29 Jun 2011
It is my greatest pleasure to join the Meedan team--again--as a Research Associate. I had the opportunity to work with Meedan briefly as a content producer in 2009. I had to stop as I was traveling to the US for study. Nevertheless I kept a close eye on Meedan’s progress over time, and I’m thrilled to be back on board.
A little bit about me: I’m a Syrian blogger, translator, and tech enthusiast. I’ve written about the Syrian blogosphere and online censorship for Global Voices Online. Also, I’m a Google Map Maker advocate. Yes, a significant amount of my free times goes to improving the maps of Syria and MENA region in general. I also occasionally write for an Android focused tech blog for Arab users: ardroid.com.
Meedan is important to me because it performs two crucial roles: creating Arabic content online, and bridging the gap between cultures. Meedan achieves this through projects and partnerships that focus on media, education, and intercultural and interfaith dialogue and understanding.
While the Arabic internet has been growing at an explosive rate, the growth has been largely in terms of numbers of users. Content. Not so much.
Meedan addresses that issue head on and has been generating quality content both in Arabic and English, as well as developing software, platforms, and translation memories. This facilitates the creation and sharing of quality content online with human augmented machine translation.
Thus, Meedan’s real potential and added value is creating a space for communication, interaction, and mutual learning for people that have no mutual language they can use to communicate.
Indeed, Meedan is creating a Lingua Franca of sorts. The implications on cultural bridging, education, and media are revolutionary. We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg at the moment.
As someone who fills their spare time translating Wikipedia articles, or localizing open-source software such as TOR, I can’t be more at home than with Meedan. I’m thankful to Ed Bice and the rest of the Meedan family for extending this opportunity to me, and again welcoming me as a member of the team.
I’ve already started contributing to a number of exciting projects Meedan is working on. Check back with us on the blog to be the first to know. Expect some groundbreaking news over the next two quarters.