

Havana, Cuba
Domino Debates, taken in Havana, Cuba, by Melissa Hlavac, associate dean of MBA programs.


“As we walked to the hotel, we heard laughter echoing down a barren street. Men were huddled around a table in front of a columned building covered with peeling paint. In rapid-fire succession, they slapped dominos on the table without interrupting the cadence of conversation. Hands flew and heads nodded in agreement. My camera focused on the players’ hands, capturing the essence of the scene while respecting their anonymity.”

Kigali, Rwanda
Rock & Roll & Resilience in Rwanda, taken in Kigali, Rwanda, by Caroline Kennedy, senior, interdisciplinary studies.


A young artist paints a mural to serve as a backdrop for his friend’s music video in the heart of “Hillywood” — the Rwandan Hollywood. “While in Rwanda, I shadowed professionals in the entertainment industry and learned that Rwandans are embracing the opportunity Hillywood offers through audiovisual storytelling to build an authentic identity for their country — an identity that recognizes their history, while simultaneously highlighting their resilience and culture.”

Medellin, Colombia
Flight, taken in Medellin, Colombia, by Alexander Kormann, ’19, photojournalism.


Pigeons fly over the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the city and a national monument of Colombia. Starting at a young age, “I was fascinated with how nature looked different around the world. This image was my effort to go back to why I first fell in love with photography — looking for nature mixing with a beautiful, historic and cultural man-made church in one frame.”

Amer, Rajasthan, India
Anokhi, taken in Amer, Rajasthan, India, by Rodrigo Bustamante, senior, global studies.


Traditions like block and hand printing are on display at the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. “While researching sustainability in the fashion industry in Jaipur, India, I visited the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. This museum displays various block-printed textiles and provides an in-depth look into the complexity of this tradition. As local markets struggle to keep up with global consumer demands, practices like block and hand printing could be lost — erasing this craft and its heritage from future generations.”

By UNC Global

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