06 November 2014
The national campaign - One Armenian, One Article - aims to raise the number and quality of articles in the Armenian language and promote the culture, an ad on EU Armenia TV says.
It could even be competing with Georgia and Azerbaijan in the Wikipedia stakes.
It seems Armenian Wikipedia is outstripping its neighbours in page numbers - with more than 390,000 now.
Reporting the number of Wikipedia articles has been on the agenda of Armenian TV and news agencies since the campaign began in March, and it's been noted there are around 102,000 Wikipedia pages in Azerbaijan and almost 84,000 in Georgia. . . .
What started as a YouTube clip has a new lease of life running on satellite TV to Armenians across the world. The Armenian diaspora - thought to number some eight million people - far outnumbers the country's resident population of about 3 million.
High profile artists, musicians and politicians are getting in on the act too. Education minister Armen Ashotyan says in the clip: "One Armenian, one article - I will definitely do that and believe you will too."
Meanwhile, Defence Minister, Seyran Ohanyan, says he's already added an article about the Armenian army. Articles by celebrities and ordinary citizens are equally valued, the ad says, and a young person is even shown writing an article about radishes.
There’s more to Armenia than cognac, carpets and its most famous daughter, Kim Kardashian.
To remind the world of this, Armenians across the globe are being asked to write at least one Wikipedia article each to try and promote the country’s language and culture.
A national campaign entitled One Armenian, One Article, is being fronted by government ministers, musicians and journalists, and encourages Armenians to each write at least one entry for the online encyclopaedia to “enrich it” with more information on the country, and the things that matter most to its people.
In a video being broadcast on Armenian television, Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan says he has contributed an article about the country’s military, and encourages all citizens to take part, whether they have specialist knowledge or not.
“One Armenian, one article - I will definitely do that and believe you will too,” Armen Ashotyan, the country’s education minister, says in an online clip.
The campaign began with a YouTube video, but is now being promoted to worldwide audiences on Armenian satellite TV channels , according to the BBC. Armenia’s population numbers around three million, but more than eight million Armenians live outside the country, across the world.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Misak Ohanian of the London-based Centre for Armenian Information and Advice (CAIA) said. “If it can help increase the profile of Armenian language and culture then I say why not.”
The Armenian language Wikipedia launched in 2003, but didn’t start developing in earnest until a few years later. As of 2013, it had around 90,000 articles, according to its entry on the English-language version of the online encyclopaedia.
However, it may be difficult for Armenians living abroad to take part in the scheme to boost this number, because many are no longer able to read or write in either the eastern dialect (most commonly used in Armenia) or the western dialect, which is recognised by Unesco as an endangered language.
Ohanian estimates that of the 20,000 Armenians living in London, around 40% can speak either language, and only 10% can read and write in them.
“Armenians are a diaspora nation,” said Lucine Shahbazian, 30, who is involved in health outreach and advice programmes for Armenians in the capital. “We are great at assimilating with our host nations – which is a good thing – but it also means that stuff like language tends to get a bit lost.”
“The reasons why Armenians are so spread out around the world are often traumatic; my grandparents came here to escape the [Armenian] genocide,” she told the Guardian. “So I think it’s important to help people connect, and something like [the Wikipedia entries] are useful to boost identity and culture.”