Welcoming Partners into the Wikimedia Ecosystem: Lessons from ESEAP Conference 2024

Translate this post

The ESEAP Conference 2024 was successfully held in Kota Kinabalu from May 10th to 12th, 2024. The event was attended by nearly 150 Wikimedians from across the Asia Pacific. This year’s conference is special as it marked a starting point to strengthen the foundation of the ESEAP Hub, as well as opening the opportunity for movement partners to collaborate with ESEAP’s affiliates for the first time.

During the initial planning of the event, the ESEAP Conference Core Organizing Team believed that the involvement of movement-aligned organizations to support the event is crucial to open up the perspective of ESEAP Affiliates and to develop their capacity in engaging with partners to support their efforts in strengthening the presence of the Wikimedia movement in their respective countries. Based on this spirit, we started to engage potential partners who are interested in supporting this major event. We successfully engaged the participation of both local partners in Malaysia, as well as global organizations who sent their representatives as speakers for the event.

As the host country of the event, we gratefully received generous support from various public institutions in Malaysia. The Sabah Education Department, alongside Institute of Teacher Education, Kent Campus and boarding schools, actively participated in the conference, offering valuable insights into integrating Wikimedia content into the education curriculum.

We were particularly delighted that the Kent Wikiclub was recognized as an exemplary model for student involvement in enhancing Wikimedia content—a vital skill development initiative within the Malaysian curriculum framework. Moreover, the Sabah State Library generously provided us with the venue for conducting the pre-event Wiktionary Workshop on the Sabahan indigenous language. This workshop was further enriched by the participation of the Sabah Cultural Board, a prominent government body dedicated to preserving indigenous languages.

Given the diverse participants from across the Asia Pacific region, the Sabah Tourism Board graciously extended their support by organizing captivating cultural performances that mesmerized conference attendees. We extend our gratitude to the WMF Global Advocacy team for their support, which facilitated the presence of representatives from the Malaysia Ministry of Digital. Their participation enabled insightful discussions on how the Wikimedia movement could contribute to the drafting process of AI regulation

In addition to our local partners, we were fortunate to have support from various global organizations, which actively participated in lecture sessions throughout the conference. Jess Wade, representing the Mozilla Foundation, shared invaluable insights into how Wikimedians in ESEAP could contribute to their Common Voice project. Robert Lejon from the Swedish Embassy in Malaysia and Eric Luth from Wikimedia Sweden showcased successful collaborations between affiliates in ESEAP and their respective institutions. Esther Dina Sihombing from the UNESCO Jakarta field office utilized the session to announce their recent partnership with Wikimedia Indonesia, aimed at conducting anti-mis/disinformation training for Wikimedians and cultural activists in Indonesia. Alan Ang from Wikimedia Deutschland concluded the lineup of partners by presenting collaboration opportunities on the Wikidata Project.

Following their interactions with Wikimedians during the event, the partners who attended the ESEAP Conference expressed a strong interest in learning more about how they can support the remarkable efforts of Wikimedians in the ESEAP region. They felt warmly welcomed by the Wikimedians and expressed a genuine desire to collaborate with our communities. This event serves as a catalyst for broader collaboration with movement-aligned organizations in the region. As a global movement dedicated to freeing knowledge, it’s imperative that we unite forces with partners who share a similar vision. This collaboration knows no bounds and is indeed achievable beyond the horizon.

Can you help us translate this article?

In order for this article to reach as many people as possible we would like your help. Can you translate this article to get the message out?