Hello Wikimedia community members,
This is not an easy e-mail to write, and it’s been a very hard
decision to make. But I’m writing to tell you that I’m planning to
leave my position as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia
My departure isn’t imminent -- the Board and I anticipate it’ll take
at least six months to recruit my successor, and I’ll be fully engaged
as Executive Director all through the recruitment process and until we
have a new person in place. We’re expecting that’ll take about six
months or so, and so this note is not goodbye -- not yet.
Making the decision to leave hasn’t been easy, but it comes down to two things.
First, the movement and the Wikimedia Foundation are in a strong place
now. When I joined, the Foundation was tiny and not yet able to
reliably support the projects. Today it's healthy, thriving, and a
competent partner to the global network of Wikimedia volunteers. If
that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t feel okay to leave. In that sense, my
leaving is a vote of confidence in our Board and executive team and
staff --- I know they will ably steer the Foundation through the years
ahead, and I’m confident the Board will appoint a strong successor to
And I feel that although we’re in good shape, with a promising future,
the same isn’t true for the internet itself. (This is thing number
two.) Increasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the
internet’s developing, who’s influencing its development, and who is
not. Last year we at Wikimedia raised an alarm about SOPA/PIPA, and
now CISPA is back. Wikipedia has experienced censorship at the hands
of industry groups and governments, and we’re --increasingly, I
think-- seeing important decisions made by unaccountable
non-transparent corporate players, a shift from the open web to mobile
walled gardens, and a shift from the production-based internet to one
that’s consumption-based. There are many organizations and individuals
advocating for the public interest online -- what’s good for ordinary
people -- but other interests are more numerous and powerful than they
are. I want that to change. And that’s what I want to do next.
I’ve always aimed to make the biggest contribution I can to the
general public good. Today, this is pulling me towards a new and
different role, one very much aligned with Wikimedia values and
informed by my experiences here, and with the purpose of amplifying
the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet. I
don’t know exactly what this will look like -- I might write a book,
or start a non-profit, or work in partnership with something that
already exists. Either way, I feel strongly that this is what I need
I feel an increasing sense of urgency around this. That said, I also
feel a strong sense of responsibility (and love!) for the Wikimedia
movement, and so I’ve agreed with the Board that I’ll stay on as
Executive Director until we have my successor in place. That’ll take
some time -- likely, at least six months.
Until then, nothing changes. The Wikimedia Foundation has lots of work
to do, and you can expect me to focus fully on it until we have a new
Executive Director in place.
I have many people to thank, but I’m not going to do it now --
there’ll be time for that later. For now, I’ll just say I love working
with you all, I’m proud of everything the Wikimedia movement is
accomplishing, and I’m looking forward to our next six months
Jan-Bart’s going to write a note in a couple of minutes with
information about the transition process. We’ll be hosting office
hours this weekend as well, so anybody with questions can ask them
here or turn up to talk with us on IRC.
415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
The chapters report for Wikimedia Sverige January 2013 is now available at:
- *HIGHLIGHTS:* Establishing cooperation with the Swedish University of
Agriculture including the first ever employed Wikipedian in Academy.[Are
you sure? <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Are_you_sure%3F>]
- *WIKI-FOCUS:* Mostly Wikipedia through workshops and seminars but also
Commons in preparation for museum uploads.
- *GROWTH:* During January we have had 21 meetings with external
parties, reaching more than 50 professionals. This is through workshops in
GLAM and education mainly and most of them will lead to for further
CEO, Wikimedia Sverige <http://se.wikimedia.org/wiki/Huvudsida>
the new bulletin from Wikimedia Italia (#48) is available. We write
about Wikimedia Conference 2013, project "Authors in Wikipedia", and
some past and future events we attended to.
As usual a link has been added to meta, at
Wikimedia_chapters/Reports/Wikimedia_Italia ; more-or-less raw text of
* Wikimedia Conference 2013
Wikimedia Foundation gave Wikimedia Italia the grant which had been
requested as financial support for the hosting of Wikimedia
Conference, which will take place in Milan from April 18 to 21. The
conference will be attended by the Wikimedia Foundation board and a
delegation from each Wikimedia chapter and affiliate. The convention,
held annually, aims to introduce the various members themselves,
create collaborations and talk about the current situation.
* "Autori in Wikipedia" needs help
The competition "Autori in Wikipedia (Authors in Wikipedia)",
organized by Wikimedia Italia, AICA (Section of Milan) and Ellis
Network, rewards the best articles in Wikipedia written by students.
For the schoolyear 2012-2013 we have been joined by 16 teachers and 20
classes. The goal is to produce 130 items (original, translated or
improved). As with last year, the project needs the cooperation of
teachers and Wikipedians for the valuation of items, which is made
by a pair (teacher + Wikipedian) so that each one can rate the
articles according to their skills. We already had 13 teachers in the
jury, now we need Wikipedians! Would you help us? To apply, or have
further information, please write to Roberto Didoni at <rodidon at
Wikimania 2013 will be held in Hong Kong from 7 to 11 August 2013.
