Wikimania 2020 bids/Armenia

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WIKIMANIA 2020 YEREVAN Creative education through Wikipedia
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, also known as the “Land of Churches,” is said to have over 4,000 monasteries and churches, which can be found all over the country. The Christian faith has shaped the Armenian culture so intimately that it permeates the very landscape of the country, with khachkars (cross stone carvings) strewn across even the most remote valleys, and ancient monasteries and churches nestled on the peaks of mountains surrounded by breathtaking nature. Armenia has the longest aerial tramway in the world. Armenia is the place where one can taste diverse, organic and delicious food. June 9, 1992 is the date on which Armenia became one of the member states of UNESCO. Presently there are three world heritage sites listed by UNESCO in Armenia, and each of Armenia's three UNESCO World Heritage sites hold significant religious and historical significance.

Why Armenia?

Goal[edit]

We have been building Wiki Community in Armenia since 2012. Every year more people are becoming aware of Armenian Wikipedia and our knowledge base is expanding with the growing community of contributors. 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 dissemination of Wikipedia and to attract more contributors. Shortly after organizing the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2016, 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. This in turn 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 Georgia, 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 - The Sports and Concert Complex after K. Demirchyan was opened in 1984 in Yerevan. Stairs along a cascade of fountains lead visitors to the Complex, reminiscent of the silhouette of a huge bird with open wings. The complex consists of two main halls; the Concerts hall and the Sports hall, in addition to the large foyer, Hayastan conference hall and Argishti hall designated for diplomatic meetings, exhibitions and other events. Its architectural concepts include a turning tribune of 1,008 seats, that can rapidly connect the two big halls to reveal additional seating, a concept for which the architects were awarded the USSR State Prize, the highest of its kind, in 1987.
  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]

Much more 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 subway, 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 are 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 prime tourist season in Armenia. We will also get accommodation discounts by booking in advance.

Catering[edit]

Yerevan has a number of catering companies that will accommodate all dietary requirements of participants.

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 (TXL) one flight per week Germania 3h45min 390
Moscow (DME) daily S7 Airlines 2h50min 160
Moscow (SVO) daily Nord Wind 2h50min 205
Paris four flights per week Air France 4h40min 560
Vienna daily Austrian Airlines 3h45min 380
Warsaw six flights per week LOT Polish Airlines 3h50min 210
Brussels once a week Brussels Airlines 3h40min 440
Athens two flights per week Aegean Airlines 3h10min 200
Kiev daily Ukraine International 3h10min 200
Moscow daily six flights per day Aeroflot 3h10min 153
Moscow daily two flights per day S7Airlines 2h55min 160
Minsk two flights per week Belavia Belarusian Airlines 2h45min 245
Doha daily Qatar Airways 3h00min 630
Dubai daily Fly Dubai 3h10min 300
Sharjah four flights per week Air Arabia 3h00min 300
Tehran six flights per week Mahan Air 1h 15min 230
Beirut four flights per week Mahan Air 1h15min 330
Damascus one flight per week Cham Wings Airlines 2h30min 280
Astana two flights per week SCAT airlines 3h10min 290
Krasnodar daily Ural airlines 1h40min 165
Sochi five flights per week Ural Airlines 1h15min 140
Rostov four flights per week Ural airlines 1h45min 165
St.Petersburg four flights per week Ural airlines 3h50min 295
Istanbul four flights per week Global atlas jet 2h30min 180
Tbilisi six flights per week Armenia Aircompany 0h30min 150
Tel Aviv two flights per week Armenia Aircompany 2h30min 210
Voronezh two flights per week Armenia Aircompany 2h10min 260
Mineralnie Vodi two flights per week Armenia Aircompany 0h55min 170
New York via Vienna, Paris, Kiev, Moscow, Warsaw, Dubai, Doha daily Ukraine International Airlines 15h20min 700
Washington via Vienna, Paris, Moscow, Doha, Dubai daily Qatar Airways 20h25min 900
Toronto via Vienna, Warsaw, Kiev daily Ukraine International Airlines 16h35min 870
Montreal via Athens, Paris, Moscow, Warsaw, Doha, Dubai daily Air France 14h19min 1100
Deli via Kiev, Moscow, Doha, Dubai daily Ukraine International Airlines 15h20min 530
Bangkok via Kiev, Moscow, Doha, Dubai, Sharjah daily Ukraine International Airlines 15h25min 540
Frankfurt via Kiev, Moscow, Paris, Vienna, Warsaw, Athens daily Ukraine International Airlines 5h45min 320
Munich via Kiev, Moscow, Paris, Vienna, Warsaw, Athens daily Ukraine International Airlines 7h05min 300

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.

Armenia and its neighbors[edit]

​Armenia, is a mountainous country in the South Caucasus, that lies at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. To the North the country neighbors with Georgia, to the North-East and the South-West with Azerbaijan, to the West with Turkey, and to the South with Iran. The longest length from the North-West to the South-East is 360 km, from the West to the East is 200 km. The location of Armenia is a reason for the unique landscapes and the development of unique culture and traditions throughout thousands of years. The country encompasses the best of Europe and Asia, combining the two into a mix of unforgettable experiences. Mountain valleys, extinct volcanoes and rapid rivers make for a magnificent scenery. It’s to no surprise that in Ancient Armenia people once worshipped the nature itself as the landscapes and the wildlife of Armenia are hard to forget.

Tourism in Armenia is thriving. The number of incoming tourist arrivals to Armenia in 2017 was 1,494,774 which represents 18.7% growth in comparison with 2016. Tourists from the EU countries constituted 19.7% (out of which the highest percentage of 4.3% was from Germany), visitors from the CIS countries constituted 27.2% (out of which the highest percentage of 23.4% were from Russsia) and visitors from other countries constituted 53.1% (out of which 18.5% were from Iran, 3.0% were from Georgia and 0.7% were from Turkey).

In Armenia, the service sector in 2017 increased volumes by 14.4% (USD 3 billion) against 7.1% growth a year ago. The top five in terms of services provided is the sphere of catering and tourism with annual growth of 19.4%.

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

  • GLAM International Meeting in Yerevan, 2018
  • "Wikipedia Education" collaborative meeting, 2017
  • Wikimedia CEE Meeting, 2016 (100 participants)
  • 20 WikiCamps since 2014 (approximately 70 participants per camp)
  • More than 32 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, 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 events[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. ​National Geographic included Yerevan in the list of “Six Unexpected Cities for the Food Lovers” mentioning the capital city as one of the best places in Asia with rich cuisine. 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. ​ Armenia, as one of the countries with an outstanding affiliation to the French culture, is hosting the XVII Summit of Francophonie on the 11th of October 2018. Summits have been held every two years since 1986, and Yerevan is the 17th in this order. As every year, influential heads of states will be gathering in the capital city of Armenia to discuss major topics on ways to promote the Francophone values such as education, peace, sustainable development, protection of human rights and more. Yerevan 2800 Francophonie Summit. The World Congress on Information Technology which is the largest and the most reputable international event among worldwide IT leaders is going to be hosted in Yerevan in 2019. It will bring together high level officials from different countries, heads of multinational organizations, universities and scientific research center, non-governmental organizations' representatives and many more. [1]

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.