The annual Wikimania 2018 conference came to close in Cape Town with a renewed commitment by attendees to create more equity and bridge knowledge gaps across Wikipedia.
Over 700 attendees from 60 countries met during the course of the event to explore the theme of Ubuntu as it relates to access to information online. The conference, which is held annually, brings together volunteers within the Wikimedia community and free knowledge leaders to discuss and share ideas around the future of Wikipedia and free knowledge globally.
Farad Fatkullin was selected as Wikimedian of the Year for his work in energetically organising communities in Russia to expand content in minority languages. The annual award recognises people within the Wikimedia movement who have achieved notable success in the vision of Wikimedia: a world in which everyone can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.
“Farhad is a living example of Wikimedia values. By working with many communities to improve and add knowledge in his native Tatar and many other minority languages of Russia, Farhad is ensuring that Wikipedia is a place where everyone can access information in their mother tongue.” says Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.
Notable outcomes of the conference include the announcement that as part of last week’s centennial celebrations to commemorate the birth of Nelson Mandela, Wikimedia South Africa announced a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to make the inspirational writings of the former South African President’s 1962 diary available to the world on Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource.
In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation also announced a partnership with Kiwix, the free and open-source software solution that will enable offline access to educational content, to expand and improve access to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects globally. The partnership will include a $275,000 contribution to Kiwix to further enhance offline access to Wikipedia in parts of the world where consistent, affordable internet connectivity presents a significant barrier to accessing Wikipedia.