Berlin, Friday 17 June 2022, it is 12:50 pm when I enter the Wikimedia Deutschland building for the first in-person meeting of the Movement Charter Drafting Committee (the MCDC). The meeting has been going on since about 10 am.
Looking back on seven months of online collaborative work, it must be said that the beginnings were difficult: all members are from different backgrounds, different communities, with different experiences and skills. When we started working together in November, these differences sometimes were a challenge. Over the course of the past months the Movement Strategy team and the facilitators helped us to overcome our differences, to discover each other and get to know each other better. This was important in order to focus on the vision that brought us together: writing the charter of the Wikimedia Movement. In our bi-weekly meetings, our asynchronous work, and various subcommittees, we have built a solid foundation for our work going forward.
Unlike in the past, when attending the Wikimedia Movement meetings required a long trip with a lot of paperwork, this time leaving from Belgium (where I have been living for about 2 years), the trip to Berlin in Germany was very fast and I was free from customs controls. This was not the case for several other MCDC members who flew in from India, USA and northern Africa among others.
I had a lot of apprehension when I arrived: how will the reception be? What will the general atmosphere be like at this first in-person meeting and, above all, how will the others react to me?
I was very happy when the first MCDC member welcomed me with a big hug and great enthusiasm. Several others shared this good energy, and it was a warm greeting. All of this disarmed me and made me realize that I was in the right place, amongst fellow Wikimedians, and I could express myself without any restraint, without any complex, and the framework was right for a quality work session to accomplish the objectives.
My real surprise from the beginning of our work until today has been the real implementation of several values and principles of the Movement, namely Inclusion.
In the work of the MCDC, inclusion is lived. I have personally experienced it in two ways. First, I come from the Sub-Saharan African communities, and bring that identity with me into my work. Sub-Saharan African communities are often called “minority communities” and we are underrepresented in global decision-making, but here I have my place as well as other MCDC members from similar communities. And second, I am not fluent in English. However, every effort has been made to ensure that I could follow and actively contribute. Documents were translated for me and an interpreter was always by my side.
The three days in Berlin, 17 to 19 June, were a great success both on a personal and collective level: a team was strengthened, links were forged, and trust and collaboration deepened on several levels. It is also worth noting that enormous progress was made regarding the objectives the MCDC set before the meeting. We made headway towards deciding on an outline for the charter, choosing a drafting methodology, and working together as a team.
For the upcoming months, the MCDC will work in soon-to-be-formed topic-based subcommittees on the Charter content. The MCDC hopes to collect input and feedback at multiple on- and offline meetings. We would like to talk to you at Wikimania in August and the Wikimedia Summit in September. Subcommittees will be fully equipped with previously collected Movement Strategy information, documentation, and support from other parties, so that each can make progress in its area of action.
If you want to know more about what the Movement Charter Drafting Committee is working on, or if you want to give input for the charter or the Movement Strategy as a whole, please follow our updates on Meta-wiki. These updates can be delivered on your talkpage through the MCDC newsletter. Come and speak to us at community events, like Wikimania or the Wikimedia Summit. Also, feel free to email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or provide input on the Movement Strategy Forum.