CEE/Newsletter/August-November 2023

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
CEE Newsletter
Volume 3 • Issue 4 • July-August 2023
Russian version

CEE Newsletter continues to promote different projects from the CEE Region, which we categorised into three different topics: campaigns, updates from communities and opinions. Additionally, we included more sections, such as CEE Hub updates, regional reports, international updates, CEE in the News and open calls and consultations. Also, in the second edition we have category of Reader’s digest, where we bring to attention some of the important topics that were published through Diff Blog.

This first renewed edition received more than 500 views in the period of 60 days, which continue with approximate similar numbers to the second edition (main page of the Newsletter, along with the main page of that edition).

We hope that continuation of the Newsletter can bring more communities to send out proposals to our team.

CEE Hub updates
CEEM 2024 host selection
By: Barbara Klen (CEE Hub)

This year, the selection of the next CEE meeting (CEEM) host was coordinated by the CEE Hub. The goal of this article is to explain how this was organised and which processes were taking place to reach the final decision.

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In June 2023, the CEE Hub staff created a CEEM 2024 Meta page with information about the CEE Meeting, bid criteria and described tasks of the CEEM host. This information was shared via mailing lists and Telegram with all CEE communities asking them to show interest in hosting 2024 CEEM. The deadline for submitting bids was August 31st 2023. The idea behind this open call was to give everyone an equal chance to host the CEEM and to ensure a transparent CEEM 2024 selection process.

Although the CEE Hub staff received several inquiries from possibly interested CEE communities there were only two which submitted their bid before the official deadline: Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group proposing Prizren and Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey proposing Istanbul. Both user groups submitted well described and detailed proposals for hosting the CEEM 2024 which meant that deciding about the preferred host would require an additional work process.

During the CEE Meeting in Tbilisi, the CEE Hub facilitated creation of the CEEM 2024 Selection Committee, and it was one week after the Tbilisi meeting that the Selection Committee composed of six members was established. This Committee was composed of six Wikimedians with relevant experience related to event and team management. The CEE Hub coordinator facilitated the work of the CEE Meeting 2024 Selection Committee but had no vote in the final decision.

The following criteria were defined as the criteria to take into consideration during the 2024 CEE Meeting evaluation process:

  • Safety of the location
  • Visa requirements
  • Ease of access
  • Experience of the organising team
  • Proposed venue
  • Proposed accommodation

The Selection Committee met online with both bidding teams to ask clarification questions on their respective bid. Both groups were also asked to submit additional information (mostly about accommodation, budget and volunteer involvement).


The Selection Committee reached their final decision during an online meeting, based on the completed applications for both proposed cities. It was decided that the 2024 CEE Meeting will take place in Istanbul and it will be organised by Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey (WMTR).


Both Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group and Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey submitted well described, detailed and mature proposals for hosting the 2024 CEE Meeting. The working group used the same criteria to assess both proposals and both bids came very close in all criteria but one: Ease of access.

Istanbul is more practical to access from the region, with two airports internationally connected. The fact that a majority of the CEE Meeting participants will have to spend much less time on travel played the most important role in making a decision in favour of Turkey as a host country. The Selection Committee also pointed out that the fact that Prizren (Kosovo) is less accessible does not mean that more remote locations can never be chosen as a host. Based on the previous two CEE Meeting locations (Ohrid and Tbilisi) this time a location that kept travel time to a minimum thanks to good connections with the rest of the CEE was given a preference.

Final remarks

Both the Selection Committee and the CEE Hub want to thank the Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group and Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey for their participation in this process. We know how much time and effort it took to prepare this kind of proposal and to invest additional time to answer all follow up questions. It was important and helpful to have the information that enabled making the final decision. We strongly believe that both user groups would have been a great host, and we hope that Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group will consider applying to host the CEE Meeting in the future.

CEE Hub at the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2023 in Tbilisi
By: Toni Ristovski (CEE Hub)

CEE Hub used the CEE Meeting to have two additional in-person meeting days, one before and the other just after the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2023. During these two days, two staff members and nine steering committee (SC) members prepared and/or fine-tuned sessions dedicated to the CEE Hub which were presented during the CEE Meeting 2023, discussed upcoming as well as strategic activities of the CEE Hub.

During the CEE Meeting 2023, CEE Hub representatives organised workshop with focus on a CEE Hub Year 2 Plan, which was officially approved just before the closing ceremony. During this session, the composition of the new Steering Committee was presented as well. Compared to the year before, one SC member left the steering committee and two new members joined making it a body of 10 members.

Additionally, during the CEE Meeting 2023, CEE Hub representatives (staff and SC members) talked with many representatives from the CEE region and attended many workshops and sessions.

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CEE Hub was presented at the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2023 by both staff members Barbara Klen and Toni Ristovski and nine Steering Committee members: Anton Protsiuk, Tisza Gergő, Kiril Simeonovski, Klára Joklová, Michał Buczyński, Philip Kopetzky, Toni Sant, Wojciech Pędzich and Käbi Laan.

