Education/Newsletter/April 2015/Teachers and journalists of Armenian community in Lebanon joined Wikipedia and Wikipedia Education program

By Lilit Tarkhanyan (Wikimedia Armenia)

Western Armenian editors in Aghveran

Snippet: Teachers and journalists of Armenian community in Lebanon joined Wikipedia and Wikipedia Education program.

Western Armenian is one of the two standardized forms of Modern Armenian, which is mainly spoken in Armenian Diaspora communities. In 2015 Wikimedia Armenia began cooperating with Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for its "Wikipedia in Western Armenian" program. This program aims to establish and develop Western Armenian Wikipedia community, in order to improve the article quality in Western Armenian and to create a separate Western Armenian Wikipedia.

Why Lebanon? Number of Armenians in Lebanon is 156,000 which is around 4% of the population. As Armenians have strong community and strong presence in almost every sphere in Lebanon, we decided that it will be the first country of our program. Wikimedia Armenia with the support of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation organized Wikipedia training week for teachers and journalists of Armenian community, in order to involve them in wiki editing process. The aim of the event was to teach wiki editing tools, to tell about wiki movement and to prepare wiki coordinators, who will spread wiki movement in Lebanon by involving new educational, scientific and other institutions.

On April 3, 12 participants arrived to Armenia from Beirut. During the training week a number of discussions were held, such as: where to start from, how to involve more people, how to spread the movement, what problems do we face and how to solve them, how Wikipedia Education program works in Armenia, how and when organize a wikicamp for students in Lebanon. The participants learned wiki editing tools before creating their own articles in Western Armenian. The editors stated that Wikipedia is the best way of preserving Western Armenian, which is considered to be endangered language in some countries.

One of the workshops in Aghveran

Participants discussed the organization of the Lebanon wikicamp in details. The teachers and journalists plan to continue their wiki activity, educators want to involve their students in Wikipedia Education Program after returning home. The best students will have an opportunity to participate in Wikicamp 2015, Armenia, which will be a great help and motivation for them. It is planned to have 15 students from Armenian Diaspora in the camps (June 21 - July 4, August 16 - 29).

During their stay the editors visited Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts - Matenadaran, which is a repository of ancient manuscripts, research institute and museum in Yerevan. A visit to AYB high school was also organized, where the school manager Aram Pakhchanyan introduced their educational programs and cooperation with Wikimedia Armenia.

Western Armenian editors of Wikipedia returned home filled with enthusiasm to share their wiki knowledge with their students and surrounding.

Watch an Armenian TV news report (with English captions) about the training here.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Armenia here.