Earlier in 2015, as part of the Department´s Five-Year Plan to preserve and advance Western Armenian, a grant was awarded to Wikimedia (Armenia Scientific Education NGO) to enhance the presence of Western Armenian on Wikipedia. The objective of the collaboration is to establish and develop an online community, in order to improve the quality and accessibility of a Western Armenian Wikipedia.
Part of the project was to develop a summer camp that would offer an open space for teenage students to write articles and increase the presence of Western Armenian on Wikipedia. The WikiCamp Beirut took place between 3 and 12 August, bringing up to 60 participants (students, teachers, and IT facilitators) together in a creative and casual environment. During the camp the students had an opportunity to develop their skills and confidence in writing and editing articles on Wikipedia and Wiktionary, as well as translating articles from other European languages into Western Armenian.
As a result, analysis from Wikimetrics shows that 758 entries were added to Wikipedia in Western Armenian. Outside of the Wikipedia workshops, the organisers also planned various cultural and sports activities. After the camp the students are encouraged to continue using their editorial skills to keep writing entries and using Wikipedia in Western Armenian more frequently, as well as contributing towards its continual development.
The WikiCamp Beirut is an extension of the training activities designed for this initiative. Previously a successful training week “Wiki Workshops” was organised in Agheveran, Armenia. The Armenia. The Armenian Communities Department is considering expanding this programme to other communities around the world, where there is interest.
This initiative is part of our first priority of the Programming Plan for 2014 – 2018: “To promote the preservation of the Armenian language and culture, and the development of the diaspora by linking its different parts and by investing in education.”