CEE Hub meeting days

CEE Hub organised separate in-person meetings day before and day after the meeting, where Steering Committee members and both staff members had an opportunity to discuss various things, such as scheduled sessions during the CEE Meeting, preparation for the upcoming grant proposal, feedback from the participants of the CEE meeting about the CEE Hub, strategic activities of the hub, and many others.


Barbara Klen as a CEE Hub coordinator was part of the opening ceremony where she briefly presented the CEE Hub.

CEE Hub staff (Barbara Klen and Toni Ristovski) held own presentation dedicated to the overview of the programmes per community in the CEE Region. This was our first attempt of grouping and finding similarities and differences between CEE communities. The session was extremely well attended and we plan to continue researching and exploring of this topic in the future as well.

CEE Hub Steering Committee members and the staff members held a workshop with focus on a CEE Hub Year 2 Plan, where we divided ourselves into eight different topics/working groups which correspond with the working packages of the CEE Hub's year 2 plan. We invited the workshop participants to go from one group to the other and to attend as many as they want and to comment or suggest what they think CEE Hub should incorporate into the year 2 plan. Each group used a separate Etherpad link, where we noted many new suggestions and comments, which helped us to fine-tune and finalize the annual plan for Year 2.

CEE Youth Group held their third meeting during the first day of the conference, where they had a chance to invite some new members to join the group as well. Additionally, during the second day of the conference, members of the Youth group had a separate session aimed to present both the Youth group and their individual work in their own communities/countries to the participants of the conference (slide deck from the session).


Just before the closing ceremony, CEE Hub had a separate session where all participants of the conference were invited to take a part in, where CEE Hub Year 2 was approved. Before the official approval, CEE Hub representatives presented once again the main points of the new annual plan.

Approved grant proposal for the CEE Hub Year 2 is already submitted on Meta. Stronger CEE Hub will be a continuation of the ongoing project "Building a CEE Hub" which has been implemented since June 2022.

Additionally, during this session, new Steering Committee members were presented; it was announced that one SC member will no longer be part of the committee, and it was also announced that the committee will have two new members. You can find current SC composition on the Meta page (2023/2024).

Käbi Laan thank you for your time invested into the activities of the CEE Hub, and welcome Başak Tosun (Türkiye) and Ivana Madžarević (Serbia).


Violeta Firmu-Patel, freelancer who works for the CEE Hub, was participating in the CEE Meeting 2023 as well. As a part of her research, during the CEE Meeting she conducted several interviews and talks with selected individuals from underrepresented CEE communities. Once finalized, Violeta's research results and recommendations will be used by the Wikimedia CEE Hub during 2024 to create new approaches when working on community building in underrepresented CEE communities.

Additionally, during the meeting CEE Hub was working on defining members of the CEEM 2024 Selection Committee (SelCom), which has a task to chose a host for a Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2024. You can find their names on the Meta page.

At the closing ceremony, Vera from Slovenia received a barnstar WikiCelebrate as a sign of appreciation for her Wkimedia related work.


International updates
Wikimedia International Update Corner November 2023
By: Philip Kopetzky (CEE Hub Steering Committee)

What will be going on in the international Wikimedia Space for the rest of the year? Let's have a look at the news and events that will close out a very active 2023!

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News and updates
  • The CEE Hub has published its grant proposal for 2024. The grant proposal is set up in a way that proposes a minimum to keep the current activities and staff going, but also includes optional programs and budget items that would enable the CEE Hub to become more involved in micro grants, project incubation and other aspects of Wikimedia CEE. We will know by some time in December if the proposal is successful!
  • The Wikimedia Foundation has published its "Affiliates Strategy Report". While the realisation that AffCom is underresourced for the tasks it is supposed to do comes through quite clearly in the report, how this will change is fairly unclear, especially because the report goes further in its recommendations than the current Movement Charter draft does.
  • Speaking of the Movement Charter process, there is currently a public discussion happening on how binding the Movement Strategy Recommendations are, which were triggered by the revelation that some members of the Movement Charter Drafting Committee (MCDC) don't see them as relevant as most have assumed them to be. This lead to a public statement by the MCDC and the rather obvious question as to how this process can be finished in the next six months when there are still these big differences in perception.
Upcoming meetings & conferences from September to November
  • WikiIndaba 2023 - November 3 - 5 in Agadir, Morocco, the regional conference for Africa. Topics will include discussions on regional African networks and improvements to the Wikimedia infrastructure on the continent. The live stream capacity is not yet known, but there will be recordings.
  • WikiConference North America 2023 from November 10 - 12 in Toronto, Canada. The regional conference for North America. Live stream capacity is yet unknown. The conference includes a keynote speech by Sue Gardner, who was the Executive Director of the WMF a very long time ago.
  • GLAM Wiki 2023 - November 16-18 in Montevideo, Uruguay. A conference revolving around Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums, with no program published yet at the time of publication of this newsletter. Considering that it is happening in Uruguay there should be some kind of hybrid model for this conference.
Information and recordings of past meetings & conferences in September and October
  • The Open Source Conference Albania (OSCAL) - September 2-3 in Tirana, Albania. OSCAL is an annual event dedicated to tech enthusiasts, developers, and open-source advocates in Albania and beyond since its inception in 2014. You can view gallery of images from the conference on Commons as well. Additionally, you can read report from Marios Magioladitis from Greek community, who was there as a speaker.
  • Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2023 - the recordings for these conference can be found on the Wikimedia CEE Youtube channel
  • Turkic Wikimedia Conference 2023 - held on October 20-22 in Istanbul, Turkey, it is a conference for the Turkic languages and other invited communities. You should be able to view the recordings from this conference on this Youtube channel in the near future.
  • Wiki Women Camp took place on October 19-22 in New Delhi in India. WikiWomenCamp 2023 brought together individuals who identify themselves as women from different countries of the Wikimedia movement, leaders of their respective communities and with strong experience and proven engagement with the gender gap topic. This year's theme for the conference was "Map Up, Rise Up". You can view gallery of images from the conference on Commons and you can find CEE Hub's coordinators presentation from the conference here.
CEE in the news
News from the CEE Region in other newsletters

