Sun, 04 Jun 2023

New Delhi [India]/San Francisco [US], August 12 (ANI/Seraphim): Every year, hundreds of Wikimedians - the volunteers who make Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects possible - come together to celebrate free knowledge at the annual Wikimania global conference. Now in its 17th edition, the conference looks different this year than it has in the past. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape global convenings, Wikimania 2022 is, for the first time, a hybrid event with opportunities for participants to come together virtually and in person through more than 40 events around the world.

Taking place from 11-14 August, this year's conference is co-organized by Wikimedia volunteers and the Wikimedia Foundation, the global nonprofit that supports Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects.

The conference program includes over 120 virtual sessions on a wide range of global topics, including the annual Wikimedian of the Year awards, presented by Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales. The awards highlight volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to Wikimedia projects and the wider free knowledge movement.

The conference was designed with global inclusion at the forefront, including a time-zone friendly program, simultaneous live translation of sessions into 13 languages, and thousands of attendees expected to join from around the world, with a majority expected to be newcomers to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects.

"This year's Wikimania will be a celebration of the depth and diversity of our global communities," said Maryana Iskander, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation. "Wikimedia projects offer access to reliable information across more languages than any other platform or movement in the world. Wikimania is an opportunity to recognize this work and to continue building - not only imagining - a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge."

The Wikimedia community of over 300,000 volunteers is truly global. India has a vibrant community of volunteers, who work on over 25 Indic language Wikipedias, including Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi and Telugu. The communities are also hosting several in-person events during Wikimania, ranging from meetups and roundtables to hackathons.

The theme of this year's conference is the "festival edition." After more than two years of isolation and uncertainty amidst the global pandemic, this year's Wikimania is meant to spark levity, fun, and joy. The theme encourages Wikimedians to foster closer connections with one another and celebrate what the free knowledge movement can achieve next.

Alongside the virtual program, there will be over 40 in-person events taking place all over the world, organized by local Wikimedia affiliate groups. These events include watch parties of the virtual conference, meetups, a Wiki World's Fair, hackathons, edit-a-thons, and cultural celebrations. In India, events are to be organized by the Odia, Tulu and Tamil communities. A hackathon is also being organized by the technical volunteer community group from India.

Venus Lui, Wikipedia volunteer and a member of the 2022 Wikimania Core Organizing Team said, "I look forward to four days that strengthen and celebrate our growing scope of content and community of volunteer editors. It will also be an opportunity to dig into the many projects the community is working on to make free knowledge more accessible and available than ever before - including the latest ways that we are evolving our technology and our programs to bridge knowledge gaps."

Wikimania 2022 highlights:

- The Wikimedian of the Year awards, led by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. The award recognizes exceptional volunteers in the movement across seven categories.

- A panel session discussing examples of knowledge as a service and knowledge equity, the two pillars of the strategic direction to guide the future of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. Panelists include:

- Maryana Iskander, CEO, Wikimedia Foundation (moderator)

- Guillaume Paumier, Principal Program Manager, Wikimedia Foundation (moderator)

- Dr Nkem E. Osuigwe, Director of Human Capacity Development and Training for the African - Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA)

- Olga Paredes, a Wikimedian in Bolivia working toward knowledge equity

- Lydia Pintscher, Product Manager, Wikidata

- Sessions highlighting India, including a spotlight on the Solung Etor festival of Arunachal Pradesh, educational Bharatanatyam performance and a short documentary on Theyyam folk art from the Malabar region.

- In-person events in India, including Odia Community Event in Bhubaneshwar, Indic MediaWiki Developers Hackathon Event in Bangalore, Tulu/ Karavali Wikipedia Community Meetup in Mangalore and the Tamil Wikimedia Community Meetup in Madurai.

- Virtual sessions that explore India's rich diversity including a look back at the achievements realized from the Wiki Loves Butterfly's Digital Conservation through knowledge sharing project, how education partnerships are helping equip educators with 21st-century skills, and more information about the annual Wiki Loves Monuments competition.

- Sessions evaluating the impact of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects on the wider world, including in relation to human rights, climate issues, and the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

- Discussions centered on knowledge gaps in Wikimedia projects, led by volunteer groups like Wiki Vibrance, Women in Red, and Arabic Wikimedia communities.

- Sneak-peeks and new technology improvements like the forthcoming changes to the desktop version of Wikipedia, improvements to Wikipedia's mobile interfaces, and Wikifunctions, the newest Wikimedia project.

- Evaluations and lessons learned from collaborations between Wikimedians and cultural institutions like the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative and the African Libraries Week, produced with the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA)

- Cultural and entertainment activities, including a session with Annie Rauwerda who runs the Depths of Wikipedia social media accounts, musical and dance performances, cultural festivals, and more.

Interested participants are welcome to review the full conference program and register for Wikimania.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive donations from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about USD 15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

This story is provided by Seraphim on behalf of Wikimedia Foundation. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/Seraphim)

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