This year Wikimedia Italia will provide again eight scolarships to
allow broad participation. The Committee for the selection of fellows
will be composed of Cotton, Nemo, Triquetra, Ilario and Franciaio. The
call for participation will soon be published.
* Librarians and Wikipedians allied
During the 'annual Librarians' conference (Stelline Foundation in
Milan, 14 and 15 March 2013), some Wikipedians and librarians met to
discuss possible synergies. The theme of the conference was "LIBRARIES
IN SEARCH OF ALLIES. Beyond cooperation, towards new strategies for
sharing." There has been talk of possible integration with Wikipedia
to the new Thesaurus of the National Library of Florence and other
issues of common interest. Those who want to know more may participate
to the collaborative project of Wikipedia or subscribe to the mailing
* Next appointments
In the following days, Wikimedia Italia will be involved in various
appointments. Take a note, there could be one near you!
Thursday, March 21 the meeting "Open Access, il sapere libero"
(Open Access, the free knowledge) will be held at the Scuola Normale
Superiore of Pisa (Sala Azzurra - Palazzo della Carovana, h 16.00).
Andrea Zanni (Aubrey), board member and manager of Wikimedia Italia
projects, will attend.
Thursday, March 21 will be held the meeting "Wik-OPD-edia? Il
senso della presenza delle istituzioni culturali pubbliche nel Web
2.0" (The sense of the presence of public cultural institutions in Web
2.0), at the Salone del restauro in Ferrara (h 15.30 - 16.30, Room C,
first floor, between the pav. 5 and 6). Frieda Brioschi (Chairman of
Saturday, March 23, Urban Center in Bologna will host the event
"Marilyn, Rita, Caterina: Wikipedia and women", by "Girl Geek Dinners
Bologna" and Wikimedia Italia. Among the speakers Frieda Brioschi
(Chairman of Wikimedia Italia), Emma Tracanella (Project Manager of
Wiki Loves Monuments Italia) and Ginevra Sanvitale. It is strongly
recommended the registration to the event.
* News from Wiki world
Markus Glaser of Wikimedia Deutschland has been elected president
of the Wikimedia Chapters Association. The other candidates were
:it:Utente:Laurentius|Laurentius]] of Wikimedia Italia and Kirill
Lokshin of Wikimedia DC.
WikiAfrica Space has been inaugurated last 15 March, at Doual'art,
center for contemporary art based in Douala, Cameroon. Computers
connected to the Internet via a broadband connection, along with the
help of volunteer experts from Wikipedia, allow anyone who wishes to
contribute to Wikipedia. WikiAfrica Cameroon project was made by
Fondazione Lettera 27 and Africa Centre, led by Doual’art and Orange
Wikimedia Foundation General Counsel Geoff Brigham has written a new
blog post on the Wikimedia Blog that examines several points from the
recent Wikimedia UK governance review, which he argues are useful for
all Wikimedia movement groups and individuals.
The recent UK report and movement governance
Posted by Geoff Brigham on March 19th, 2013
As part of the Wikimedia movement, there are entities such as
chapters, the Wikimedia Foundation, thematic organizations, and user
groups, established to support our shared global mission of freely
sharing educational content. With the growth of these organizations
comes a need for “good governance” — a recognition that movement
entities are stewards for our contributors, donors and developers, who
generously donate their time, expertise and money to promote the
Wikimedia movement. Our organizations are called upon to use resources
efficiently and carry out official positions for the benefit of the
community. When they do not, they hurt the trust of the movement.
Last month, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK announced the
release of the final report and recommendations regarding the
governance of Wikimedia UK. The review was conducted by Compass
Partnership, a noted management consultant company with particular
expertise in evaluating nonprofit organizations. Although the report
includes highly specific recommendations to be implemented by
Wikimedia UK, as a whole, it suggests several foundational themes that
may be broadly applicable to all movement organizations. Each of us
(including myself) who holds positions entrusted by our community may
benefit from the learnings of the report. The following ones are worth
consideration by all of us in Wikimedia organizations.
▪ Maintain Respect and Professionalism. According to the UK report,
strong and effective relationships are an essential ingredient of any
movement involving multiple organizations in dispersed territories and
cultures. To foster effective relations among Wikimedia groups, the
report recommends that communications within the movement be
respectful and professional. It also suggests that this tone should be
set and modeled by those in entrusted positions in the movement – such
as trustees, executives and employees. We need not avoid controversy
and disagreement, but respectful and professional behavior benefits
the community as a whole. It ensures we are talking about and solving
issues that benefit the community in a constructive, objective and
▪ Keep Roles Within the Movement Separate from Your Personal
Interests. The report suggests that, to best serve the movement,
community members should keep their Wikimedia organizational roles
separate from their own personal interests. For example, a trustee
should never use that position within the movement to advance their
own financial interest. Similarly, when individuals within the
movement are acting in their personal capacity, for their own benefit,
they should not rely on their Wikimedia title or office in any way,
and they should be clear about it.