What do they write about us? A summary of the artiles from This month in Education and This month in GLAM.

Reader’s digest
Important topics from the Diff Blog
By: Toni Ristovski (CEE Hub)

What's going on around the globe? Check out those Diff articles to stay in the loop!

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In October, the Movement Charter Drafting Committee (MCDC) had five meetings, discussed the Global Council and Hubs draft, and engaged with Wikimedia Foundation leaders and Affiliations Committee members. They changed their approach to collaborate more frequently and opened monthly meetings to the community for better engagement. The first community session was held on October 5, and the recording is available on YouTube.

In the article below you can find the summary of the discussions.

> Read more about this on the blog post.

In this guide, you can find list of tools and software recommended by civil society organisations to help you stay connected in anticipation of an internet outage in your country or region.

> Read more about this on the blog post.

You can read more in the interview conducted by NikosLikomitros on 6 October 2023 with Inabat from Karakalpak Wikipedia to learn more about the interesting project. Karakalpak Wikipedia is an interesting example of a nascent but developing community, so here there’s an opportunity to learn more about it.

> Read more about this on the blog post.

You can read where will be organised Wikimania in 2025 and 2026.

> Read more about this on the blog post.

Vera, also known as Pinky sl, became a celebrated Wikimedian for September after her Wikipedia adventure started when she discovered a missing article about a hygrometer while reading the Slovenian Wikipedia. This led to her decision to write the missing entry, making her a Wikimedian. Over the course of 17 years, she has become a dedicated contributor with over 100,000 edits, specializing in creating templates and modules, and actively participating in the Central and Eastern European Wikimedia community.

> Read more about this on the blog post.
Open calls and consultations
Open calls and consultations

Voice your opinion! These topics are open to discusssion.

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Updates from communities
Wikipedia and Wikidata at OSCAL '23
By: Marios Magioladitis

This year OSCAL had a special section on Wikipedia and Wikidata. A Wikidata workshop gave the participants the opportunity to understand the basic principles and have hands-on experience of collaborative editing.

The Open Source Conference Albania (OSCAL) is an annual event that has been captivating the hearts and minds of tech enthusiasts, developers, and open-source advocates in Albania and beyond since its inception in 2014. This gathering of like-minded individuals in the heart of Tirana has become a hub for innovation, collaboration, and the celebration of open-source technology.

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Marios talks about Wikidata

OSCAL stands as a testament to Albania's growing tech community and its commitment to fostering the principles of open source. The conference offers a unique platform for both experts and newcomers to explore the vast world of open-source software and technology. It features a diverse array of workshops, presentations, and discussions that cater to all levels of expertise.

One of the hallmarks of OSCAL is its commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. The conference is open to everyone, encouraging participants of all ages and backgrounds to engage with open-source technology. This inclusivity has helped foster a vibrant community of learners and innovators, making OSCAL a critical driver of tech literacy in Albania.

OSCAL's speakers and presenters come from a wide range of disciplines and regions, offering attendees a comprehensive view of open-source technology and its global impact. These thought leaders share their insights on the latest developments, trends, and best practices in the open-source world, making OSCAL an essential event for those looking to stay at the forefront of technology.

Furthermore, OSCAL has played a pivotal role in putting Albania on the map in the open-source community. Its growth and popularity have attracted international attention and participants, establishing Tirana as a hotspot for open-source technology in the region.

Workshop on Wikidata and SPARKQL

One notable feature of OSCAL is its attention to open knowledge, with several talks and workshops dedicated to Wikipedia and its related projects. Wikipedia, one of the world's largest open-source initiatives, is a topic of great interest at OSCAL. Talks often cover a range of Wikipedia-related topics and discussions on the legal and ethical aspects of contributing to Wikipedia. This year the relation between article creation and artificial intelligence was also highlighted.

