In the closing ceremony of this year’s Wikimania, held in Cape Town, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced Farkhad Fatkullin as the Wikimedian of the year for 2018. Fatkullin was selected for his efforts in support of the minority language communities in Russia.
“Farhad is energetically community organizing among Russia’s minority language communities,” said Wales, “going far and wide beyond his native Tatar. He is also fluent in English, a fact that has finally established a bridge between those communities and the wider movement after years of isolation.”
Fatkullin joined the Wikimedia movement in 2009, when he “fell in love with Tatar Wikipedia,” the small, yet diverse encyclopedia that he goes to whenever he needs to get informed about any topic. Since 2015, Fatkullin has been actively contributing to Wikipedias in the languages of Russia project, aiming at supporting Wikipedia in those languages.
“What keeps me contributing to the Wikimedia movement is the urge to help preserve the cultural heritage, created by innumerable generations of the human race,” Fatkullin explains, “which is documented in languages – themselves the product of human emotions, feelings, experiences, and thoughts. In this sense, the Wikimedia Indigenous Languages is a project I am very proud of and I would love to find a way to help all the communities involved in it, to keep thriving on and off Wiki linguistic environment and growing a repository of free knowledge that can be shared globally.”
Honorable mentions of finalists for the Wikimedian of the year 2018 were Nahid Sultan and Jess Wade. Sultan has been one of the driving forces behind the success of Wikimedia Bangladesh with very limited resources in the face of many challenges. Wade is a physicist who started a year-long effort to write about underrepresented scientists and engineers on Wikipedia.
The Wikimedian of the Year is an annual tradition to recognize the efforts of Wikipedians making prolific contributions to the Wikimedia movement usually announced by Jimmy Wales during his closing speech for Wikimania.
Samir Elsharbaty, Writer, Communications