Advisory Board

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The Advisory Board of the Wikimedia Foundation was approved in 2006, and formed at the start of 2007.

The Advisory Board is an international network of experts who have agreed to give the Foundation meaningful help on a regular basis in many different areas, including law, organizational development, technology, policy, and outreach.

See also: Board of Trustees



Angela Beesley

Angela Beesley, chair of Wikimedia's Advisory Board, is a co-founder of Wikia and a former member of Wikimedia's Board of Trustees. Angela has been involved with Wikipedia since February 2003. Angela has contributed a chapter on managing wikis to the book Wikis: Tools for information Work and Collaboration. Angela was formerly an educational researcher. Angela is originally from Norfolk and has lived in England, Germany, and Australia.

Ward Cunningham

Ward Cunningham is the Director of Committer Community Development of the Eclipse Foundation, an innovative open source collaboration among large and small commercial interests focused specifically on software development. Ward co-founded the consultancy, Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc., has served as an Architect in Microsoft's Patterns & Practices Group, the Director of R&D at Wyatt Software and as Principle Engineer in the Tektronix Computer Research Laboratory. Ward is well known for his contributions to the developing practice of object-oriented programming, the variation called Extreme Programming, and the communities supported by his WikiWikiWeb. Ward hosts the He is a founder of the Hillside Group and there created the Pattern Languages of Programs conferences which continue to be held all over the word.

Heather Ford

Heather Ford is the Executive Director of iCommons and is based in Johannesburg. iCommons is a relatively new organisation, incubated by Creative Commons, with the goal of bringing together the various 'streams' of the global commons movement. Once a year, iCommons hosts the iCommons Summit (last year in Rio, this year in Dubrovnik) where we bring together people who practice commons-based peer production in the areas of free software, open access, Creative Commons, access to knowledge and free culture communities around the world. We're also continuing to broaden the communities who are involved in the debates around how best to grow the commons of knowledge and culture to include those who are discussing the role of 'piracy' in Asia, for example, decentralized distribution of local films in Nigeria and local music in Brazil called 'Tecno Brega' which has been distributed without the need for copyright controls. Above all, iCommons is determined to introduce a new diversity to debates around the commons, requiring a new focus on countries of the South in our work. This is hopefully where I can provide the most input to Wikimedia - and hopefully develop some partnerships as well.

Melissa Hagemann

Melissa manages the Open Access Initiative within the Information Program of the Open Society Institute (OSI)/Soros foundations. Since convening the meeting in December 2001 which led to the development of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, she has been active within the Open Access movement which advocates for the free online availability of peer-reviewed literature.

Melissa also works with the eIFL (electronic Information for Libraries) network to manage the eIFL Open Access Program that aims to spread the benefits of Open Access among eIFL’s members in 50 developing and transition countries. She has held several positions within OSI including managing OSI’s Regional Library Program from 1995-1997 based in Budapest as well as the Science Journals Donation Program from 1998-2001.

She was profiled as a SPARC Innovator in December 2006 for her work within the Open Access movement. Melissa has served on the Member of Experts’ Group of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Library Initiative.

Danny Hillis

Danny Hillis is an engineer, author and inventor with a broad range of interests. He earned a B.S. in mathematics and a PhD. in computer science at MIT. While at MIT, Hillis began to study the physical limitations of computation and the possibility of building highly parallel computers. This work led in 1985 with the design and construction of a massively parallel computer with 64,000 processors, called the Connection Machine.

Hillis then co-founded Thinking Machines Corp., which was the leading innovator in massive parallel supercomputers and RAID disk arrays. Hillis'€™ other inventions over the years have included tendon-control robot arms, touch-sensitive robot skin, a computer built from Tinkertoys that plays tic tac toe, and a 10,000-year mechanical clock. He founded the Long Now Foundation, which sponsors projects encouraging long-term thinking and responsibility.

Currently the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman at Applied Minds, Inc., Hillis is also Founder and Chairman of Metaweb Technologies, Inc., which was formed recently to build a better infrastructure for the Web.