On behalf of the Wikimedia Community, Marios Magioladitis gave an introductory talk on Wikidata called "Wikidata for beginners" where he tried to inspire participants to participate in this open and collaborative endeavor, democratizing knowledge and making it accessible to a global audience. Marios talked Wikidata's core principles, the problem of missing Wikidata items for important entities and terms, the problem of misinformation and many other things. The talk served as a preparation for the workshop that followed.

The titled of the workshop was "Wikidata and SPARQL Workshop: Unlocking the Power of Open Data". The "Wikidata and SPARQL Workshop" was a hands-on session designed to introduce participants to the fascinating world of open data and demonstrate the potential of Wikidata and SPARQL in various domains. The workshop targeted individuals with little or no prior experience in working with these technologies and it was based on the Wikidata challenge that was given to University students in May this year during the Ionian Wikithon 2023, which was a Wikimedia Hackathon satellite event.

In conclusion, the Open Source Conference Albania (OSCAL) is not just an event; it's a testament to the power of open-source technology and the strength of community collaboration. It is a platform for learning, networking, and celebrating the principles of open source that are shaping the future of technology. OSCAL's continued success ensures that the open source movement in Albania will only grow stronger, benefitting the nation's tech landscape and the global open source community.

WikiProject Czechoslovakia - Velvet in schools
By: Jan Sýkora

The Velvet in Schools project brings the 17 November theme into schools as an umbrella for a range of other themes and values inherent in the date. On behalf of Wikimedia Czech Republic, we offer several activities within the project.

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Where can I find these activities?

You can find out what activities we offer directly on the official Velvet in Schools website, or simply click here. So feel free to “book” one of the activities on offer!

Why is Wikimedia CR part of this project?

As you may know, one of the central campaigns of Wikimedia CR is the WikiProject Czechoslovakia. It is within this framework that our Velvet in Schools activities will take place. We believe that this often neglected period deserves much more attention, not only in schools but also on Wikipedia. So let’s work together to make the world’s largest freely accessible encyclopedia!

CEE Newsletter Serbia - August 2023
By: IvanaMadzarevic, Wikimedia Serbia

Wikimedia Serbia has empowered its Education program with eight new Wiki Ambassadors and new collaboration with Faculty of Political Sciences. Serbian editing community had the best results within Wikipedia Pages Wanting Photos and Nikolina Šepić won the first prize. We organized the Wiki Loves Pride edit-a-thon and GLAMOROUS Wikidata campaign.

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Education Program
  • The continuation of cooperation was agreed with the Institute for Modern Education on the project of professional development of teachers in the new cycle of accreditation that Wikimedia Serbia received.
  • Eight new Wiki Ambassadors were selected as part of the Education Program of Wikimedia Serbia. The new Wiki ambassadors will be engaged during the next school year in various activities aimed at promoting Wiki projects in the academic environment.
  • Cooperation with the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade was achieved. Students of this faculty will be engaged in various activities of the Education Program of Wikimedia Serbia as part of the internship program.
GLAM Program
  • The GLAMOROUS Wikidata campaign was organized from August 15th to 31st. A total of 9 editors participated and edited over 1,300 items with 3,200 properties, and a total of 235 references were added.
  • Cooperation with the National Museum of Kraljevo has been established, with which the implementation of the Wikipedian in residence project will begin in early October for a duration of two months.
  • A scholarship for participation has been accepted for the GLAM Wiki Conference which is happening in Montevideo from November 16th to 18th, 2023.
Diversity Program
  • This year, Wikimedia Serbia also joined the global competition Wikipedia Pages Wanting Photos, an annual campaign in which Wikipedians on all language versions of Wikipedia add photos to Wikipedia articles that lack illustrations. The goal is to promote using digital multimedia files, which have been collected during various photo contests and photo tours organized by the Wikimedia community, in Wikipedia articles. The competition lasted from August 1st to 31st, 2023. During the competition, participants made 7,205 changes to 6,079 articles on Serbian Wikipedia.
  • In August, Wikimedia Serbia was doing the preparation work for the Wiki Loves Pride edit-a-thon on the occasion of Pride Week in cooperation with Belgrade Pride. The edit-a-thon lasts from September 4 to 10. During the edit-a-thon, editors will have the opportunity to write articles about significant events, history, notable queer people, films, series, books, as well as all other topics related to the LGBTIQ+ population that celebrate human rights, diversity, and freedom. The goal of this activity is to spread free knowledge about issues of importance to the LGBITKA+ community on Wikipedia and other Wiki projects, thereby contributing to their accessibility and greater visibility. The editor with the most written articles will receive the book “Trans Balkan” by Aleksandar Crnogorac as a prize.
  • Wikimedia Serbia published the first draft of the Organization's Strategy for the period 2024 - 2026. Members of the community could comment on the document and thus participate in the creation of strategic directions and goals.
CEE Newsletter Serbia - September 2023
By: Ivana Madžarević

During September, Wikimedia Serbia had different focuses within three programs. Within the Education Program, work was done on regional support, program presentation, as well as preparation of accredited seminars for teachers. GLAM focused on planning Wikipedian in Residence programs in two cultural institutions, as well as thematic week Wiki Loves Living Cultural Heritage, while one edit-a-thon and one competition on Wikipedia were held as part of the Diversity Program. This month, the organization submitted its annual plan and adopted a new strategy, and the development of a strategic plan will soon follow.

