Wikimania 2020 bids/Armenia

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WIKIMANIA 2020 YEREVAN


Mount Ararat and the Yerevan skyline.jpg
City proposed: Yerevan, Armenia.
Proposed dates: July 26-30, 2020, August 7-11.
Pre-conference July 26 - 27, 2020, August 7-8, 2020
Conference July 28-30, 2020, August 9-11, 2020
Number of participants: Up to 1 000 participants.
Contact person: Susanna Mkrtchyan

Armenia is located in Southwestern Asia and is a destination where you will be intrigued by history, awed by monuments, amazed by the landscape and charmed by local people. Armenia is the country of old legends and Biblical stories. To visit Armenia is to travel back in history and feel the spirit of more than 41 centuries, experience first hand the “country sheltered by Biblical Ararat”, home of Noah’s Ark. Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century) and has dozens of ancient monasteries and temples. Armenian Alphabet was developed in 405 AD, which enabled translation of famous scientific and literature pieces into Armenian thus making the available knowledge of that time accessible to Armenians. Biblical Ararat mount is visible from almost every corner of Yerevan which makes the landmark really amazing and leaves tourists breathless. Armenia has the longest ropeway and a zip-line in the world. Armenia is the place where one can taste diverse, organic and delicious food.

Why Armenia?

Goal[edit]

We have been building Wiki Community in Armenia since 2012. Every year more people are becoming aware of Armenian Wikipedia, our community is growing and is becoming knowledge based. We are now in a rising stage. It is imperative for us to organize a larger event to attract wider audience in order to achieve maximum impact on Wikipedia dissemination and attract more contributors. Shortly after organizing a CEE Meeting, we have received wider outreach and publicity. Wikimania conference will be a huge step forward in bringing a wider audience to Wiki movement in Armenia and will attract more attention from various stakeholders.

We will involve Armenian youngsters from the very first stages of event preparation and their engagement will help us spread the word easily and promote volunteer work in Armenia. In addition to this Wikimania in Armenia will host more wikipedians from neighboring Iran, Turkey, Georgia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).

Venue[edit]

All venues proposed below are located in capital city of Yerevan and will be provided for free. Here is the list of possible venues presented by order of preference. All of them are located approximately 12-15 km from Zvartnots airport.

Proposed venues:

  1. American University of Armenia - AUA has 2 auditoria of 1,300 seats and 90 seats, 15 classrooms ranging in size from 20-60 places, and modern computer labs for 25-40 people. AUA venues are equipped with LCD projectors, laptops, and screens. Large Auditorium and Small Auditorium are equipped with simultaneous translation system. A large cafeteria operates in the building which provides lunch and catering services. The Papazian Library is the only university library in Armenia that is open to the public, has open stacks, has a rich collection of books and periodicals in English with a foundation of American academic literature. Maximum distance from hotels is 2 km.
  2. Karen Demirchyan Complex - Demirchyan Arena, Sports and Music Complex is a huge sports and concert complex located on Tsitsernakaberd hill which dominates over the western parts of Yerevan, near the Hrazdan River gorge. The complex has a unique design and is located approximately 4km from Yerevan downtown and main hotels. The complex consists of two big halls that can host more than 1000 participants: Hayastan conference hall is primarily designated for political summits and Argishti hall usually hosts diplomatic meetings.
  3. Yerevan Cascade & Yerevan Matenadaran -

The Cafesjian Center for the Arts is dedicated to bringing the best of contemporary art to Armenia and presenting the best of Armenian culture to the world. Artistic environment, beautiful setting, panoramic view of the city, location at a major landmark of Yerevan, the Cascade Complex - all this makes the Cafesjian Center for the Arts an unrivaled venue for any kind of event. The Center has a special events auditorium and several halls inside. The opening ceremony can be done on the upper level of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, overlooking the city of Yerevan. Alternatively it can be done outside as well. Nearby cafes can be used for catering. The Cafesian Center for the Arts is located within walking distance from major hotels.

The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts commonly referred to as the Matenadaran is a repository of ancient manuscripts, research institute and a museum in Yerevan, Armenia. It holds one of the world's richest depositories of medieval manuscripts and books which span a broad range of subjects, including theology, philosophy, history, medicine, literature, art history, and cosmography in Armenian and many other languages. Matenadaran has a large auditorium which is used for special events and conferences.

Conference venues listed above will be able to accommodate up to 1,400 participants. All conference venues mentioned above will be provided free of charge. These venues have flexible meeting spaces that can accommodate multiple tracks for five days

Internet[edit]

Armenia has a very good network infrastructure and various internet providers. There are three mobile phone operators currently in Armenia: Viva Cell MTS, Ucom and Beeline. All three offer both 2G and 3G as well as 4G services. All three networks are widely modern and reliable with shops located in major towns and cities where one can purchase a sim card or get assistance if needed. Most unlocked mobile phones are able to be used on roaming however network charges apply. Ucom and Viva Cell MTS are often recommended to tourists due to the variety of tariffs available and the help available in a variety of languages.

