Wikimania Committee/update/2024-Q1

The Wikimania Steering Committee Update


Where we are as of February 2024

  • Multiple Wikimanias (2024, 2025, and 2026) have been selected with lots of opportunities for organizing teams to prepare in advance and also to overlap, collaborate, and learn from each other
    • The Steering Committee receives regular updates from Wikimania 2024 organizers and is in contact with 2025 and 2026 teams – through liaisons, representatives, and by encouraging organizing teams to join each other
  • We recruited 3 new members with direct Wikimania experience and a unique and diverse set of movement experiences and profiles: Angie Cervellera, Lodewijk Gelauff, and Yamen Bousirh
  • We have a close collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation supporting team
  • Building on the success of the 2023 Singapore, we encourage regional collaboration and cross-community, multi-affiliate organizing teams of volunteers

What happened in 2023

  • The Steering Committee [we] kicked things off in January 2023 with reviewing expressions of interest
  • We extensively discussed the expressions of interest and various scenarios for the next 3 years, considering travel, visa, global rotation, safety and security, etc.

A look into our selection process

  • We were humbled to receive such great expressions of interest
  • There was great desire from the committee based on global rotation to go to Latin America first, we were long overdue there, but the existing expressions of interest were not the ideal fit in this round ... maybe in 2027 :)
  • It would be great to organize a Wikimania in Istanbul at some point in the future and we will monitor regional / thematic events returning to Turkey. Everyone would love Istanbul as a cultural, historical, and linguistic global hub with ease of travel and visas.
  • We definitely wanted a French-language Wikimania and the Paris expression of interest was the first submitted, but 2024 clashed with the Olympics, complicating logistics and increasing prices
  • The CEE Wikimania expression of interest just felt right – a regional collaboration already, a strong core team and group of advisors, and great momentum with the formation of the hub
  • We couldn’t do CEE and Paris back to back in 2024 and 2025 … for many both would be difficult visas to obtain
  • We also really wanted to go to East Africa, but 2024 didn't leave enough time
  • We also met with a few organizing teams and again, CEE had a very strong concept and presentation
  • Visas, experience, connectivity, ease of travel, potential were all considered
  • We pushed Paris / WikiFranca to 2026 to create space between the two European rotations
  • We strongly considered NYC and East Africa for 2025
  • East Africa organically became a regional bid – 3 cities had come forward (Nairobi, Kigali and Dar es Salaam) and jointed together for a regional effort.
  • The timing was right for East Africa – a strong team and regional momentum
  • 2025 would be the first Wikimania ever in East Africa, and only the second in Africa south of the Sahara (NYC would have been the 3rd Wikimania in the US alone and the 4th in Northeastern North America)
  • Impact was a major consideration – what would be the impact in returning to the same city, such as Mexico City or London, or for a place like New York City that is already quite well-connected to the movement; CEE and East Africa both had great opportunities for community growth and strengthening
  • 2026 is also the 25th anniversary of quite a number of large Wikipedias. The 20th anniversary of Wikipedia had a lot of global focus on English. The 2026 Wikimania can focus on other languages with Paris's central location in the world. It will be the 25th anniversary of Fr, De, Es, It, Ja, Ru, Pt, and others.
  • Further considerations:
    • What is the team structure supporting this expression of interest?
    • How will you recruit additional volunteer members?
    • Are there any affiliates on the ground supporting this effort?
    • What has been the experience of organizing events among the COT?

Losing a dear friend

  • In May 2023, we found out that we had lost Deror Avi, a key member of the Wikimania Steering Committee, a devoted volunteer, a prolific contributor, and a huge fan of Wikimania. We commemorated him virtually and in-person at Wikimania celebrated his infinite passion for the movement .

Wikimania 2023

  • We were plugged into the 2023 Wikimania developments thanks to Butch and Gnangarra on the organizing team and Andrew Lih as the Committee liaison to the organizing team
  • Regular updates and some discussions around scholarships, venue discussions, programming, event platform and technology, etc.
  • Closer to the event, we planned for the Committee’s own meetings and the traditional ‘future of Wikimania’ discussion as well as meetings with the 2023 and 2024 core organizing teams and the 2025 and 2026 interested teams
  • We met almost weekly closer to Singapore to discuss everything from food and swag to programming break down, communication, attendee guide, and more

Post Singapore

  • We announced the host organizing teams for Wikimania 2025 and 2026
  • Recruiting new members was a big topic of discussion for the latter part of the year – this was our first official recruitment. Previously, the host of each Wikimania would join the Steering Committee afterwards. We thought to additionally expand the committee with intention and are grateful to everyone that expressed an interest to join.
  • Working with future Wikimania organizers, kicking things off with 2024 quite rapidly

What's ahead in 2024

  • Onboard our wonderful new members
  • Continue to closely support the 2024 core organizing team
  • Encourage and facilitate collaboration with and amongst the 2025 and 2026 organizing teams
  • Announce the Wikimania 2025 host city (hoping for April)
  • Review our charter (in draft mode since 2013) possibly with an expanded scope though in general, as a committee, we have a flexible and informal set up
  • Can kick off the bid for 2027 in late 2024, to be decided in early 2025