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Education Program
  • Two volunteers of Wikimedia Serbia participated in the Wikicamp, which was organized in Mihajlovo, North Macedonia. In this way, Wikimedia Serbia wanted to contribute to regional initiatives and activities aimed at connecting young people and their mutual cooperation.
  • Education Program Manager of Wikimedia Serbia participated in the First International Congress "Wikimedia, Education and Digital Cultures" held at the National University of La Plata in Argentina. On this occasion, the professional WMRS training program for teachers, accredited by the Institute for the Improvement of Education and Training, was presented.
  • Cooperation has been agreed with three schools from Vranje on the accredited seminars, namely the schools "Vuk Karadžić", "Radoje Domanović" and "Branko Radičević".
GLAM Program
  • During the month of September, two Wikipedian in Residence programs were planned and prepared. The projects will take place in the National Museum of Kraljevo and the Association of Fine Artists of Serbia. The projects will last for two months, until the end of November.
  • Meetings were held with the Wikimedia Foundation regarding the improvement of the #1Lib1Ref Reference editing campaign. Wikimedia Serbia will be the coordinator of the campaign in 2024 as well.
  • Preparatory work was done for the Wiki Loves Living Cultural Heritage campaign. The campaign will take place from October 10 to 31.
Diversity Program
  • Wikimedia Serbia has opened a call for volunteer projects in the fields of education, cooperation with cultural institutions, increasing diversity, volunteering, activating Wikipedia's sister projects and achieving regional collaboration within Wikimedia's affiliations. The results will be announced in November.
  • A new organizational strategy was adopted. You can view the strategic focuses and goals here, and the strategic plan will be published soon.
  • On the occasion of Pride Week, Wikimedia Serbia, in cooperation with Belgrade Pride, organized the seventh edit-a-thon Wiki Loves Pride, which lasted from September 4 to 10. During this action, 8 editors created 29 articles on queer topics, while three articles were improved. Participants also contributed to Wikimedia Commons with 110 photos.
  • A local Wikipedia competition was organized in writing and improving articles on the topic of song selection. The competition started on September 11 and will last until October 10. Through this projevt, we want to convey the spirit of unity through music, and to enrich the content about singers, music scenes of countries, competitions, arenas and halls, and numerous other topics.
Wikimedians speaking Turkic languages met at Istanbul
By: Basak

Over 90 wikimedians from the CEE region met at Turkic Wikimedia Conference 2023 held in Istanbul between 20-23 October. The event was organized by Wikimedians of Turkic Languages User Group and brought together wikimedians using those languages and dialects: Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tuvan, Turkish, Turkmen, and Tatar languages.

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Turkic Wikimedians Conference was the second event organized by the user group in Istanbul after the Wikidata Trainings For Turkic Wikimedians event held in 2022. Unlike the 2022 event, this year’s event, rather than focusing on one Wikimedia project, covered presentations and workshops on Wikimedia projects in general. Still, there was a celebration for Wikidata Birthday coming on 29th October by a birthday cake (because Wikimedians never miss an opportunity to eat cake).

The program included 30 speakers from 9 countries presenting in one of three languages simultaneously translated to each others: Turkish, English, Russian. Some of the sessions involved talks around Wikipedia where participants discussed how to edit psychology articles better at Wikipedia, how to tackle falsehood at Wikipedia, how editing Wikipedia would be easier for the blind. Some sessions were about the ai; where participants learned basic ai literacy concepts, expressed their concerns and hopes related to ai in relation with Wikimedia projects or introduced with the Mozilla Common Voice project, which aims to democratize voice-AI. There were hands on sessions on Wikisource, Wikidata and Wikidata Lexeme projects; about cleaning messy data with OpenRefine tool and about creating a gazetteer by gathering geospatial and cultural data from OpenStreetMap (OSM), Wikipedia, SPARQL queries (Wikidata), and the Overpass API.

One unforgettable moment was when after Dick Osseman (User:Dosseman), a 74 years old Dutch photographer, made a talk about his experiences on photographing and documenting Türkiye in last 30 years, participants made a queue to thank him and taking a photo together because almost everyone contributing to Wikimedia projects on Türkiye related topics were benefited from his photo archive.

In the closing ceremony, the organizing team in Türkiye handed the user group flag to Azerbaijani delegates for holding the meeting in Baku in 2025.

Celebrating Wikipedia's 20th Birthday in Albanian Language
By: Vyolltsa, Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group

Celebrating Wikipedia's 20th Birthday and the Wikimedian in Residence Project at Qemal Baholli Public Library in Albania.

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With the support of the Qemal Baholli Public Library, Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group hosted an event that marked the 20th anniversary of Wikipedia in Albanian Language and the significant achievement of having a Wikimedian in Residence within the Public Library located in Elbasan, Albania.

This event highlighted the importance of free knowledge and the bridge between traditional and virtual communities through the world of the Wikimedia Projects.