Prior to Applied Minds, Hillis was Vice President, Research and Development at Walt Disney Imagineering, and a Disney Fellow. At Disney, he developed new technologies and business strategies and designed new theme park rides, a full-sized walking robot dinosaur and various micro mechanical devices. Hillis has also consulted with various companies in developing new technologies and related business strategies, serves on several company and not-for-profit boards, including the Long Now Foundation and the Hertz Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery, a Fellow in the International Leadership Forum, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He lives with his wife Pati and his children Asa, Noah and India in Los Angeles, California.

Mitch Kapor

I'm a long-time tech entrepreneur, software designer, investor, and activist. Founder or co-founder of Lotus Development Corp., Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Open Source Applications Foundation. Board Chair, Linden Lab (Second Life); former Chair Mozilla Foundation. Adjunct Professor, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley. Bio at

I'm interested in past, present, and future patterns of disruptive technology based on radical openness, in hybrid enterprises which integrate sustainable business methods and a social mission, and in democratic reform in a era of globalization.

Joris Komen

Born in the Congo, raised and variously educated in Burundi, Holland, Nigeria and South Africa, I was curator of birds at the National Museum of Namibia from 1983-2000. The Internet and computerisation of museum collections lured me into information and communication technologies, and I've spent considerable time and energy promoting its relevance to African museums and, importantly, to schools in Namibia and further afield. I championed the use of incentive-reward mechanisms to provide ICTs to schools in Namibia by way of a biodiversity-oriented school competition called Insect@thon. I've played a critical role in launching and driving SchoolNet Namibia, a civil society organisation which is committed to providing sustainable internet access, free/libre and open source software, and open educational content to all schools in Namibia. I am presently SchoolNet Namibia’s executive director. SchoolNet Namibia has proved to be an exemplary role model for the sustainable introduction of ICTs across the education sector. The Namibian government has recognised SchoolNet Namibia in its National Development Plans as a key actor in the roll-out of ICT in education and job creation. More recently, the new ICT policy and implementation plan for education in Namibia has adopted a range of SchoolNet’s operational strategies to substantially reduce total cost of ownership of ICTs in education. For more info on SchoolNet please visit our website.

Rebecca MacKinnon

Now: I am currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong's Journalism and Media Studies Centre, where I teach "new media" - which means a range of things related to the intersection between the Internet and journalism. I blog about my ideas and work at

Prior life as a TV journalist in Asia: I worked my way up from the very bottom of CNN's Beijing bureau, then somehow ended up CNN's Beijing correspondent and Bureau Chief from 1998-2001. After that I moved on to be Tokyo Bureau Chief from 2001-03.

The transition: In January 2004 I went on leave from CNN to do a fellowship at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. My research focus was on blogs and participatory online media, especially as relates to international news. After about 3 months at Harvard I resigned from CNN and was invited to stay at Harvard as a Research Fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, enabling me to re-direct my career from TV news to online media.

Recent past: At the Berkman Center my colleague Ethan Zuckerman and I co-founded Global Voices Online ( - an award-winning international citizen media community. I remain involved with running it although an amazing team of people now do most of the day-to-day work.

Ongoing research interests: I speak and write on three main subjects: the future of media in the Internet age, freedom of speech online, and the Internet in China.

Other affiliations: I am on the Board of Directors for Tor, a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet. I am also on the Advisory Board of the Wikimedia Foundation. For the first nine months of 2006 I was on the U.S. advisory board of FON, but left that board in September.

More at:

Wayne Mackintosh

I'm currently the Education Specialist for eLearning and ICT policy at the Commonwealth of Learning based in Vancouver ( We're an international agency working in 53 countries of the Commonwealth promoting learning for development. Free content is a priority for our work.

I'm an unashamed advocate of free software <smile> and had the privilege of leading a Government funded project called the eLearning XHTML editor (eXe) when still living in New Zealand - This is a small OSS project working on a simple authoring tool for web content for teachers. ( )

Prior to joining COL, I was the founding Director of the Centre for Flexible and Distance Learning at the University of Auckland and before working in New Zealand worked for the University of South Africa - one of the mega distance-teaching university's of the word.

