Press releases/Wikimania 2008

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Library of Alexandria to Host Wikipedia's Annual Conference in 2008

The Wikimedia Foundation, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, announced today that it will stage its 2008 Wikimania conference at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. The event will take place next summer.

"We are honored that the Library of Alexandria, one of the most prestigious and historic libraries in the world, has provided the Wikimedia Foundation with this great opportunity. This is a very symbolic gesture. Today, Wikipedia and our other free content projects, play an important part in empowering world citizens to share in the sum of all human knowledge," said Florence Devouard, Wikimedia Foundation Board Chair.

Wikimania 2008 will be Wikimedia's fourth annual conference. The event brings together international contributors from various Wikimedia projects, as well as people interested in learning more about the projects, wiki technology, free content, and educational and social trends online. In previous years, Wikimania has been held in Frankfurt, Boston, and Taipei.

"We are delighted to secure the Wikimania 2008 event in Alexandria, for we believe in the wiki phenomenon. It is the harbinger of a revolution suited to the new age of the internet, and by supporting it, we are helping give birth to a new era and a new world where access to knowledge is a fundamental right and the sharing of knowledge is a fundamental duty," said Dr. Ismail Serageldin, the library's director.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2002 to recapture the spirit of the ancient Library of Alexandria, one of the oldest libraries of the world. The new Library and its affiliated research centers are devoted to using the newest technology to preserve the past and to promote access to the products of the human intellect. The BA houses 3 museums, a planetarium center and an accompanying conference center which accommodates a variation of halls in different sizes, facilities and for different purposes.

As in previous years, Wikimania 2008 will include unconferences, seminars, and workshops. The Wikimania 2008 committee, comprised primarily of volunteers, will be organizing the event, and has already begun lining up sponsors.

"We are very happy and honored that Wikimania is happening in Africa, Egypt and specifically our hometown Alexandria. We believe that it will have a great effect in increasing awareness in the region about Wikipedia, its sister projects and the libre knowledge movement. We hope to make a difference and help empower people to better their lives by leveraging free and open knowledge. We also want to make it the best Wikimania experience ever for all the attendees," said Mohamed Ibrahim, key volunteer coordinator.

The Wikimania announcement comes in the midst of the Wikimedia Foundation’s annual fundraiser, which runs from October 22nd to December 23rd. The fundraiser's goal is to raise enough money to cover the operating costs of the projects, including helping to pay for Wikimania 2008. For more information about the fundraiser, please visit http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising and http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising_FAQ.

For further information, please contact Sandra Ordonez at (727) 231-0101, or email her at sordonez@wikimedia.org. You can also visit http://Wikimania2008.wikimedia.org for up-to-date information