Lodging[edit]

The complete information on Yerevan can be found on WikiVoyage page.

Republic square, Yerevan

Main hotels and hostels are located in downtown Yerevan which is approximately 12 km from the Zvartnots International Airport. We will transfer our participants from the airport to hotels as it was done during the CEE 2016 event with the support of our volunteers. Two of our proposed venues are located in the city center which will allow participants to walk around, use the underground, public transport or taxis (cost of 1-4 km ride is 600 AMD = 1.5 USD) to reach the venue from their respective hotels. We can also arrange buses to transfer participants from hotels to the conference venue. Hotel prices vary between USD 40-90; hostels between USD 10-15 per night. We were advised by companies hosting large events in summer to book lodging at least one year in advance to secure accommodation as summer is a hot tourist season in Armenia. Also, we will get accommodation discounts by booking in advance.

Catering[edit]

Yerevan has a number of catering companies that will accommodate all dietary requirements of participants (e.g., vegetarian, gluten-free).

Transportation[edit]

Zvartnots International airport
Famous Armenian painter Minas Avetisyan "Spinning Needles" painting at the Airport

Traveling to Armenia has never been easier, with Armenia's 'open sky' immigration policy, internal passport for Russian citizens, visa agreements for the citizens of Iran, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Japan and free Schengen agreement short stay visas for the citizens of more than 50 European and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. There are now 34 direct flights to Armenia from cities in Europe, the Middle East, Gulf States and Russia, bringing in 1.5 million people through Armenia's two major airports in 2017. Several charter flights to Greece, Montenegro, Cyprus, Italy (Venice and Rimini), Spain (Barcelona), Bulgaria (Varna and Burgas) and Egypt are operating in summer as well. The Government of Armenia is currently in negotiation process with several new Air Companies, which will definitely increase the geography of destinations by 2020 and lower the ticket prices.

Destination Frequency of flights per week Airlines Flight duration Round trip ticket price in EUR
Berlin 1 time Germania 4h25min 390
Moscow (VKO) every day S7 Airlines 2h55min 160
Moscow (SVO) every day Nord Wind 3h05min 205
Paris 4 times Air France 5h10min 560
Vienna every day Austrian Airlines 3h45min 380
Warsaw 6 times LOT Polish Airlines 3h50min 210
Brussels 1 times Brussels Airlines 3h40min 440
Athens 2 times Aegean Airlines 3h10min 200
Kiev every day Ukraine International 3h10min 200
Moscow every day 6 flights a day Aeroflot 3h10min 153
Moscow every day 2 flights a day S7Airlines 2h55min 160
Minsk 2 times Belavia Belarusian Airlines 3h10min 245
Doha every day Qatar Airways 3h00min 630
Dubai every day Fly Dubai 3h10min 300
Sharjah 4 times Air Arabia 3h00min 300
Tehran 6times Mahan Air 1h 15min 230
Beirut 4 times Mahan Air 1h15min 330
Damascus 1time Cham Wings Airlines 2h30min 280
Astana 2times SCAT airlines 3h10min
Krasnodar every day Ural airlines 1h40min 165
Sochi 5times Ural Airlines 1h15min 140
Rostov 4 times Ural airlines 1h45min 165
St.Petersburg 4 times Ural airlines 3h50min 295
Istanbul 4 times Global atlas jet 2h30min 180
Tbilisi 6 times Armenia Aircompany 0h30min 150
Tel Aviv 2 times Armenia Aircompany 2h30min 210
Voronezh 2 times Armenia Aircompany 2h10min 260
Mineralnie Vodi 2 times Armenia Aircompany 0h55min

Participants will arrive to Yerevan Zvartnots International Airport which is located approximately 12 km from Downtown and all the main hotels. Wikimedia Armenia will arrange participants transfer from airport to hotels although Airport shuttle and taxis are also available.

Dates[edit]

July or August would be the best months for Wikimania (except during the dates of the Golden Apricot Film festival which will take place from 7-14 July, 2019). The weather will be very pleasant and the fresh produce in abundance. Armenia is very famous for its delicious fruits and Yerevan's colorful markets attract many tourists. Proposed dates are: July 26-30 or August 7-11, 2019.

Team[edit]

We have more than 700 Wikicamp alumni, who are in touch with different projects editors, mentors, coordinators, camp leaders, 13 Wiki Clubs leaders and around 300 clubs participants. Our camp leader is a board member of the Volunteers bank Youth NGO (http://volunteers.am/) which voluntarily provides organizational support to large scale events in the country.

