Press releases/Wikimedia Foundation announces new members, leadership for Board of Trustees at Wikimania in Mexico City

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Wikimedia Foundation announces new members, leadership for Board of Trustees at Wikimania in Mexico City

Wikimedia Foundation appoints new trustees for three Board seats; Board selects new Chair and Vice Chair

Today the Wikimedia Foundation announced the selection of a new Chair and Vice Chair, and the elections of three new additions to its Board of Trustees.

The new Trustees were elected by the international community of Wikimedia volunteers who create and support Wikipedia and its sister projects. The new Trustees are Dr. James Heilman, Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak, and Dr. Denny Vrandečić. Shortly thereafter, the Board, including the newly seated Trustees, selected Patricio Lorente as the new Chair and Alice Wiegand as the new Vice Chair. The Foundation announced these changes at Wikimania, the annual Wikimedia conference, held this year in Mexico City.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees oversees the Wikimedia Foundation and its work, and serves as the organization’s ultimate corporate authority. Open seats this year were reserved for Wikimedia community members selected through direct elections by the Wikimedia community. Wikimedia community members voted online from May 17 - 31, 2015 for the three open Board positions, each a two-year term. The new Chair and Vice Chair will serve as officers for one year terms.

Other seats on the Board include one seat for Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales, two seats selected by independent Wikimedia affiliate organizations, and four seats appointed by the Board for specific expertise and other needs.

The Wikimedia Foundation and Board of Trustees are pleased to announce the new Chair and Vice Chair, who bring many years of service and commitment to the Wikimedia community and mission:

Patricio Lorente joined Spanish Wikipedia as an editor in 2005. He is a founding member of Wikimedia Argentina and was its President from 2007 to 2012. He was responsible for the organization of Wikimanía 2009 in Buenos Aires. He is General Prosecretary at La Plata National University, in La Plata, Argentina. He has been a member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees since 2012.

Alice Wiegand joined German Wikipedia as an editor in 2004. She joined the board of Wikimedia Deutschland in 2008, serving as secretary and vice president, focusing on strategy, organizational structure, and executive accounting and assessment. She is head of information technology and organizational development for the municipality of Meerbusch, Germany. She has been a member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees since 2012.

The Wikimedia Foundation and existing Board members are also pleased to welcome this year’s new additions to the Board of Trustees, and recognize their diversity of experience and commitment to the Wikimedia mission:

Dr. James Heilman is a founding member of both Wikimedia Canada and Wiki Project Med Foundation, which promotes quality medical contributions on Wikimedia; currently, he serves as the president of the Wiki Project Med Foundation. James is on the faculty of emergency medicine at the University of British Columbia and an active contributor to WikiProject Medicine.

Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak serves as the head of the Center for Research on Organizations and Workplaces and is an active contributor to Polish Wikipedia. He has conducted extensive academic research on the social and ethnographic environments of Wikipedia, in addition to holding a number of prominent positions with educational organizations in Poland.

Dr. Denny Vrandečić is a Croatian computer scientist. He is co-developer of Semantic MediaWiki, founding administrator of Croatian Wikipedia, and founding project director for Wikidata. Denny has published extensively on semantic web and ontologies, serving as chair of the research track for Wikimania 2008 in Egypt. He is currently an ontologist at Google.

Terms for these newly appointed roles and elected members started on July 16 and will continue for two years. The new members join the new Chair of the Board Patricio Lorente, Vice Chair Alice Wiegand, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and Board members Frieda Brioschi, Jan-Bart de Vreede, Guy Kawasaki, and Stu West.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board was formed in 2003. Today, the Board consists of up to ten Trustees. Its work is captured in part in resolutions and votes. It appoints four officers: a Chair and Vice Chair, and a Treasurer and Secretary. Other work is delegated to its committees, including Board Governance, Audit, and Human Resources committees.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees for 2015-2016

Jan-Bart de Vreede, Board Chair
Patricio Lorente, Vice Chair
Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder
Frieda Brioschi
James Heilman
Dariusz Jemielniak
Guy Kawasaki
Denny Vrandečić
Stu West
Alice Wiegand

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia consists of more than 35 million articles in 290 languages. Every month, tens of thousands of active volunteers contribute to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. With nearly half a billion monthly users, projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation are one of the most popular web properties in the world. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

About Wikimania

Wikimania is an annual conference centered on the Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia and its sister projects) and the Wikimedia community of volunteers. It features presentations on Wikimedia projects, other wikis, free and open source software, free knowledge and free content, and the social and technical aspects which relate to these topics. Wikimania 2015 marks the 11th year of the conference.

Press Contact

Katherine Maher
The Wikimedia Foundation
+1 415-839-6885 ext 6633
press@wikimedia.org

Board Profiles

Patricio Lorente
Patricio Lorente is General Prosecretary at the National University of La Plata, in La Plata, Argentina, and Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.

Originally from La Plata, Patricio studied at the National University of La Plata before embarking on a career in the field of development cooperation. He oversaw the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of local development projects to strengthen local capacity and south-south cooperation, particularly among different cities and regions of Argentina.

