Hands-on activity: Global Peace Photography Challenge

One of our Group Leaders, Genevieve, created an activity to help your students engage with the idea of peace through photography. Genevieve is a high school photography teacher from Montana who has taken her students on nine EF tours in the last 10 years. 

To share this project with your students, you can share this article, download our student PDF, or incorporate pieces of it into your existing lessons.

“The Global Peace Photo Award aims to discover the best picture of the better side of humans and the positive aspects of changes in this world.” – Peter-Matthias Gaede

Grade Level: High School

Subject Areas: Photography, Social Studies, World History, Art/Art History, World Geography, Literature & Language Arts, World Cultures, Journalism

Objective: Learn about the Global Peace Photo Award and create your own series of peace photographs

Essential Question: How can photography be used as a tool to better understand the world we live in?

Overview: In this lesson, students will watch a video discussing human rights and responsibility, learn about the Global Peace Photo Award, then create their own peace photo.

Materials: Students will need:

  • A camera
  • Access to smartphone, laptop or tablet to view/research past winners and peace photographers
  • Optional: props and willing participants

Part 1: Introduction: Grandsons of the Greats
“Change doesn’t stop with one generation. Sit down with the grandsons of the greats—Mandela and Gandhi—for a conversation on human rights and responsibility.” – EF Educational Tours YouTube channel.

To get in the right mindset, watch this video. Consider and/or discuss your thoughts about the following quote from Arun Gandhi’s website: “However, he learned from his parents and grandparents that justice does not mean revenge, it means transforming the opponent through love and suffering…Grandfather taught Arun to understand nonviolence through understanding violence.”

Part II: Learn about the Global Peace Photo Award

  1. Visit the Global Peace Photo Award site to discover:
    1. What the Nobel Peace Prize is
    2. Why the Global Peace Photo Award  is needed
    3. Examples of what the award is NOT for
  2. Ask yourself what story-telling photos are and how they’re alike and different from photojournalism.

Ultimately, the Global Peace Photo Award recognizes and promotes photographers from all over the world whose pictures capture human efforts towards a peaceful world and the quest for beauty and goodness. The award goes to those photographs that best express the idea that our future lies in peaceful coexistence.

Part III: Hands-on Activity


  1. Look through this portfolio of submissions from a 2017 winner
  2. Describe everything you see in one of the photographs:
    1. People (What is their gender, age, expressions, posture, attire, etc?)
    2. Location (Is the setting indoors/outdoors, urban/rural? What is the time of day and year, setting, etc.)
    3. Movement (What activity is shown? If people are included, what are they doing? How are people or objects situated in relation to one another?)
    4. Extras (What other details do you see in the photographs such as animals, tools, objects, architecture, cars, boats, signs, etc.)
  3. How do you feel when observing these photographs?
  4. How do you think these images tie back to the initial Global Peace Photo Award prompt?


  1. Where do you think the image was taken?
  2. Who or what do you think is the subject of the photograph?
  3. Where might you expect to find this photograph displayed?
  4. Based on what you have written thus far, list two things you might conclude from this set of photographs.

Take action!

  1. What do you want to photograph? What theme are you most interested in? Here are some theme approaches you could consider:
    • Better side of humans
    • Peaceful coexistence
    • Empathy
    • Inspiring hope
    • Personal happiness
    • Causes you’re passionate about
  1. Choose a theme approach, either from the list above or by coming up with your own. Need some more inspiration? Check out Mr. Happy Man, Citizens of the Earth, and Fostering Awe. 
  2. Take 30 images based on your chosen approach—not all will be fantastic photos but don’t let “getting the perfect photo” stop you from getting started
  3. Look at all the photos you’ve taken and choose 5 of the best shots to share as a photo series. Make sure they illustrate your theme!

Part IV: Project Reflection

  1. Why and or how do you think you achieved the prompt?
  2. Describe your own photo in a few sentences and how it relates to this prompt

Genevieve A.

Genevieve is a high school photography teacher from Montana. She has been traveling with her students for over a decade, including 9 tours with EF.

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