at the Chapters Conference in Berlin we briefly introduced our idea for a
very special global initiative called "Wikipedia for World Heritage!".
Feedback was great and now we would love to discuss ideas with you. The
initiative is designed as an international project. Your opinions and
participation are most welcome!
But first, what is this all about? We are convinced that Wikipedia is
predestined to become the first ever digital UNESCO World Heritage Site. The
free encyclopedia should be recognized as what it really is: a pioneering
project of the digital age. It has carried the ancient idea of common and
free knowledge over into the third millenium.
So, is this a birthday present? It is, since Wikipedia is celebrating its
tenth anniversary this year. At the same time, it is much more than that.
The tenth anniversary is a perfect opportunity to look back at what tens of
thousands of volunteers have achieved in so little time. Wikipedia is
unprecendented in the history of mankind's endeavours to preserve and
disseminate knowledge. To quote from the first of UNESCO's ten criteria for
World Heritage sites: It represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.
Our major goals focus on public debate and on increasing awareness of what
Wikipedia means to the global society. Millions of people around the world
take Wikipedia for granted, as a convenient source of information. We know
that it is incredibly more than that. Wikipedia is by far the most
successful ambassador of the free knowledge concept. It provides free access
to knowledge. It enables cooperation beyond national and cultural barriers.
It is there for anybody to benefit from. And finally, Wikipedia is waiting
to be improved. Anyone can help and participate. "Wikipedia for World
Heritage!" could be a unique possibility to bring all this into the public
spotlight, because it honestly isn't there yet. There are many means to
achieve this. One of our first that we are currently preparing is to
convince as many people as possible to sign a petition of support. We have
established a project page on our Wikimedia Germany website. There is a
language version in both
German <http://www.wikimedia.de/wiki/Weltkulturerbe>. Furthermore, we will
open the petition (in German and English) next week.
Additionally, we hope to establish an international landing page, where
chapters can share information. We don't have decided on an URL yet.
Suggestions anyone? Please feel free to brainstorm and discuss some catchy
(and available) ideas!
There is so much information to share with you. Take this as a first "hello"
and feel invited to comment, criticize and help pushing this initiative
further! We are in touch with experts on the UNESCO's World Heritage
program, and they tell us that we can do it. If the Wikimedia chapters
jointly create public awareness of the amazing achievements of free
knowledge, chances are good.
We already had the first (positive) press
coverage<http://www.wikimedia.de/wiki/Presse>in Germany and today we
had an interview with New York Times (article will
be published -maybe- in about 1-2 weeks).
Last but not least I would like to take the opportunity to introduce
Sebastian Sooth our new project manager (for this and other community
projects). Sebastian <sebastian.sooth(a)wikimedia.de>, me and my
PR-assistantMichael<michael.jahn(a)wikimedia.de>will be responsible for
this project, please don't hesitate to contact us
directly or on this list.