COL has initiated a small wiki called WIkiEducator - (using Mediawiki software of course) and we are committed to helping educators in the developing world to participate as equal contributors in the development of free content.

Benjamin Mako Hill

Erin McKean

Erin McKean likes to call herself a Dictionary Evangelist. She is Chief Consulting Editor, American Dictionaries, for Oxford University Press, and the editor of [ VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly]. She was the editor in chief of the The New Oxford American Dictionary, 2e, and is the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, and That's Amore (also about words). Previously, she was the editorial manager for the Thorndike-Barnhart Dictionaries at ScottForesman, a Pearson company. She has served on the board of the Dictionary Society of North America and on the editorial board for its journal, Dictionaries, as well as on the editorial board for the journal of the American Dialect Society, American Speech. She lives in Chicago, rants about dresses on her blog (A Dress A Day), and she's really bad at Scrabble (but surprisingly good at roller-skating).

Trevor Nielson

Trevor Neilson is a Partner in the Endeavor Group. Endeavor represents the philanthropic, business, legal and political interests of a select group of high net worth individuals. With offices in Washington, DC and New York, Endeavor provides a unique alternative for high net worth individuals whose complex projects require the execution of sophisticated strategies and deep cross-disciplinary expertise.

Neilson served as Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBC) which was initially created with investments from Bill Gates, George Soros and Ted Turner. GBC represents over 200 multinational companies who have interests related to AIDS and healthcare. Neilson recruited over 100 companies to join GBC and opened and managed offices in New York, Paris, Beijing, Geneva, Nairobi and Johannesburg along with partnerships in 20 countries around the world.

Before coming to the GBC, Neilson was Executive Vice President of the [ Casey Family Programs], the largest "operating" foundation in the United States. Casey was created by Jim Casey, founder of United Parcel Service and Neilson oversaw a variety of Casey programs and led their effort to enhance economic development in urban areas.

Prior to his work at Casey, Neilson served as Director of Public Affairs and Director of Special Projects at the [ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation], the largest foundation in the world. At the Gates Foundation he was responsible for grant-making that was politically sensitive or high profile, government relations and public affairs. He also and managed the foundations relationships with the United Nations, governments, corporations and NGO's.

Prior to his work for the Gates Foundation, Neilson served in the Clinton White House in the Office of Scheduling and Advance and the White House Travel Office.

Neilson formed DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) with Bill Gates, Bono and George Soros, served as a founding board member, and stays involved as a member of DATA's policy board.

Neilson also serves as Vice-Chairman of Saflink, an early stage technology company focused on biometric authentication solutions for government agencies in the United States.

Achal Prabhala

I am a researcher and writer based in Bangalore, India. My research concerns access to knowledge and access to medicines. Recent work includes: an initiative to collect and publicly archive literary journals from Kenya, Nigeria, India, South Africa, the Middle East and the US, a report to the government for an overhaul of India's copyright act, essays on piracy and the legal commons, a commission to evaluate Botswana's patent law and medicines registration system and an evaluatory framework for assessing copyright law and access to knowledge.

From 2004 to 2005, I coordinated a project on access to learning materials in Southern Africa, where (as part of a coalition of diverse groups), we advocated for legal/ policy change to make learning materials affordable. I co-authored a report on the state of IP and learning materials in Southern Africa, and made submissions to a number of governmental bodies in the region. Prior to that, I worked on cases around access to medicines in Guyana, South Africa, India. Previous to beginning IP research work, I worked as a journalist in India and Guyana. I continue to write in popular media.

Jay Rosen

I teach journalism at New York University, where I have been on the faculty since 1986. From 1999 to 2005 I was chair of the Department. I live in New York City. My work is mainly about what democracy requires from the press, a term which I think includes journalists, citizens who are self published, and "the media."

I'm the author of PressThink <>, my blog about journalism and its discontents in the digital age, which I began in September 2003. It talks to traditional journalists, bloggers, J-students and new media people. I also write at the Huffington Post and Comment is Free, the Guardian's group blog.