It was a moment of reflection on the library’s commitment to encouraging open access to information and brought together a diverse group of participants from the library community and director, Ethnographic Museum of Elbasan, local government, high school principals, teachers, and students.

The event was honored by the presence of the Vice Mayor from the Elbasan Municipality, Vesa Liço. She highlighted the value of open source and access to knowledge of Wikimedia projects and the role of libraries in connecting traditional and virtual communities.

Everyone discussed their role in Wikimedia Projects so far. Teachers and students shared their experiences in contributing to Wikipedia. All the participants served as an inspiration for further collaboration and raised their awareness to support the Wikimedia projects. It was a momentum to emphasize the power of open knowledge and community engagement.

Here are some pictures from the event:

Social media
  • We have a public Telegram channel (language used mostly Albanian) if you want to join and discuss Wikimedia projects.

If you want to see more about our activities, you canː

Armenian Wikicamps’ comeback after three years
By: Mari Avetisyan

This summer after three years' break, young people had the chance to come together once again for the long-awaited Wikicamps organized by Wikimedia Armenia. The camps were for teenagers aged 13-18 and young individuals aged 19-35.

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After three years finally Wikicamp is here!

This was the first thing everyone kept saying to each other when meeting instead of “hi, hello” weeks and months before the first Summer Wikicamp. The Armenian wiki community, similar to others, had its ups and downs after COVID-19 pandemic and hardships that Armenia has faced since September 2020. Wikicamps have become a safe space, a beam of light for the teenagers and the youth of the Armenian wiki community where they share their thoughts and experiences, their joy and sorrow with their peers.

The First Summer Wikicamp was for teenagers aged 13-18. A lot of new faces and very few familiar ones. It turns out three years is a lot of time in a sense that new generations joined the movement. It was their first Wikicamp ever so it should become one of the best memories of their lives. Most of them were from different Wikiclubs that are operating in various regions of Armenia: one more proof that Wikiclubs do a great work in engaging young people in the movement. Seven days of Wikicamp passed like a second with a lot of editing, competing, sports, fun, cultural events, singing and dancing, learning and sharing, and making new friends. As always the Wikicamp ended with a traditional campfire, a lot of crying, already missing the camp and new friends and promising to continue contributing to Wikipedia in order to meet next year.

The Second Summer Wikicamp was a much more serious one because young professionals spent seven days writing articles on topics of their profession and interest - medical students, doctors, linguists, history students, etc. The most exciting fact here was that most of the participants were familiar faces. These are those kids who three years ago were participants of Wikicamps for teenagers who grew up and now are eligible for youth Wikicamps. It’s always inspiring to see new faces but it’s heartwarming when the kids grow up right before your eyes, continuing to be dedicated Wikipedians. Here are some thoughts Wikicamp participants shared with us after the camps:

“There is a lot to tell but you have to be a part of the process to completely understand it. The busy agenda gave us a lot of strength and energy instead of making us tired. The competitions allowed us to self-express and uncover new skills.”

“There is a lot to tell, I don’t know where to start. I’ll just say that everything was so right and ideal. There were many new faces, new people. Lots of respect to the organizers. It’s difficult to return after the camp.”

Due to the two summer Wikicamps, 881 articles were created (in total 14,039,784 bytes) and 210,000 bytes were added to Wikidata. Due to these camps some content gaps were filled greatly related to medicine, Armenian football and international cuisine.

Additional information: Wikicamp Facebook page, Wikimedia Armenia's Instagram page

Cyprus Forum: AI, Wikipedia, and the Future of Knowledge
By: Marios Magioladitis and Anna Prodromou

On September 30th, we had the privilege of participating in the Cyprus Forum, a three-day international conference that unites local and foreign political leaders, influential figures from both the public and private sectors, media professionals, academics, and civic society representatives. This event fosters dialogue, idea exchange, and the development of innovative solutions to key public policy issues.

full article...

During the forum, Wikimedia User Group Cyprus and Wikimedia User Group Greece hosted a fireside discussion titled "AI, Wikipedia, and the Future of Knowledge: Nurturing Transparency, Collaboration, and Accessibility." Speakers Marios Magioladites and Anna Prodromou delved into the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and the cooperative ethos of Wikipedia in molding the future landscape of knowledge. They examined the role of AI algorithms in information retrieval, underscoring the advantages and challenges associated with personalized content discovery. Furthermore, they highlighted Wikipedia as a trusted source of knowledge, emphasizing its commitment to accuracy and impartiality.

The discussion also touched upon the potential synergy between AI and Wikipedia, exploring possible collaborations, ethical considerations, and opportunities that could arise from such a partnership. The panelists shared a collective vision for a future where transparency, collaboration, and accessibility converge to cultivate a more informed and empowered society. In this endeavor, Wikimedia User Group Cyprus and Wikimedia User Group Greece proudly served as knowledge partners, contributing to the success of the fireside chat.

