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Meet the Wikimedian of the Year by Stephen Harrison
Meet Émna Mizouni, the Wikimedian of the Year
When you think of Wikipedia, you might think of the old high school teacher who warned you against citing the crowdsourced online encyclopedia in your research paper. Or you might imagine editors like Steven Pruitt, the Washington D.C.-based federal contractor who has volunteered 3 million edits to Wikipedia and who earlier this year became a popular internet meme: “carefully, he’s a hero.”
But unless you’re already involved in the so-called Wikimedia movement, it is not likely that you associate Wikipedia with notions of global citizenship and human progress. Nor are you likely aware of the movement’s annual award. Since 2011, Wikipedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales has presented the “Wikimedian of the Year” award annually to highlight major achievements for the encyclopedia project. (In 2017, the name was changed from “Wikipedian” to “Wikimedian” of the year to acknowledge contributions not only to the encyclopedia Wikipedia, but also to its many related projects such as Wikimedia Commons, which hosts free images and video, or the knowledge base Wikidata.)
This year’s honoree, Émna Mizouni, is the first contributor whose principal project is Arabic Wikipedia. “Émna is a tireless advocate and champion for free knowledge. Her work, collaboration, and passion to preserve Tunisia’s cultural heritage has opened Tunisia’s culture, people, and history to the rest of the world,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Émna has emerged as a leader in the broader Arabic community and across the movement. Her efforts capture the spirit of Wikimedia and the impact we want to create in the world.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with Mizouni in person at the Wikimania 2019 conference in Stockholm earlier this month. Over the course of our conversation, she taught me about Tunisian history and her broader mission to preserve culture digitally.
>> Continue reading my interview for OneZero
And check out previous entries in Source Notes, my regular column for Slate about the internet's knowledge ecosystem.