A good news for the open source scene. Two great events are running -or going to run- this month in the Arab region. The first one it’s called the iFoss09 and it’s currently going on in Damascus, Syria at the SCS Center, Tishreen Park in Omaween Square. The programme is rich in events and as far as I know this is the first time that such topics are debated for the entire week and in such an institutional place. There is a growing interest in Syria for the open source related topics and a very active community made up of very young people that have a great enthusiasm over those issues. Ziad Maraqa, Creative Commons’ lead in Jordan, talked yesterday about the latest developments of CC in the Arab region, mentioning also the recent launch of the Al Jazeera Creative Commons repository which is generating lots of interesting debates all across the web. Watch out the Computer Science in Syria’s website http://www.csc-sy.net for future developments of this very interesting syrian techy community.
As for neighbouring Lebanon, Beirut is going to host Open Sesame, the first ever Arab barcamp on feb. 28th (the place is still in discussion but most probably will the very cool Rootspace of Dave Munir Nabti). Lots of interesting topics have been proposed like the “arabization of the web”, which is a core issue to be debated in the Arab world. The critical mass of Arabic content on the web is still very underdeveloped if you think about the great potential reach of the Arabic language (spoken by more than 300 millions people) and of a population which is made up mostly by youngsters. This young energy has to be “exploited” by the Arab people and it has to be turned in content creation and innovation over the Internet.
The Arab region has been -and, unfortunately, it is still- covered mostly in terms of conflicts, wars, violence, while there is much more going on. We have to encourage and support such events and all the energy coming out from them if we really want to change the Arab world and its bad -and wrong- image in front of the rest of the world.
Please, do join the organisation of the Open Sesame Barcamp, do propose topics and do come to Beirut on the 28th of feb. It will be a lot of fun and a lot of interesting issues will be debated by a young and vibrant Arab community.