Welcome back from Wikimania 2019!
- Option 3: New Creation: What was one useful outcome that was created at the event for the Wikimedia movement?
It's hard to judge which creations have already hapepend due to the conference in so short a timeframe, as I do (at this point) work for the most part on long-term projects that take months to plan and launch. As is the usual case for me, though, I have spent a lesser part of my Wikimania attending sessions and a significantly larger part in meetings, discussions, brainstorming and exploring future collaborations with fellow Wikimedians.
At Wikimania 2019, I was the organizer of a meetup for Arab Wikimedians in day 5 of the conference, in which important updates and collaborations were announced, such as WikiArabia 2019 conference in Morocco, Project GLOW partnership in the Arab regionn and WikiArabia committee, the latter being a new entity that will represent Arabic-speaking user groups all together (a projec that I had been leading for over six months). The meeting was the only means by which Arab Wikimedians were able to formally discuss serious issues, and has helped lead to the recognition and creation of a committee that has been announced officially in October 2019 during WikiArabia closing.
I have also devoted a major part of one of the conference days to attend meeting and discussions related to Project GLOW, a major partnership between Wikimedia and Google. These meetings helped discuss and support the progress in Project Al-Ma'refa (the Arabic-speaking region's version of GLOW) which I have been leading since May 2019 and have sucessfully managed to form a volunteer team of over ten people to oversee the project, convene meeting and start a hiring process.
Lastly, the conference was a great platform, as always, to provide follow up and upates on what projects are already taking place. Attending sessions on WikiData and GLAM collaborations and talking to speakers, I received new motivated to continue forward with a Jordanian Heritage GLAM project that I have started almost a year ago, and that is leading (in the upcoming weeks) to the upload of data, pictures and articles to 130 archaeological sites in Jordan in close collaboration with many important institutions. Such amazing projects, with the countless meeting hours, emails, phone calls and struggle they require, have a renewed energy when visiting great Wikimedia events where hundreds of people are making the same massive effort to dissimenate free knowledge.
People are the essential part of Wikimania for me. Honeslty, I would rather trade all the sessions, workshops and activities for a good Wikimedia talk. Not all connections are straight serious, many of them are aquintances and friendships that exist for their own sake. I do belive, though, that I was able to make a fair amount of Wikimedia-relevant conversations and connections this year.
Given that it's my fifth Wikimania, I already knew a large number of attendees. Of these, the most motivating conversations where those with people from my region and with whom (naturally) there's the biggest room for collaboration. Anass Sidarti, a dear friend from Morccoo and inspite of his massive responsibilities at the conference (as a volunteer lead), engaged with me in lengthy conversations about the Arabic language Project GLOW, from which a hiring process emerged, as well as about the intended WikiArabia committee, for which he agreed to allocate an announcement in WikiAraia 2019's closing.
I have also managed to meet quite a few people whom I haven't met before. I stopped by the Digital Security booth, where I had half an hour chat with two amazing people that taught me how to better keep my data within Wikimedia sites and far beyond, I met at least a dozen new people in the Strategy Space and got better acquainted with the amazing work they are doing, and I learned a lot more about Wikimedia emerging Wikimedia communities from my new friend Nodir.
Though technically outside the limits of Wikimania, one of my best people-related moments happened as I strangly came across a Wikimedian in a hostel room where I was staying the day after the conference (August 19th) to explore Stockholm. Vira, in the course of our shared accommodation, turned out to be one of the best tutors I have met, educating me in half a dozen Wikimedia tools and interface features within an hour or two of chatter. I was lucky to gain both a valuable knowledge and a great friendship!