Themes in MENA research
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- A few key themes emerged which WMF will continue to consider and incorporate when confirming and conducting activities in the MENA region. In brief, the following captures the theme and the corresponding messaging:
- The Arab world is misunderstood and misrepresented globally.
- Wikipedia is unique in that - though not a platform for a political agenda - it does strive to be neutral, and needs increased participation from constituents from all over the world in order to make it so.
- The Arab population, especially youth, desires to be global citizens on equal footing with their peers around the world.
- Wikipedia provides an outlet for communication and interaction with individuals from all over the world. Everyone benefits from having cross-cultural interactions on this platform.
- Students are in a constant state of reflecting and reevaluating the causes of the broken systems of the old regime, and want to come up with solutions.
- The Wikipedia Education Program team must be careful to extract the importance of Arabic as an important component to comprehensive, online content.
- Familiarity with Wikipedia
- The base of users and colloquial knowledge of the project is less than in, say, Europe or the United States. This may prove a slight set-back when talking to university professors.
- Political, geographic and social structures
- The underlying political, geographic and social structures in the region pose challenges due to the uncertainty of what can arise, as seen with this past year’s Arab Revolution.
- Higher education is increasingly shifting to English in the classroom
- Many professors of courses such as Computer Science and Engineering are using English in the classroom.
- Lack of funding and resources at universities
- Due to the large number of students, lack of financial funding, many of the Faculties are just not up to date in the quality of the facilities, such as the Faculties of Law, Commerce, Arabic Literature, and History.