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

Barry Newstead bnewstead at wikimedia.org
Tue Feb 15 17:10:13 UTC 2011

Dear colleagues, (please feel free to cross-post this to local lists 
within India)

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


      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 community.

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 Francisco.

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 better.

Please join me in welcoming Hisham to the Wikimedia movement.

Note: An FAQ will follow shortly.

[1] _http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Plan/Role_of_the_WMF_

Barry Newstead
Chief Global Development Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
Tel: +1-415-839-6885 x. 6634
Skype: barry.wikimedia
Twitter: @bazanews

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