Patricio joined Spanish Wikipedia as an editor in 2005. He is a founding member of Wikimedia Argentina and was its President from 2007 to 2012. He was responsible for the organization of Wikimanía 2009 in Buenos Aires, and was one of the primary organizers of the first Ibero-American Wikimedia Summit. Held in Buenos Aires in 2011, the summit brought together Wikimedians from across the Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian-speaking world.

Patricio is the author of the teaching resource, "Wikipedia in the classroom" and was a member of the advisory board of Conectar Igualdad, a program to deliver netbooks to all public secondary school students in Argentina. In that capacity, he advised the Argentinian National Ministry of Education on the development of resources on Wikipedia and education, including “Escuelas de Innovación,” a pilot program for teachers using Wikimedia projects in the classroom.

Patricio joined the Board of Trustees as a selected representative of the Wikimedia Chapters in 2012, and was re-selected in 2014. His current term will continue until August 2016. He was elected Vice Chair of the Board in August 2014, and Chair of the Board in July 2015.


Alice Wiegand
Alice Wiegand is head of information technology and organizational development for the municipality of Meerbusch, Germany.

Alice is originally from Düsseldorf, Germany and received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Fachhochschule fuer oeffentliche Verwaltung. She explored a number of industries early in her career, including tailoring, software development, and civil service. More recently, she oversaw the information technology department for the city of Meerbusch, Germany, as a specialist for public sector system administration. Prior to her current role, Alice served as the personal aide to the Mayor of Meerbusch.

Alice joined German Wikipedia as an editor in 2004. In 2008, she joined the board of Wikimedia Deutschland, serving as secretary and vice president, with a focus on strategy, organizational structure, and executive accounting and assessment. Alice has also served as administrator and bureaucrat on German Wikipedia. In recent years, she has organized workshops and skills trainings for Wikimedia contributors, the volunteer response team, and Wikipedia administrators.

Alice joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board as a Chapters' selected Trustee in 2012, and was appointed to serve the remainder of Ana Toni's term until December 2014. She also served the subsequent full term until December 2016. She was elected Vice Chair of the Board in July 2015.


Dr. James Heilman
Dr. James Heilman is an emergency physician in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and on the faculty of emergency medicine at the University of British Columbia.

James was born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. He completed his medical degree in 2003 in Saskatchewan, followed by his residency in British Columbia. James began editing Wikipedia in 2008, after he came across an article needing improvement in the middle of the night. Realizing that he could fix the Internet, he quickly became hooked, and later went on to help found both Wikimedia Canada and Wiki Project Med Foundation.

He has been involved in establishing collaborations to improve Wikipedia’s medical content, with organizations such as Translators Without Borders, the Cochrane Collaboration, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine. He is a frequent speaker at medical schools and conferences to encourage his colleagues to engage with Wikipedia.

James has a background in both distance running and adventure racing, having completed Morocco’s Marathon Des Sables and the Adventure Racing World Championships.


Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak
Dariusz Jemielniak is a full professor of management, the head of the Center for Research on Organizations and Workplaces, and a founder of New Research on Digital Societies (NeRDS) group at Kozminski University.

Originally from Warsaw, Poland, Dariusz studies open collaboration communities, the phenomenon of organized sharing (including piracy), and political memes. He has conducted research projects on related issues at Cornell University, Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley, and MIT. In 2014, he published Common knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia at Stanford University Press. He has been the recipient of many academic merit awards, including a 2004 Fulbright Foundation scholarship and the 2009 Polish Ministry of Science outstanding young scholar award.

Dariusz has held a variety of different roles on Wikipedia, including administrator, bureaucrat, checkuser, steward, and ombudsman. He served as the chair of Wikimedia’s Funds Dissemination Committee for three terms.

Dariusz has served as chairperson of the "Inkubator" network for rising literary talent in Poland, chairperson of the Collegium Invisibile academic society, and as a member of the the advisory boards of the Copernicus Science Center and the English Teaching program of the Nida Foundation. He is also the founder of Ling.pl, the largest Polish online dictionary.


Dr. Denny Vrandečić
Dr. Denny Vrandečić is a computer scientist specializing in semantic web and structured data. He is currently an ontologist at Google, where he has helped with the release of several key datasets, including releasing the collaborative curated database Freebase to Wikidata.

Originally from the island of Brač, Croatia, Denny received a degree in computer science and philosophy from the University of Stuttgart and a PhD from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He has written more than 70 publications on ontologies and the semantic web, and has worked at research projects the University of Southern California and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, and has lectured extensively at universities around the world.

Denny has been a Wikipedian since 2003. He is the co-developer of Semantic MediaWiki and was the first administrator of the Croatian Wikipedia. In 2010, he worked with various Wikimedia stakeholders to develop the first proposal and secure funding for the structured data project Wikidata. In 2012, he became the founding project director for Wikidata, recruiting and leading the first Wikidata team out of Wikimedia Deutschland.

Denny now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, a Wikipedian whom he met at Wikimania, and their baby daughter.