I want to introduce Anasuya Sengupta as the new Director, Global Learning
and Grantmaking at the Wikimedia Foundation. She will be starting on
Monday, July 2. In this role, Anasuya will lead our work in support of the
Funds Dissemination Committee, work with Asaf Bartov on grant-making and
with Jessie Wild in helping us to plan, monitor, evaluate and learn from
our programmatic work in a new team area, Global Learning and Evaluation
that Jessie will be leading (more soon on this). She will also serve as a
close thought-partner for me and the rest of the GD team in the leadership
of our work.
I am thrilled that Anasuya is joining us. She brings a deep passion for
social justice and an understanding of the power of free knowledge as an
enabler of opportunity for everyone. She will help us hold to our
commitments to increase the diversity of our community and has great
experience working collaboratively to change communities for the better.
She is also a really interesting person who I think we will all enjoy being
around and learning from.
Below is an introduction that Anasuya prepared.
For those of you who will be at Wikimania, I know Anasuya is excited to
meet with all of you there.
Please join me in welcoming Anasuya to our team.
*Life will be measured *
*by notability test?*
*My secrets are mine!* ;-)
...but until we meet in person:
I am an activist turned grant-maker, who has worked nationally, regionally,
and internationally, to build and strengthen multi-generational feminist
leadership and networks, and to amplify voices from the margins – whether
across gender, sexuality, class, caste, race, age, geography or language. I
grew up in north Karnataka (southern India), and returned to work in this
part of the world after my undergraduate degree in Economics, as a
Programme Officer at Samuha, a rural development organisation. I took its
lessons with me into an M.Phil. in Development Studies at Oxford, where I
studied as a Rhodes Scholar. I led a UNICEF initiative with the Karnataka
police from 2001-2007, designing and implementing a state wide system of
response to issues of violence against women and children. Over the same
period, I served as Associate and researcher with Gender at Work, an
international knowledge network for gender equality. I co-edited and wrote
for the Association of Women's Rights in Development (AWID)
Our Dreams: global feminist voices for a new generation* (AWID and Zed
Books, 2006), arguably the first international anthology of young feminist
analyses and experience. I have founded campaigns, and been involved with
national and international networks against religious and cultural
fundamentalisms, and for sexual and reproductive rights and women's health.
In 2007, I moved from Bangalore to Berkeley, as a Visiting Scholar at UC
Berkeley and the Managing Trustee of a small Stanford-based family
foundation funding in South India. Over the past three years, I have been
Regional Program Director for Asia and Oceania at the Global Fund for
Women, one of the world's largest grant-making organisations exclusively
for women's human rights. In this capacity, I have overseen over 300 grants
to women-led organisations in the region – from Afghanistan to Kiribati -
and helped develop a framework for evaluating and learning our impact on
organisational growth and movement sustainability. My interest in the
politics of technology has been from the point of view of a women’s rights
activist, academic, and grant-maker. With Bangalore as home, surrounded by
friends and family who are progressive technologists, I started questioning
the politics of the software and hardware that is ubiquitous in our lives –
and ended up using Ubuntu Linux on my laptop. However, the Free/Libre and
Open Source Movement is not simply about technologies; at its heart is the
feminist principle that governs my politics: if knowledge is power, then
the empowerment of the marginalised is through a democratisation of
knowledge, and the equality of the future is through a deconstruction of
the privileging powers of access, voice, representation and participation.
I am passionate about poetry (a haiku a day keeps my blues away), theatre,
and music, and challenge myself with yoga. I tend to stick with my
post-colonial British form of spelling and punctuation ('s' over 'z' and
nuanced use of the Oxford comma) unless explicitly asked not to do so.
Chief Global Development Officer
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