This press release is also available online here:
*Wikimedia community in Iraq partners with Asiacell to bring Wikipedia to
nearly 12 million subscribers free of mobile data charges*
*Mobile data fees waived for Asiacell customers in Iraq to access
Wikipedia, a free collection of knowledge available in nearly 300 languages*
(Barcelona, Spain) February 28th, 2017 -- Today, Wikimedia community
members in Iraq, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Asiacell, one of Iraq’s
largest mobile operators, announced a new partnership to provide access to
Wikipedia free of mobile data charges to Asiacell’s nearly 12 million
subscribers in Iraq. The partnership was announced today at a press event
hosted by Ooredoo during Mobile World Congress 2017.
The partnership, developed in large part by Iraqi volunteer editor and
Asiacell employee, Sarmad Saeed Yaseen, marks the first Wikipedia Zero
program in Iraq. The program, overseen by the nonprofit Wikimedia
Foundation, addresses one of the greatest barriers to internet access
globally: affordability. In a recent phone survey in Iraq led by the
Wikimedia Foundation, roughly 80% of surveyed participants reported that
mobile data costs limited their use of the internet. About 33% of
participants also reported rarely or never being able to find online
content in their preferred language.
Through the Wikipedia Zero
<https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero> program, mobile data
fees are waived for subscribers of participating mobile operators so that
they may read and edit Wikipedia without using any of their mobile data.
Sarmad, who is part of a community of local volunteer Wikipedia editors in
Iraq, started the partnership to extend access to knowledge in his home
country of Iraq. Together, he and his wife, Ravan Jaafar Altaie, have been
active editors (or Wikipedians) since 2008.
“I've always believed that it is better to light a candle than curse the
darkness, so I decided to volunteer in Wikipedia to provide knowledge for
free to my people in their own language,” said Sarmad Saeed Yaseen. “When I
was first introduced to Wikipedia Zero, I felt right away that this could
be the best thing ever to share free knowledge in my country and encourage
the people of Iraq to contribute knowledge and share this with the world on
Wikipedia is an online collection of knowledge written by volunteer editors
from every corner of the globe. Available in nearly 300 languages,
Wikipedia is a place to learn about virtually any topic -- from ancient
history to science to the arts -- in your local language, for free, and
without advertising. Wikipedia editors use reliable sources to support
information that is included in Wikipedia articles, so readers can explore
the sources that verify the facts. Wikipedia is completely non-profit,
independent, and maintained by everyday people around the world.
Wikipedia in Iraq is supported by a local community of volunteer editors in
almost every major city of the country. In 2015, Sarmad and Ravan organized
the first series of workshops in Erbil to teach Iraqi people how to edit
Wikipedia. The workshops led to 600 new articles and more than 12,000 edits
primarily to Arabic and Kurdish Wikipedia. In October 2015, this community
launched the first formalized Wikimedia group from Iraq, the Iraqi
Wikimedians user group <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_Wikimedians>
(a formalized Wikimedia affiliate group that has been recognized by the
global Wikimedia community of editors). Today, the majority of unique
device visits to Wikipedia in Iraq come from mobile devices.
Worldwide, Wikipedia is recognized as an important learning resource, but
it also offers a platform to share knowledge with the world. Edits from any
country contribute to the world’s common knowledge repository, seen by
hundreds of millions of people every month. This allows many to learn from
what just a few people might otherwise know. As more voices contribute to
Wikipedia, it becomes a better representation of the diverse cultures,
history, people, viewpoints, and perspectives of our world.
“Asiacell believes that sharing knowledge is a way to enforce the
interaction among human beings. We strongly believe in contributing in the
global project of Wikipedia. Beside all the modern technologies that we
offer, this partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation is one of the
achievements that we are proud of. We will enable our 12 million subscriber
base to have free access to Wikipedia, this will enable them to widen the
scale of their knowledge and thus direct them towards a brighter future for
themselves and for humanity,” said Zring Faruk, Chief Commercial Officer at
With this partnership, Asiacell customers will be able to edit Wikipedia
without mobile data charges -- adding to and improving articles in their
preferred language and sharing knowledge of Iraq’s rich cultural history,
heritage, and its people with the rest of the world.