Meeting on media education and Wikimedia projects
By: Pavel Bednařík, Wikimedia Czech Republic
On Tuesday 26 September, a meeting of experts and library representatives took place under the title Media Education and Wikimedia Projects. The meeting was the culmination of a long-term effort to involve Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in media education, which has become a key theme for libraries for 2022-2024. All present were informed about the current design and possibilities of the Media Literacy portal and the Media Education project on Wikiversity.
Ukraine’s annual Wikiconference brings over 100 participants across three cities and online
By: Anton Protsiuk, Wikimedia Ukraine

In late September and early October, Wikimedia Ukraine held its 13th annual Wikiconference for the Ukrainian Wikimedia community. It has likely been the most-attended Wikiconference in our history, bringing over 100 unique participants across three locations and online.

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Because of the ongoing Russia’s war against Ukraine, we kept the pandemic-time tradition of holding the Wikiconference not as one standalone event but rather as several smaller meetups, both offline and online. (Bringing everyone under the same roof in one weekend is hardly possible because of security considerations and because many Ukrainians were forced to leave the country fleeing Russia’s invasion).

Wikiconference 2023 consisted of four meetups:

  • Online day — a one day fully online program on September 30th, which saw around 60 people joining on Zoom and YouTube. (Although offline events were also streamed to YouTube, we didn’t have the resources to make them truly hybrid, and thus we held a separate online day for virtual participants to feel fully included).
  • Two-day conference on Kyiv on October 7-8; 45 participants.
  • One-day conference and an additional wiki training in Komarno, a town close to Lviv in the west of Ukraine, on October 14-15; 34 participants.
  • One-day conference in Kharkiv, in Ukraine’s east, on October 15; 11 participants.

Overall, Wikiconference 2023 saw at least 102 participants – 80 people offline and at least 22 online-only participants (likely more, but we can’t track everyone who joined on YouTube).

The conference’s program focused on the topics relevant to the Ukrainian community right now (such as Wikipedia during the war or Wikipedia Education Program and other Wikimedia Ukraine’s projects) and on the future of the Wikimedia movement. For example, we had three sessions on AI on Wikipedia / in education, as well as discussed Wikifunctions, the newest Wikimedia project.

Having an online day enabled us to invite international speakers, including Wikimania 2024 Core Organizing Team project leader Maciej Nadzikiewicz, Wikimedia Foundation’s Lead Program Officer Asaf Bartov, and Wikimedia Poland’s Vice President Julia Maria Koszewska.

The conference has helped sparked many ideas (some of them are even documented onwiki) – now it’s time for the easy part of implementing them :)

By: Violetova

Three days camp for Wiki Club's members this year was named: Let's keep living heritage live! - to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Convention for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.

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Three days camp for Wiki Club's members this year was named: Let's keep living heritage live! - to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Convention for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. The Wiki Camp took place at the weekend September 22-24, 2023 in Mihajlovo, mountain resort for children, on Mount Kozhuv, near Kavadarci. The goal of Wiki Camp is to increase the articles and contents of Macedonian language Wikipedia on free topics about living heritage, improve the existing articles, as well as train unreliable editors.

This camp was the fifth camp for Wiki Club's members in Macedonia, and the first international camp, as we have participants from Serbia, and international speaker. Namely, the wiki-camp was welcomed by Susan Ones from Helsinki, initiator of the project Wiki Loves Living Heritage, Ivona Opetcheska Tatarchevska, senior associate for folklore goods at the Administration for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, and Snezhana Štrkovska, president of GLAM Macedonia.

The second day of the wiki-camp, on Saturday, was marked by two inspiring lectures: Lili Arsova from the Wiki Club Veles presented the activities on this topic in the previous period by the Veles Wikipedians. Ivona Opetcheska Tatarchevska, on the other hand, presented to the participants a wide range of information from this part of the cultural heritage, which will be a positive input in the upcoming enrichment of Wikipedia in the Macedonian language with articles on this topic.

Wiki Camp also had some interesting new content. For example, how to successfully attach a photo to your articles was taught by Igor Kuzmanovski, and Nikola Stojanoski, spoke to the participants about the secrets of administering Wikipedia. The Wiki Camp ended on Sunday, with a review of the written articles and the awarding of certificates to the participants and prizes for the most valuable five.

This is the fifth camp for Wiki Club's members, and the first of an international nature. So far, similar camps have been held in: 2017 in Berovo, 2018 in Dojran, 2019 in Veles, and in 2022 in Trnica.

You can see more photos of the Wiki Camp from Mihajlovo at the following category: Wiki Camp Mihajlovo 2023.

Wikipedia Summer Days in Estonia
By: Kruusamägi

Back in 2009, a bunch of Wikipedians in Estonia met in Viki village. And yes, that is an actual village in Estonia: we even have to name the corresponding village article "Viki küla" (Viki village), as "Viki" was already taken for the name of the software article. This was the humble beginning of Wikipedia Summer Days, a summer gathering, that has taken place each year ever since except for 2015 and 2020.

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Back in 2009, a bunch of Wikipedians in Estonia met in Viki village. And yes, that is an actual village in Estonia: we even have to name the corresponding village article "Viki küla" (Viki village), as "Viki" was already taken for the name of the software article. This was the humble beginning of Wikipedia Summer Days, a summer gathering, that has taken place each year ever since except for 2015 and 2020.

