[Foundation-l] Announcing Hisham Mundol as WMF consultant for National Programs, India

Barry Newstead bnewstead at wikimedia.org
Tue Feb 15 17:12:41 UTC 2011

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Hisham Mundol as a consultant to
the Wikimedia Foundation to support us in our program initiatives in India.

As you know, the Wikimedia Foundation declared India to be a strategic
priority during the strategic planning process [1]. I announced our plans
for the formation of an office in August 2010 and the Wikimedia Foundation
Board of Trustees approved the creation of the Wikimedia India chapter in
June 2010. India is a priority for the Wikimedia movement as it has a strong
and growing community of Wikimedians building the Indic and English language
projects. It is a country where the Wikimedia movement can achieve our
mission and learn important lessons for achieving impact elsewhere. The
engagement of Hisham will enable the Wikimedia Foundation to pilot new
initiatives aimed at accelerating the growth of the community in India. I am
very happy we’ve now reached this point.

As I have mentioned in the past, we have a lot of momentum in India but we
have a long way to go to achieve our full potential as a movement.  Indians
represent 4% of the world’s Internet users today (and this share is
growing), yet they only represent 1.5% of page edits on Wikipedia. We should
be able to rapidly increase this share - across all projects - and expand
readership in a corresponding fashion.

Hisham’s title will be Consultant, India National Programs.  He will report
to me.  His role will be to design and implement specific pilot programs
that encourage many more Indians to become contributors to our projects in
Indic languages as well as English. The National Programs initiative will
focus on the following areas in the first year:


   Design and implement an India-wide program to increase Wikimedia’s
   footprint on university and college campuses with students and faculty with
   the aim of encouraging contributions to Wikimedia projects

   Support the launch and implementation of community-initiated programs
   that seek to increase the editor base for Wikimedia projects

   Engage with the community and chapter to build a strong relationship
   among these stakeholder groups and create communications forums that allow
   for effective partnerships

As a newcomer to the Wikimedia movement, Hisham’s first task will be to
deepen his understanding of us: our history, goals, values, culture and
mission. To that end, he will be spending the coming weeks (not months!) in
learning mode: Hisham and I will be meeting with community members in
Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore on Feb 23-25 and then Hisham will join community
meetings across the country as they occur. Hisham will also spend time in
San Francisco with the staff of the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as with
other like-minded individuals and organizations and he will attend the
chapter conference in Berlin.

Hisham will be creating a workspace on strategy wiki where he will share
what he is learning and develop the core elements of the action plan going
forward. We encourage active community engagement on this wiki. We aim to
move to action quickly and welcome input and guidance from across the

Hisham was most recently a consultant with the Public Health Foundation of
India (in a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). He
designed and implemented large-scale national  programs on HIV/AIDS
prevention. He worked to understand the dynamics of hard-to-reach
communities by conducting in-depth, on-the-ground analysis (ask him to tell
you about his experience talking to drivers while sitting under their
trucks).  The programs he designed and implemented sought to convince people
in large numbers - 400 million young people across the nation - to change
very personal behaviours.  While we are not tackling issues of such an
intimate nature, we do aim to convince large numbers of people across the
country to contribute their personal time to Wikimedia projects.  During
this assignment, Hisham worked closely with public, private and community
groups (local and international) to work through the details of the programs
and build partnerships for implementing them at scale. He did so in a manner
that used persuasion rather than power to build support to move things
forward.  We think his experience navigating these varied groups position
him well to work in the Wikimedia community. His earlier career was in
marketing and business development with a number of well-known businesses:
Infosys, Accenture, Cadbury and Unilever. This experience positions him well
to engage with a movement and organization that is global in nature, in
particular to work with a team that is based halfway around the world.

We have scheduled an IRC chat with Hisham and myself for Thursday, February
17 at 22:00 India Standard Time (16:30 UTC).

I want to thank everyone who helped in the selection process that identified
Hisham. It was a five month process in which we made an open call for
consultants (using my visit in September to drum up interest via
conversations with the community and the media) in India and around the
world.  We had 197 applicants from a wide range of professional backgrounds.
 Egon Zehnder’s India office, part of a leading global executive search
firm, helped screen candidates and manage the process. Egon Zehnder
conducted indepth interviews with 25 candidates based on the inputs from
Bishakha and I who helped shortlist.  I interviewed 12 candidates via Skype
in the first round and then I had the help of Bishakha Datta and Achal
Prabhala to interview the top seven in person in Bangalore.  Our top two
candidates met with Sue and Erik in Delhi and then Hisham met with the
entire WMF leadership team and a broad group of staff members in San

We are very happy with the selection of Hisham. We recognize that we did not
manage to hire someone from inside the Wikimedia community or the open
source community.  We did look for people with this background and one of
our finalists was a long time open source advocate. We also engaged with a
long time Wikimedian for a role, though he ultimately decided to withdraw
for personal reasons.  We are committed to seeing Hisham integrate himself
into the community quickly and to seeing him add people to his team from the
community.  We hope that the community will engage actively with him to
bring him into the fold. Hisham will most definitely bring fresh
perspectives to the movement that will help us grow and change for the

Please join me in welcoming Hisham to the Wikimedia movement.

Note: An FAQ will be posted shortly.



[1] *http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Plan/Role_of_the_WMF*<http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Plan/Role_of_the_WMF>
[2] *

Barry Newstead
Chief Global Development Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

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