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Shining a Light Photography Contest

The Muhammad Ali Center

• Deadline: 31st December, 2023

• Theme: Shining a Light: Women Athlets

• Prize: $1,000 + Exhibition

• Entry Fees: Free

• REGISTRATION: CLOSED, Click HERE for more opportunities •

The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, is pleased to announce its tenth annual "Shining a Light" International Photography Contest and subsequent exhibition. This contest and exhibition will be centered on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #3 (Good Health and Well-Being) and #5 (Gender Equality). In this year's edition, the Ali Center invites participants to submit photographs that depict the diverse ways in which women participate in sports and the obstacles they encounter worldwide. Following the contest, the Muhammad Ali Center will curate a documentary-style exhibition featuring 30 chosen photographs, commencing on International Women's Day, which falls on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Contest Theme

The theme for the contest is "Shining a Light: Women Athletes." In 2020, the Olympic Games achieved a significant milestone with nearly 49% of athletes being women. This advancement came 120 years after women were first allowed to compete in the 1900 Paris Olympics. However, despite the increasing representation of women in sports, there remains a gender imbalance within the Olympic Committee, with fewer than 20% of its members being women. Globally, female athletes continue to confront discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, physical appearance, physical ability, personality, and various other factors. Additionally, women's sports often suffer from underfunding, resulting in subpar facilities, inadequate equipment, and unequal compensation. Photographers, whether amateur or professional, are invited to submit images that illustrate the various facets of women's involvement in sports and the challenges they face internationally. The contest will accept photographs that portray the following themes:

  1. Disparities in women's sports facilities and equipment compared to men's.

  2. Female athletes participating in team sports or individual sports, either professionally or recreationally.

  3. Gender inequities in sports influenced by sociopolitical conditions.

  4. The transformative influence of sports in empowering women and girls in terms of physical fitness, health, agency, and community.

Exhibit Purpose

Through the resulting documentary-style exhibition, the Muhammad Ali Center aims to raise awareness and educate visitors about gender inequalities in sports, particularly concerning women athletes on a global scale. The goal is to inspire viewers to take action and contribute to creating a more just world.

Contest Calendar

  • Call for Submissions: Starting on Saturday, July 1, 2023.

  • Entry Deadline: Closing on Sunday, December 31, 2023.

  • Muhammad Ali Center Exhibition: Running from March 8, 2024 (International Women’s Day) to January 5, 2025.


Winners of the contest will receive monetary prizes directly from the Muhammad Ali Center as follows:

  1. 1st Prize — $1000

  2. 2nd Prize — $750

  3. 3rd Prize — $500

These monetary prizes will be awarded via a digital Swift transfer. Upon receiving an award, winners will need to provide their personal bank Swift number, bank name, bank address, individual account name, and account number for the transfer. Prizes will be sent within four weeks of the notification of winning. Please note that residents of countries identified on the current U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control list are not eligible to receive prize money from this contest. However, they can still participate by submitting photographs.

In addition to monetary prizes, winners will receive recognition through press releases, website features, and social media exposure.

Rules and Legal Conditions

By participating in the "Shining a Light" photo contest, photographers agree to the following rules and legal conditions:

  • The contest is open to both amateur and professional photographers.

  • Photographers under the age of 18 must submit a Parental Consent Form.

  • Each participant is limited to submitting one photograph.

  • Submitted photographs and the photographer's name may be displayed, published, and used by the Muhammad Ali Center for an indefinite period with proper credit.

  • Photographs and names may also be displayed at other venues for an indefinite period.

  • Participants retain ownership and all other rights to future use of their photographs.

  • Selected photographers will have the opportunity to opt into a photo sale agreement for the period of the exhibition. The Muhammad Ali Center will cover the cost of printing, and proceeds from sales will be split, with 40% going to the photographers and 60% to the Muhammad Ali Center. Unsold prints will remain the property of the Muhammad Ali Center.

  • Participants warrant that their photographs are original and do not infringe on any third party's rights. They also agree to have obtained all necessary permissions from any third party depicted in the photograph.

  • The Muhammad Ali Center reserves the right to verify the eligibility of winners.

  • Decisions made by the Muhammad Ali Center and its judges regarding the contest are final and binding.


The submission deadline is Sunday, December 31, 2023, at 11:59 PM (EST). Submissions can be made via the provided form: Contest Submission Form.

About "Shining a Light"

In 2013, the Muhammad Ali Center initiated the "Shining a Light" international photography contest to increase awareness of gender equality issues. The "Shining a Light" exhibition takes place annually on March 8, International Women's Day, and includes educational programming on the chosen topic to enrich the audience's experience.

About the Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. This international cultural center promotes Muhammad Ali's six core principles (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) to inspire personal and global greatness. The Center focuses on education, gender equity, and global citizenship, with its Generation Ali initiative aimed at nurturing the next generation of leaders to make positive contributions to their communities and the world. The Center also houses an award-winning museum experience.


For additional information about the photo contest, rules, awards, exhibitions, and venues, please contact or visit


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