▪ Be Transparent With Regard to Conflicts of Interest and Cooperate in
Resolving Them. As many of you may know, the WMF Board is currently
considering the proposed “Guidelines on the Disclosure of Potential
and Actual Conflicts of Interest in Requesting Movement Resources,”
which were developed through a six-week consultation period with the
community. The guidelines encourage community members to disclose
actively their potential conflicts of interest when requesting
Wikimedia resources, and also provide guidance regarding (1) what
circumstances may constitute a conflict of interest, and (2) when to
disclose such circumstances to the appropriate decision-maker within
the movement. The community’s efforts to improve the handling of
conflicts of interest are recognized in the UK report. The report
specifically discusses these guidelines and highlights their value in
providing a framework for the disclosure of potential conflicts of
interest so that they may be fully evaluated and managed.
The UK report explains that, in a charitable organization, the highest
standards should be followed in managing conflicts. If an employee,
officer or trustee of a movement entity believes there is any
possibility that they present a potential or actual conflict of
interest, this should be raised immediately with the appropriate
decision-maker. Furthermore, the employee, officer, or trustee should
be forthcoming and transparent with regard to all relevant facts, so
the appropriate decision-maker may fully assess the potential
▪ Go Beyond the Minimum Requirements of Law. Finally, the report
recognizes that the demands and values of the worldwide Wikimedia
movement call for us all to hold ourselves to the highest standard,
going beyond the basic legal requirements.The WMF Board encouraged as
much in its Resolution on Organizational Best Practices, suggesting
that “every organization in our movement must go beyond local
regulatory requirements and adopt our movement’s unique principles and
best practices around governance, transparency, and accountability.”
In the words of the Board, movement resources should be used “to
achieve the highest possible impact in the pursuit of our vision.”
By considering these principles as they may apply to us individually,
or the particular Wikimedia entities that we serve, we all have the
opportunity to embrace our values while supporting a Wikimedia
movement that mandates the highest of standards. As I believe we all
agree, our community deserves nothing less.
Geoff Brigham, General Counsel, Wikimedia Foundation
1. For Compass Partnership’s specific recommendations on respectful
and professional communication, see Recommendation 4.4, paragraph 43;
Recommendation 4.5, introductory paragraph; and Recommendation 4.5,
paragraph 46 of the final report.
2. For Compass Partnership’s specific recommendations on separating
one’s Wikimedia position from one’s personal interests, see
Recommendation 4.4, paragraphs 27, 30, and 41 of the final report.
3. For Compass Partnership’s specific recommendations on transparency
and the management of conflicts of interest, see Recommendation 4.4,,
paragraphs 26, 27, and 29; and Recommendation 4.5, paragraph 48 of the
4. For Compass Partnership’s specific recommendations on going beyond
the minimum requirements of law, see the Introduction of the final
(This release can also be found online at
''Axiata partners with the Wikimedia Foundation to offer free mobile
Wikipedia access through Wikipedia Zero''
San Francisco, California and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- March 18, 2013
-- Axiata Group Berhad and the Wikimedia Foundation today announced a
partnership to offer Wikipedia on mobile devices free of data charges
to Axiata customers throughout Asia. By making Wikipedia available at
no data charge to its customers, Axiata is removing barriers to
information while joining the Wikimedia Foundation to increase access
to the free and open knowledge available on Wikipedia.
This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's Wikipedia Zero
program, which focuses on reaching the billions of people around the
world whose primary opportunity to access the internet is via a mobile
device. The partnership currently includes customers of Axiata
subsidiaries in Sri Lanka (Dialog Axiata), Cambodia (Smart Axiata),
Malaysia (Celcom Axiata), Indonesia (XL Axiata), and Bangladesh (Robi
“We applaud Axiata for joining us in removing a major barrier to
accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. This partnership is an important
step forward in our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access
free knowledge,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile with the
Wikimedia Foundation. “With Axiata, one of the largest Asian
telecommunication providers, we’re now able to expand free access to
Wikipedia in more countries. With this partnership, Wikipedia Zero is
now available to 410 million mobile users around the world.”
Mohd Khairil Abdullah, Group Chief Marketing and Operations Officer of
Axiata said, “We are excited about this partnership with the Wikimedia
Foundation. Axiata’s extensive coverage across the region makes this
partnership one of the largest provisions of free mobile access to
Wikipedia to date. We hope that by offering this service for free we
will be enriching the lives of our customers, especially ones with
little or no fixed internet access.”
