Mozilla Arabic Meetup – Amman

It’s not everyday that you have to wait 2 weeks to be able to gather all updates after a meetup, due to their volume…

Two weeks ago, I was more than lucky to be able to join Arabic Community for their first Inter-Community Meetup. The hosting community was Mozilla Jordan and we were happy to have Majda and Moncef from Algeria, Melek and Sahar from Tunisia, Haitham Sinar and Ahmed from Egypt, Firas and Hatem from Palestine.

Arriving on Thursday, it was pretty obvious that this was going to be a fantastic meetup. The hosts have done excellent job on arranging travels, accommodation and meeting place. Thanks Rami, Rami, and Jordanian team! (Issa, Addy, Abdulrahman e.a). By Friday everyone has arrived and the advantage of no-language barrier (everyone was speaking Arabic) was quickly noticeable. Socializing between the team and sharing best practices started even before the official start of the event.

The First day (after a long breakfast with Egyptian team raiding the place) we focused on presenting the teams and making sure that everyone knows each other. We were lucky enough and more than happy to have Mitchell Baker with us (Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation), who was touring Middle East visiting the local communities.

Eman from Mozilla Jordan

Eman from Mozilla Jordan

After a long reality check session, were we identified Pros, Cons and Ideas for the Community we broke for lunch, and returned having a session on grouping and discussing about individual items that were raised in Reality Check. As night approached, everyone was so engaged in discussions around Mozilla’s presence in Arabic region, that we almost forgot the Amman-by-night walk we have arranged.

Amman is a city of 7 hills, inhabited by several civilizations over the past several thousand years. The multicultural spirit can be seen all around this wonderful city, and was the perfect setting for a Mozilla Arabic meetup!

Second day started with a goal setting session, and task management over specific goals. Cool ideas were examined and are on track :) (Country wide tours, parallel events within Arab region, common portal expansion and aggregation of Arabic content). Also we did a series of mini presentations about Mozilla projects (REMO, AMO, SUMO etc)

Haitham, Soliman and Mitchell

Haitham, Soliman and Mitchell

As promised Sunday afternoon, we had a much-needed hands-on hacking session, were we examined specific projects of Mozilla and ways to contribute on them. Bugzilla introduction, Firefox hacking and add-ons 101 were in the schedule and unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to expand on other aspects of Mozilla. Next time more hacking time! (promise!)

Sunday night was the time for out public event. We arrived in the university right on time (speeding through Amman’s heavy traffic) and although the attendance was not as high as expected, the viewers of the live stream picked at 400 people J Egyptian and Tunisian team did their magic, using social media channels and the event was covered fantastically. Mitchell gave a talk on Mozilla in general, Ahmed fascinated us about Arabic Fonts and Content and their challenges on the web and Melek with Majda gave an excellent introduction to the Open Web in Arabic :) (and partially French)

Firas, Sahar, Melek and Hatem in the public Event

Firas, Sahar, Melek and Hatem in the public Event

The impact of the event was huge. Here are some of the posts about the event and some quotes from social media:

Interviews were recoreded during the project (courtesy of Egyptian team):

Interview with Mitchell Baker, also interviews with Issa Mahasna, Rami Khader, Melek Jebnoun and myslef
More pictures from the event can be found in Ahmed’s Flickr Set
and in uStream you can find recorded the Public Event

Finally you can find all the notes, goals, minutes of the meeting in this Etherpad

Huge thanks to all the arabic team that made this event possible! Exciting times ahead of us :)

Until next time : Halas and Masalam!

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