Logo of Ma3bar
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ma3bar (معبر) is the Arab Support Center for Free and Open Source Software (المركز العربي لدعم البرمجيات الحرة والمفتوحة المصدر) initiated by UNESCO and UNDP-ICTDAR and hosted by The University of Balamand. The center’s main goals are to develop FOSS awareness and to encourage FOSS use and development in the Arab Region. The target groups for the Center are Universities, Research Centers and Governmental Institutions all over the Arab Region, as well as Arab FOSS communities and interested agencies.
Ma3bar is the Arab Support Center for Free and Open Source Software. Since its inception by UNDP-ICTDAR, UNESCO, and the University of Balamand, the center strives to disseminate free and open source software as a philosophy and culture in academia and Arab societies. Ma3bar is committed to contributing to social and economic development in the Arab region by promoting the use and development of free and open source software, and by developing and conducting training programs on such software, to ensure that more Arab communities have affordable access to information technologies.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations Development Program – Information and Communication Technology for Development in the Arab Region (UNDP–ICTDAR) have come together to initiate Ma3bar, the Arab Support Center for Free and Open Source Software. The objectives of Ma3bar are three-fold:
- Capacity building by providing the necessary training and assistance in developing the necessary skills and competences in the public and the private sectors, as well as in non-government organizations, and encouraging the inclusion of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) courses as part of the standard course offerings in universities as well as networking the various FOSS communities that exist in the Arab Region.
- Support the creation of applications (or toolkits) that will meet the needs of the local market and lead to the strengthening of local and regional expertise.
- Raise awareness at the government and business levels on the potential and viability of open source solutions and applications as solid alternatives to proprietary software.
The University of Balamand(UOB), with existing initiatives and active FOSS development, has joined the consortium as a first partner. UOB is proposing to participate actively by supporting and hosting the center. This effort is to be conducted in cooperation with a wider possible set of partners comprising other leading academic institutions throughout the Arab region.