“Wikipedia is guided by a powerful vision: that every single person should
be able to share in all of the world’s knowledge, for free and without
restriction,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia
Foundation. “Sarmad, Ravan, and the Iraqi Wikimedians User Group have been
passionate advocates of this vision in Iraq. They've nurtured the growth of
Arabic and Kurdish Wikipedia for nearly a decade, and have built a vibrant
community committed to sharing knowledge of Iraq and its heritage, people,
and culture with the world. We are thrilled to have Asiacell join us as a
partner in this journey.”
The Wikipedia Zero program is overseen by the Wikimedia Foundation, the
nonprofit that supports Wikipedia and a number of other Wikimedia free
knowledge websites. Since the program first began in 2012, Wikipedia Zero
partnerships have taken place with 68 mobile operators in 52 countries.
*# # #*
Asiacell is a leading provider of quality mobile telecommunications and
data services in Iraq with a subscriber base of nearly 12 million customers
as of December 1st 2016. Asiacell was the first mobile telecommunications
provider in Iraq to achieve nationwide coverage, offering its services
across all of Iraq’s 19 governorates including the national capital Baghdad
and all other major Iraqi cities. Asiacell’s network covers 99.06% of the
Iraqi population which makes its national coverage the widest among the
mobile operators in Iraq.
Wikipedia is the world’s free knowledge resource. It is a collaborative
creation that has been added to and edited by millions of people from
around the globe since it was created in 2001: anyone can edit it, at any
time. Wikipedia is offered in hundreds of languages containing more than 40
million articles. Wikipedia and its sister projects are collectively
visited by more than a billion unique devices each month.
*About the Wikimedia Foundation*
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports and
operates Wikipedia and its sister projects. More than a billion unique
devices access the Wikimedia sites each month. Roughly 70,000 people edit
Wikipedia and its sister projects every month, collectively creating and
improving its more than 40 million articles across hundreds of languages –
this all makes Wikipedia one of the most popular web properties in the
world. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is a
501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.
149 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
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REMINDER: This meeting starts in 30 minutes.
On Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 4:23 PM, Lena Traer <ltraer(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> The next Wikimedia Foundation metrics and activities meeting will take
> place on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7:00 PM UTC (11 AM PST). The IRC
> channel is #wikimedia-office on irc.freenode.net, and the meeting will be
> broadcast as a live YouTube stream.
> The theme of the February meeting is: “the future of open” – looking into
> the future of free and open knowledge in the world and the role our
> movement plays in a free and open internet.
> Meeting agenda:
> * Welcomes, theme introduction
> * Movement update
> * The Met Museum - Open Access policy
> * Wikimedia Foundation values
> * Movement strategy update
> * Questions and discussion
> Please review
> for further information about the meeting and how to participate.
> We’ll post the video recording publicly after the meeting.
> Thank you,
> Lena Traer
> Project Assistant // Communications // Advancement
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 149 New Montgomery Street
> San Francisco, CA 94105
The next Wikimedia Foundation metrics and activities meeting will take
place on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7:00 PM UTC (11 AM PST). The IRC
channel is #wikimedia-office on irc.freenode.net, and the meeting will be
broadcast as a live YouTube stream.
The theme of the February meeting is: “the future of open” – looking into
the future of free and open knowledge in the world and the role our
movement plays in a free and open internet.
* Welcomes, theme introduction
* Movement update
* The Met Museum - Open Access policy
* Wikimedia Foundation values
* Movement strategy update
* Questions and discussion
for further information about the meeting and how to participate.
We’ll post the video recording publicly after the meeting.
Project Assistant // Communications // Advancement
149 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Note: Apologies for cross-posting and sending in English. Message is available for translation on Meta-Wiki.
The Wikimedia movement is beginning a movement-wide strategy discussion, a process which will run throughout 2017. For 15 years, Wikimedians have worked together to build the largest free knowledge resource in human history. During this time, we've grown from a small group of editors to a diverse network of editors, developers, affiliates, readers, donors, and partners. Today, we are more than a group of websites. We are a movement rooted in values and a powerful vision: all knowledge for all people. As a movement, we have an opportunity to decide where we go from here.
This movement strategy discussion will focus on the future of our movement: where we want to go together, and what we want to achieve. We hope to design an inclusive process that makes space for everyone: editors, community leaders, affiliates, developers, readers, donors, technology platforms, institutional partners, and people we have yet to reach. There will be multiple ways to participate including on-wiki, in private spaces, and in-person meetings. You are warmly invited to join and make your voice heard.
The immediate goal is to have a strategic direction by Wikimania 2017 to help frame a discussion on how we work together toward that strategic direction.