This partnership is part of Axiata’s broad vision of advancing Asia
through affordable connectivity and innovative technology. Education
is a pillar for Axiata’s business operations and social development
commitment. Through the years, Axiata has established local education
programmes in all its operating countries to help development in rural
Customers in each territory will be able to access local language
versions of Wikipedia along with the English version.
The program will be rolled out to Axiata’s operations throughout 2013.
Questions and answers about the partnership and Wikipedia Zero can be found at:
Axiata is one of the largest Asian telecommunication companies. Axiata
has controlling interests in mobile operators in Malaysia, Indonesia,
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia with significant strategic stakes
in India and Singapore. India represents one of the fastest growing
markets in the world. In addition, the Malaysian-grown holding company
has a stake in mobile telecommunication operations in Thailand.
The Group’s mobile subsidiaries and associates operate under the brand
name ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka,
‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia, ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in
The Group, including its subsidiaries and associates, has over 215
million mobile subscribers in Asia. The Group revenue for 2012 was
USD5.7 billion. The Group provides employment to over 20,000 people
across Asia. Axiata’s vision is to be a regional champion by 2015 by
piecing together the best throughout the region in connectivity,
technology and talent, uniting them towards a single goal: Advancing
Axiata was awarded the Frost & Sullivan 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012
Asia Pacific ICT Award for Best Telecom Group and the Telecom Asia
Best Regional Mobile Group 2010 and 2011 for its operations in
multiple Asian markets.
Axiata Press Contact:
About Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
receive more than 488 million unique visitors per month, making them
the fifth-most popular web property worldwide (comScore, January
2013). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 25
million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
primarily through donations and grants.
Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact:
Senior Director, Communications
+1 415-839-6885 x 6609
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The February activity report by Wikimedia Nederland is now available on
It is also included as text below.
WMNL February report
· The closing conference of the EU-funded CoSyne
project in which WMNL was a partner took place in Amsterdam on February 1.
WMNL Board Member Frans Grijzenhout presented the results of the testing
carried out by WMNL volunteers. CoSyne produced a tool for the
synchronisation and translation of wiki-pages.
· A team of enthousiastic volunteers and staff are
making good progress in preparing for the International Hackathon 2013,
which will take place in Amsterdam, May 23 - 26. For the first time,
participants will be able to stay overnight at the venue where they will be
working during the day.
· Further steps were made towards integrating the
Dictionary of Hebrew and Jiddish words in use in the Dutch language into
Wiktionary. This dictionary was compiled by the Foundation Sofeer, who
want to make their work permanently available to a larger audience.
· On February 15. Wikimedia volunteers went on a
photo-excursion to the city of Arnhem to gather images of war-monuments.
This is part of a wider discussion between WMNL and the Netherlands
National Committee 4 and 5 May (responsible for official commemoration of
World War II) about cooperation.
· WMNL staff and board members are working with the
international coordination group of Wiki Loves Monuments to ensure funding
for activities in 2013.
Board and Staff
· Sebastiaan ter Burg started work as GLAM
project-coordinator on February 15
· Via the WMNL newsletter and other media a call went
out for candidate Board Members.
· A new issue of the WMNL Newsletter was published
· Work is in progress on redesigning the WMNL website
· Research bureau Motivaction carried out surveys among
WMNL members and Dutch Wikipedia editors to assess to what extent they are
aware of the work done by WMNL, their expectations/ideas concerning future
activities, and their motivation to contribute to Wikimedia projects. At
the same time a survey was done among a general public focusgroup to assess
whether they know and use Wikipedia, their potential willingness to
contribute and their insight into the way Wikipedia is maintained and
funded. Results will be available mid March.
· WMNL Director Sandra Rientjes and GLAM coordinator
Sebastiaan ter Burg met with staff of the European Centre for Nature
Conservation (Tilburg, the Netherlands) to discuss how they could
contribute images concerning biodiversity and protected areas to Wikimedia
Commons and how they could encourage their constituency to become active as
· Board Member Sandra Fauconnier and director Sandra
Rientjes had a meeting with the Director of the Netherlands National
Archives to discuss the possibility of a Wikipedian in Residence, and other
forms of cooperation.
· The Algemene Ledenvergadering (General Assembly) of
WMNL will take place on Saturday, March 23. On the agenda will be the
annual report and accounts 2012, as well as the election of Board Members
· Workshops on including recorded sound in Wikimedia
Commons and Wikipedia - March 30 & April 20
· European Fashion Editathon. May 13.
Directeur/Executive Director Wikimedia Nederland
tel. (+31) (0)6 31786379
*Postadres*: * Bezoekadres:*
Postbus 167 Mariaplaats 3
3500 AD Utrecht Utrecht