Sometimes we have some international visitors as well (like people from Latvia or Finland). Especially in 2019 when the number of foreign visitors almost exceeded Estonians.

This July it was the 13th time the event was held and quite fittingly it had 13 participants. It was a two-day event in Central Estonia and involved things like Wikimedia Eesti general meeting and announcing CEE Spring winners, but also the notorious sunrise photographic trip with Ivo, where hardly anyone ever participates, but which is nevertheless held in most years (and out of all people Ivo is for sure the least interested on waking up 4 AM).

Estonia is no exception to the general rule, that most countries have fairly few Wikipedians, out of whom even fewer show up at physical meetings. That also raises the question of how to go on with the summer gatherings. Should we aim for just small meetups or something significantly bigger? This could be an interesting question as well for all the Wikimanians on CEE countries. Why not visit Estonia in the summer and meet fellow Wikimedians there?

In 2024 the Finnish Wikipedians have also decided to join our summer days in mass. Why not welcome participants from CEE countries as well? We would also aim for proximity to the Wikimania conference in Poland so that it would make sense to reserve the summer vacation for the trip to Poland and the Baltics. Or consider arranging Wikipedia Summer Days in your own country?

Wikimedian in Residence Project in Albania
By: Vyolltsa, Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group

Three-months of Wikimedian in Residence at the Qemal Baholli Public Library

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Over 3 months Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group worked closely with the Wikimedian in Residence placed at the Qemal Baholli Public Library in Elbasan, Albania. From August to October 2023, this project had an impact in contributing to Wikimedia platforms, increasing community engagement, and empowering people within the library, including the library readers and workers.

Wikipedia article creation

When we first started developing this project, our User Group and the Wikimedian in Residence focused on enhancing the representation of culture, museum, history, and knowledge about Elbasan. The Wikimedian in Residence created a variety of new articles, that included diverse subjects, improved the library’s article on Wikipedia, enriched the online knowledge about important books produced by the library’s directors through years within the institution.

Multimedia enrichment on Commons

One of the central goals during this project was to upload pictures from the public library to represent the books that are written by librarians and focus on books that are found specifically in it. Our Wikimedian in Residence worked on adding photographs on Commons, giving exactly the insights into Elbasan area culture and heritage. The images help the community understand the values and history of this area.

Enriching Wikidata

The project extended its reach on Wikidata as well, adding items and pictures that connect to articles on Wikipedia.

Having a conversation with our Wikimedian in Residence, she came to the conclusion that she feels proud of the impact she made in this 3-month journey being a mediator between the Public Library and Wikimedia platforms. She says that this project has increased the representation of Elbasan knowledge online but has also strengthened the ties within the community. The Wikimedian in Residence feels very committed to becoming a space of learning and sharing on Wikipedia and other projects.

Statistics from our Wikimedian in Residence over the past 3 months.

  • 41 articles created on Wikipedia
  • 120 articles edited on Wikipedia
  • 36 uploads on Commons
  • 297 total revisions on Wikidata

Here are some of the uploads from our Wikimedian in Residence, Beneta Dhima, based in the Qemal Baholli Public Library, Elbasan, Albania. More will follow after we get the permission that we need to publish all the images.

Advocacy in Georgia Follows Estonian Inspiration

A new advocacy in effort in Georgia argues that Wikipedia could be mainstreamed into higher education, to engage and inspire students, and "bring more Wikipedia into Georgia, and more Georgia into Wikipedia".

Such an effort can be driven forward by engaged institutions and citizens, and does not have to wait for government support to make a difference. The suggestion draws on inspiration from Wikipedians in Estonia and the presentation they held at the CEE Wikimedia Meeting in Tbilisi in September 2024.

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Wikipedia arguably deserves a place in a country’s knowledge strategy: “more Wikipedia in Georgia, more Georgia is Wikipedia” is how a new advocacy effort in Georgia puts it. A key step for that is to mainstream the effort into higher education. In this Georgia could follow some great models. One such model was presented by Ivo Kruusamägi and Pille Priks at the CEE Wikimedia 2023 Meeting in Tbilisi, who have shown how Estonian universities mobilize students to contribute to Wikipedia.

Students who take a basic communication or knowledge translation module write an entry – to make more relevant knowledge available in Estonian. Especially for languages in which there is less scientific publishing, such practical contributions are also a way of getting people to write in their language at a high level. Some guidance and mentoring is needed for students, to ensure such a mainstreaming is a success. At the same time, Estonian numbers speak for themselves, with many hundreds of articles having been created through this effort.

For other countries, and especially Georgia? Arguably the time to start this effort is now – one does not need to wait for government or entire institutions to follow. Every contribution is a success in itself. That this new effort in Georgia came together like this illustrates why CEE Meetings are so useful – one can genuinely inspire each other, share ideas, and hopefully move things forward.

The new oped for the Georgian context is here. https://civil.ge/archives/564978