In July 2006 I introduced NewAssignment.Net <>, an experimental site for pro-am, open source reporting projects. The idea is: at NewAssignment.Net a whole bunch of people work on one story, and are able to investigate stuff that would be hard for a single reporter or even a team of pros to do unaided. (As The Economist put it, "New online models will spring up as papers retreat. One non-profit group, NewAssignment.Net, plans to combine the work of amateurs and professionals to produce investigative stories on the internet.") See:

In 1999, Yale University Press published my book, What Are Journalists For?, which is about the rise of the civic journalism movement, also called public journalism. That was a pre-Web effort to get a professionalized press to recognize the widening disconnect between itself and the citizenry. I worked on that over a ten-year period, 1989-99.

As a press critic and reviewer, I've written for The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times,, and many others.

I have a Ph.D. from NYU in media studies.

Clay Shirky

I'm on the faculty at the Interactive Telecommunications Program, an interdisciplinary grad program at NYU, where I work on the intersection of social and technological networks -- the way communications technologies help shape the society that uses them, and the way society shapes those tools.

My interests relevant to Wikimedia are social software generally, and in particular governance problems; what changes in coordination costs for groups do to the economics of information production; and the design of federated networks.

I chaired the Technical Working Group of the Library of Congress's digital preservation initiative (NDIIPP), and I currently chair the Technical Sub-committee of Connecting for Health, a non-profit designing a nationwide health information network.

Peter Suber

I've been working full-time on open access to research literature for about six years. Before that I was a professor of philosophy and law at Earlham College for 21 years. I retain a non-teaching position at Earlham, but gave up my tenure and salary to work on OA. (Because Melissa Hagemann has already introduced herself and the Open Society Institute, I can say, with gratitude, that the largest part of my funding comes from OSI.)

I write a blog called Open Access News (updated daily) and the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (published monthly). All my work these days is in research, writing, consulting, and advocacy for OA.

I was the principal drafter of the Budapest Open Access Initiative and serve on boards of several other organizations that deal with OA issues, such as the Scientific Information Working Group of the UN WSIS, Science Commons, Academic Commons, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and the Center For Internet Research. For more, see my home page.

Raoul Weiler

I am located in Belgium in Antwerp. During the last years my activities focus primarily on sustainability issues as a planetary challenge, the use of low-cost ICT in schools and communities as a contribution to the eradication of illiteracy and bridging the digital gap, and facilitating the access of all to the oncoming worldwide information and knowledge societies, as well as on sustainable economy questions. At present, I chair and founded the Brussels-EU Chapter of the Club of Rome (CoR-EU) and am a member of the Executive Committee of the International Club of Rome (CoR). I am a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS), member of Scientific Advisory Board of European Papers in the New Welfare, a member of the Board of Greenfacts and the president of the new created DigitalWorld. I participated as a NGO participant at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (WSSD, 2002) and the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva and Tunis (WSIS, 2003 & 2005) as well as at the World Social Forum in Porte Alegre (WSF, 2005).

My academic background is engineering with a degree of engineering and Ph. D. in chemistry both at the University of Leuven (KUL), Belgium and spent several years as Post-doc in the US and France. My industrial career started in a chemical multinational in the Department of Applied Physics and ended, until retirement (1996), as manager of the ICT department. I have held teaching positions at different universities, in particular at the University of Leuven in the Faculty of Bio-engineering Sciences (KUL), and gave lectures about the relationship between technology and society, especially about the problem of sustainability and ethics. I am the co-author and editor of four books on sustainability, global change and philosophy and ethics of technology. Recent publications: Ethic Aspects of the Convention on Climate Change (2005) and the Proceedings of the joint World Conference of the Club of Rome and UNESCO on ICTs for Capacity-Building: Critical Success Factors (2005).

Ethan Zuckerman

I'm the co-founder of Global Voices ( ) along with Rebecca MacKinnon, who's also on this advisory board. I'm a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, where my work focuses on technology in the developing world. I also work with Open Society Institue's Information Program, along with Melissa Hageman.

Prior to working with the Berkman Center, I was one of the founders of Geekcorps, a technology volunteering corps that brought geeks to the developing world to support and build IT businesses. Before that, I helped found, one of the early web community sites.