Volunteers from around the world gather in Stockholm for the fifteenth annual Wikimania

More than 800 attendees from nearly 80 countries have gathered in Stockholm, Sweden, for the start of the fifteenth annual Wikimania.

Taking place from 14–18 August, Wikimania brings together the community of volunteers who make Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects possible. Over 5 days, attendees will come together to discuss Wikimedia’s future and the role of free knowledge in creating a more equitable world.

This year’s Wikimania is focused around a broad theme. Stronger Together: Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals emphasizes the shared aspirations of Wikimedia, free knowledge, and the United Nations global goals to address some of the world’s greatest issues.

The 17 sustainable development goals were enacted by the United Nations in 2015. They call upon the world to join together and create a better world for everyone living in it. Wikimania 2019 aims to inspire its attendees to consider how the Wikimedia movement can participate in fulfilling these goals, including in quality education, gender diversity, environmental sustainability, and more.

“Wikimania is a celebration of our global free knowledge movement and what we can accomplish when we all come together,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Only through collaboration will we achieve the ambitious goals we have set for 2030 and create a world that is stronger, more equitable, and sustainable for generations to come.”

In a nod to Sweden’s commitment to sustainability and the theme of this year’s conference, Wikimania will introduce several new sustainability measures throughout the event.  For the first time, the conference will be entirely carbon neutral through carbon offsets from Terrapass, a social enterprise organization. In addition to utilizing carbon offsets, conference organizers have introduced other sustainable measures into the event including name badges printed on seed paper,  reusable water bottles, no single use plastic, and an online-only program for this year’s conference to minimize paper use.

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Much of Wikimania 2019 will be recorded and livestreamed to the world, and you can find sessions to attend in the conference program. Highlights include:

  • Michael Peter Edson, the co-founder and Associate Director of The Museum for the United Nations — UN Live, will deliver the opening keynote address
  • Katherine Maher, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Executive Director, will give a speech about the future of the Wikimedia movement and the execution of our 2030 strategy
  • A series of “spotlight sessions” about the role of free knowledge within the sustainable development goals, including:
    • Liv Inger Somby, journalist and scholar, on the Sámi people and bringing indigenous languages online
    • Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, on “how a radically open approach will let us move more quickly, with greater innovation, towards a more equitable result”
    • Annika Söder, State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, on inspiring current and future generations with examples of amazing women throughout history through the #WikiGap campaign
  • The presentation of the 2019 Wikimedian of the Year, awarded by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, and Farhad Fatkullin, the 2018 recipient

“We’re excited to welcome Wikimania to the Nordics for the first time,” said John Andersson, Executive Director of Wikimedia Sverige. “This year’s conference is a unique opportunity to learn and collaborate with global partners and cultural institutions to protect free knowledge and to discuss how the Sustainable Development Goals can be supported by the Wikimedia movement.”

This year’s Wikimedia also includes the Equal Edit, a campaign to make Swedish history more gender equal on Wikipedia by Wikimedia Sverige (Sweden), the Wikimedia Foundation, Swedish Wikipedia volunteers, and collaborators such as Historiskan, Sweden’s first women’s history magazine.  On Saturday, Wikipedians and experts in gender equity will join a panel conversation about the campaign and broader efforts to address gender inequality.

The conference comes to Stockholm on the heels of the decision by the European Court of Human Rights to expedite Wikimedia’s case against Turkey for blocking Wikipedia more than 2 years ago. We ask that conference attendees show their support for lifting the ban and advocating for access to free knowledge by sharing their thoughts on social media using #ForFreeKnowledge.

The conference will also include a dedicated strategy track in the program for attendees to learn more about Wikimedia’s future, and our vision to become the essential infrastructure for free knowledge by the year 2030. Over the past year, a group of Wikimedia volunteers researched the movement, analyzed community input by hosting 39 strategy salons in 33 countries, and evaluated trends that impact Wikipedia and the free knowledge movement. Together, they have created a series of draft recommendations for how we might evolve to achieve our goal. The recommendations focus on a number of themes, including advocacy, partnerships, and diversity among others. Throughout the conference, attendees are encouraged  to join discussions and review these recommendations so we can meet the direction we collectively identified for our future.

Want to follow along? Much of Wikimania 2019 will be recorded and livestreamed, and you can follow the conference on social media with the hashtag #Wikimania19, on Facebook, and on Twitter. For more information about the conference, please visit wikimania.wikimedia.org.

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