Regular updates are being sent to the Wikimedia-l mailing list, and posted on Meta-Wiki. Beginning with this message, monthly reviews of these updates will be sent to this list as well.
Here is a review of the updates that have been sent so far:
Update 1 on Wikimedia movement strategy process (15 December 2016)
- Introduction to process and information about budget spending resolution to support it
Update 2 on Wikimedia movement strategy process (23 December 2016)
- Start of search for Lead Architect for movement strategy process
Update 3 on Wikimedia movement strategy process (8 January 2017)
- Plans for strategy sessions at upcoming Wikimedia Conference 2017
Update 4 on Wikimedia movement strategy process (11 January 2017)
- Introduction of williamsworks
Update 5 on Wikimedia movement strategy process (2 February 2017)
- The core movement strategy team, team tracks being developed, introduction of the Community Process Steering Committee, discussions at WikiIndaba conference 2017 and the Wikimedia movement affiliates executive directors gathering in Switzerland
Update 6 on Wikimedia movement strategy process (10 February 2017)
- Tracks A & B process prototypes and providing feedback, updates on development of all four Tracks
Sign up to receive future announcements and monthly highlights of strategy updates on your user talk page: https://meta.wikimedia.org/?curid=10153505
More information about the movement strategy is available on the Meta-Wiki 2017 Wikimedia movement strategy portal.
A version of this message is available for translation on Meta-Wiki.
List moderators may request that their mailing list not receive future updates by contacting Gregory Varnum (gvarnum(a)wikimedia.org).
The Wikimedia Foundation StandingElections Committee is, from today
until February 17, seeking additional members to help facilitate
Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustee and Funds Dissemination Committee
elections. This is a volunteer role and the appointment is for two
years. Please note that, while you are a member of the Committee, you
will not be able to run for any election overseen by the Committee –
this includes the upcoming 2017 Board and FDC elections and any other
election where the committee had already begun formal preparation before
your departure. You will also be restricted in your ability to publicly
advocate for community members running in those elections.
The Elections Committee has the following duties, as defined by a July
2015 Board Resolution
The Committee shall recommend the dates, rules, and regulation of
the voting procedures for approval by the Board of Trustees pursuant
to Article IV, Section 3(C) in the Foundation Bylaws
The Committee shall recommend who is qualified to vote for the Board
of Trustees pursuant to Article IV, Section 3(C) in the Wikimedia
Foundation Bylaws <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Bylaws>.
The Committee shall be responsible for preparing recommendations for
the dates, rules and regulation of the voting procedures for the
Funds Dissemination Committee
and the Funds Dissemination Committee Ombudsperson, consistent with
the charter of the Funds Dissemination Committee.
To the extent possible, the Committee shall consult with the wider
Wikimedia community in developing and revising election procedures
within the scope of this charter.
The Committee shall be a source of information to any member of the
Wikimedia community interested in the community selection processes
of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Under the direction of the Board Governance Committee, the Committee
shall take actions as necessary to execute the selection process for
the Board of Trustees, the Funds Dissemination Committee, and the
Funds Dissemination Committee Ombudsperson.
As needed, the Committee may assist with other duties as may be
assigned by the Board or the Board Governance Committee.
In practice, a member's duties involve communicating with the global
committee who help to steward Board and FDC Elections. During an
election period – one of which is over the next three to four months –
this will be especially important as you help to run the upcoming
elections for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and the Funds
Dissemination Committee. During this period, members of the Elections
Committee meet for semi-regular meetings to discuss the current election.
However, this appointment is not just for election periods. Outside of
the election season you will lead community discussions on election
process and advise the Board of Trustees Governance Committee
requested, such as in their search for appointed board members. The
expected time commitment can range from around 10 hours a week during an
election to one or two hours outside of the election period.
If you'd like to apply please send an email to
A brief summary of your Wikimedia related experience and any other
experience you think may be useful along with;
Why you're interested in the role and a quick statement saying you
understand the requirements.
Given the private information that committee members handle, candidates
must be 18 years of age or older, and be willing to sign the
confidentiality agreement for nonpublic information
they haven't already. You can view information on how to sign this on
As much as possible we want the committee to represent the diversity of
the Wikimedia movement so if you're interested please apply! If you know
of others, not on this list, who may want to apply please feel free to
On behalf of the Elections Committee
Any views or opinions presented in this e-mail are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of any organisation the author is associated with or employed by.
Experience is a good school but the fees are high.
- Heinrich Heine
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