(As of October, 2011) The need for Wikipedia in the Arabic Wikipedia is great, as evidenced perhaps most starkly by its gross under-penetration in terms of online content: it is the 4th most commonly spoken language in the world but is 28th in terms of number of articles.
Wikimedia's interest in expanding Arabic content on Wikipedia comes at a very unique and opportune time in the history of the Middle East and North Africa region. Regionally, Egyptian university students are approaching leaders in the education system with a sense of distrust and desire to improve systems of learning. The result has led to the resignations of deans and administrative members. The military has been asked to remove all university heads by the protesters and the student bodies.
The Global Education Program represents a unique opportunity to communicate with the faculty directly without having to speak to administration as the professors are now more emboldened to act with personal agency. Thus for universities, the GEP presents the opportunity to increase knowledge and build a school of global citizens and regional knowledge. The Global Education Program builds upon the momentum of the student movement within MENA. Wikipedia and the education program is designed will transfers and increase knowledge sharing throughout the region.