WASHINGTON (June 8, 2012)—Twenty teenage refugees from Burma and Eritrea will be mentored by National Geographic contributing photographers Kitra Cahana and Amy Toensing on how to document their new lives and stories during National Geographic Photo Camp Baltimore. The camp, from Saturday, June 16, to Tuesday, June 19, is being presented in cooperation with the Department of Visual Arts and The Shriver Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as well as Baltimore City Community College’s Refugee Youth Project.
The 20 students are all new residents of Catonsville, a suburb of Baltimore City. During the Photo Camp they will learn about photographic vision, equipment and technique, and they will explore familiar things that remind them of their home countries — such as food and natural environs — through still images, portraiture and audio interviews. Shooting assignments were chosen based on the students’ responses to the question, “What do you miss about your home?” Food, the market experience, cooking and nature were some of the most popular responses, so the assignments will take students to places like Patapsco State Park, the Baltimore Sunday Farmers Market and a local community kitchen, where they will prepare and share a traditional meal together.
“We hope National Geographic Photo Camp Baltimore will provide these young people with a better understanding and appreciation of their new home while also educating the surrounding community about the newcomers and their stories,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president, Mission Programs. “National Geographic’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. We’ve found that Photo Camp can give new voice to youth and inspire them, and in this case we hope it can inspire their community as well.”
There will be a small exhibition on the UMBC campus on Tuesday, June 19, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., where family and community members can share in the work and accomplishments of the participants.
Olympus Imaging America Inc. has supplied cameras for the Photo Camp. National Geographic Photo Camp has provided programs for more than 1,000 young people in more than 50 locations since 2003. Additional Photo Camps later this year will take place in Pakistan and the Bahamas. Visit nationalgeographic.com/photocamp for more information.
About National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
About University of Maryland, Baltimore County
UMBC is a dynamic public research university integrating teaching, research and service to benefit the citizens of Maryland. As an Honors University, the campus offers academically talented students a strong undergraduate liberal arts foundation that prepares them for graduate and professional study, entry into the workforce, and community service and leadership. The Department of Visual Arts promotes rigorous and innovative teaching and research in the fine arts, design and art history, specializing in print, electronic and digital media. For more information, visit art.umbc.edu.
About Refugee Youth Project
The RYP is a joint program of Baltimore City Community College and the International Rescue Committee. The program seeks to improve the lives of Baltimore’s youngest refugees by supporting their academic needs and making their acculturation simple and meaningful. It is fully grant-funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s School Impact Grant, monitored by the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees. The RYP currently serves more than 300 refugees between the ages of 4 and 21 from over 17 countries. For more information, visit www.refugeeyouthproject.org.
Contact: Kirsten Elstner, Vision Workshops – (410) 279-5481, kirsten@VisionWorkshops.org
Contact: Calla Thompson, University of Maryland, Baltimore County – (410) 455-2150, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Kursten Pickup, Refugee Youth Project – (410) 558-3194, email@example.com