Previous experience

  • "Wikipedia Education" collaborative meeting 2017
  • Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2016 (100 participants)
  • 16 WikiCamps since 2014 (approximately 70 participants per camp)
  • More than 25 Wiki Loves Science events (more than 30 participants per event)
  • 3 Wiki conferences (approximately 200 participants per event)
  • 3 Wiki Loves Monuments events in six different regions of Armenia (approximately 150 participants per event)
  • Wikimedia 2030 Strategy Armenian forum hosted in August 2017 (approximately 100 participants)

Visa[edit]

Armenia has a visa-free system with almost half the globe! It is a simplified process for visitors from over 90 countries.Please see below the most updated information on visas for foreign nationals. You can see the list of countries citizens of which can obtain visa only upon invitation from an organization in Armenia, e.g Wikimedia Armenia (most African countries except for South Africa).

If your citizenship is included in the following list, you are exempt from obtaining a visa.​

Republic of Austria, Principality of Andorra, Commonwealth of Australia, Kingdom of Belgium, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of Estonia, Republic of Finland, Republic of France, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Greece Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Republic of Latvia, The Principality of Liechtenstein, Republic of Lithuania, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Republic of Malta, Principality of Monaco, Montenegro, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Kingdom of Norway, Republic of Poland, Republic of Portugal, State of Qatar, Republic of Romania, Republic of San Marino, Republic of Singapore, Slovak Republic, Republic of Slovenia, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdom of Sweden, Swiss Confederation, Vatican City State, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.

Even if your country is not listed above, obtaining a visa at the airport is simple. A visitor visa is issued for a variety of purposes, including tourism, business, medical and short-term stays. It can be for single entry or multiple entries, and a typical short-term stay visa, for up to 21 days, only costs 3,000 AMD (approximately USD 7).

You should check with your embassy and consulate, or embassy of Armenia in your country, if you are from one of the following countries, citizens and holders of travel documents can apply for a visitor visa only at the diplomatic or consular posts of the Republic of Armenia abroad, by invitation only.

​You should check with your embassy and consulate, or embassy of Armenia in your country, if you are from one of the following countries, citizens and holders of travel documents can apply for a visitor visa only at the diplomatic or consular posts of the Republic of Armenia abroad, by invitation only.

​Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros Islands, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'lvoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Rwanda, Saint Helen's Island, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Yemen.


Visa policy of Armenia

Security and safety[edit]

Armenia is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world for solo travelers as well as for families. Low crime level and the hospitality of the locals allow tourists to enjoy their time here without any fear for their safety. The streets are always full of families, couples and tourists no matter what the time is. If you wish to go for a walk during late hours and find yourself hesitating, just don’t - the nightlife in Yerevan is really active and entertaining. Most of Armenians and foreign guests prefer to go out once the sun is down, especially during summer months. Thus, cafes and parks are filled with people wishing to try out the delicious Armenian cuisine or simply have a nice talk with their friends over a cup of coffee.

Let us remind you that Armenia is listed among the safest countries for Americans to travel to by the U.S State Department system. The system is divided into 4 levels, out of which the 4th stands for “do not travel.” Armenia is labeled as a level 1 country which stands for “exercise normal precautions,” while the neighboring countries received only level 2 or 3.

Meeting places, cuisine and social life[edit]

Wikimedia Armenia office within walking distance to city center and is in close proximity to many hotels. It has enlarged its premises and now boasts a very modern office occupying 500 sqm. This space will be used for organizational committee work, as well as for organizing various social events.

Yerevan is vibrant with restaurants and cafes of all cuisines. Whether you just want a quick coffee or a long luxurious meal, there's the right place for every situation. In the summertime, the streets are lined with outdoor cafes and restaurants. The outdoor cafes in Opera are known for their relaxed vibes where you can sit for hours drinking coffee, ordering food and smoking hookah. There are also many restaurants for fast food when you are on the go. These spots can be just as delicious and satisfying. When you get tired of Armenian food, there are plenty of other cuisines for you to choose from. There is everything from Japanese, German, Italian, Chinese, to Indian. When traveling outside of Yerevan into the small towns and villages, there are homey and quaint restaurants waiting to welcome you. Whether you are sightseeing around one of the ancient monasteries or enjoying a relaxing day near a resort location, there are plenty of local spots to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the local cuisine and hospitality. Over the past year tourism officials furthermore launched a new marketing campaign with a dynamic new website (Armenia.travel), an active social media presence, and attended several travel expos inviting more than 100 international journalists and bloggers from 15 countries to visit. Armenia was the focus of more than one hundred articles in the past year, and was featured prominently in a dozen movies and TV episodes, including renowned chef and best-selling author Anthony Bourdain’s popular television show CNN Parts Unknown and an in-depth photo tour in National Geographic Russia.

Support[edit]

There are several organizations that Wikimedia Armenia collaborates with and has preliminary agreements for supporting Wikimania in Armenia: Armenian_General_Benevolent_Union, IDeA Foundation, Gulbenkian Foundation (already sponsors WM AM ), Tumo Centre of Creative Technologies (WM AM Board member is also the head of Tumo Centre) and the Yerevan city mayor. We have good connections with the Ministry of Education, The National Academy of Science, American University of Armenia and various NGOs. We can create Wikimania coordination council.