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ArabHCI: Five Years and Counting

By Shaimaa Lazem, Mennatallah Saleh, Ebtisam Alabdulqader

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 64 No. 4, Pages 69-71

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ArabHCI is an initiative that started in 2016 to promote Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research and education in Arab countries, and to build a community of Arab and non-Arab researchers interested in the Arab context (https://arabhci.org). Notably, the inception team consisted of all Arab female researchers.

The Arab world consists of 22 countries across Asia and Africa and is considered one of the world's most strategic territories to host renowned political events such as the Arab Spring and the refugee crisis; all of which featured unique appropriations of existing social media technologies. The initiation of ArabHCI was largely motivated by concerns about how Arab users have been sometimes misrepresented in global HCI research that focused on these events. The diversity and cultural richness of the region were not fully communicated to Western technology makers. Therefore, our research agenda was set to increase the visibility of local HCI researchers' perspectives and expertise and to explore the methodological means by which the authentic voices of Arab users could be included in the technology design processes.2


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