Wikimedia Foundation elections/2022/Candidates/Shani Evenstein Sigalov
|Introductory statement / Application summary.
This section to be translated. (150 word maximum)
|An educator, lecturer, researcher and Free Knowledge advocate, focusing on Outreach (Education, GLAM, Libraries, Medicine, WikiWomen, Wikidata), Governance and Strategy, to achieve our vision of Free Knowledge for everyone.
I strive to bridge gender, language and social gaps throughout my work, including my academic courses on Wikipedia & Wikidata, the first-of-their-kind in the world. In my PhD (Education -Technology & Learning) I research the Semantic Web, specifically Wikidata.
As BoT Vice Chair I focus on improving Board’s transparency for better Movement-Foundation-Board relationship, initiated & lead the Community Affairs Committee, focused on resolutions for Safe & Inclusive spaces (later UCoC), and Human Rights policy. Also took part in the Transition Committee, choosing our current CEO, and concentrate on Governance, Product & Tech - all providing critical perspectives on Foundation’s work and Movement’s challenges.
I was honored to be elected and serve the Movement, and hope to continue working on these crucial issues.
|Contributions to the Wikimedia projects, memberships in Wikimedia organizations or affiliates, activities as a Wikimedia movement organizer, or participation with a Wikimedia movement ally organization.
(100 word maximum)
|Vice Chair, Board of Trustees.
Before BoT (2011-2019):
Admin, Hebrew Wikipedia. Extensive experience leading projects, events and Outreach efforts (Education, GLAM, Medicine, WikiWomen, Wikidata), locally & globally.
|Expertise in skill areas identified as needs by the Board.
(150 word maximum)
|Strategy / Management:
Product & Tech Development:
|Lived experiences in the world. We are especially interested in reading about lived experiences in the regions of Africa, South Asia, East and South East Asia & Pacific, and Latin America & Caribbean. We believe that experience in these regions could help expand the board’s ability to fulfill the movement strategy goal of more equitable participation, although we recognize that other experiences may also provide important contributions.
(250 word maximum)
|I am the first elected to the BoT from Israel, a melting-pot of immigrants in the intersection of Africa, Asia and Europe. My origins are also mixed – Kurdish from my mom’s side, Polish/Russian/Ukrainian from my father’s. Growing up here, since childhood to enlisting in the Army, working various jobs (from hi-tech to a family carpentry), and later Academia (studying and teaching) – have all exposed me to people from various walks-of-life, cultures and backgrounds. I deeply respect diverse backgrounds, which is highlighted in the way I conduct my academic courses.
In 2013 I designed and am since directing, the first, for-credit academic course worldwide dedicated to editing Wikipedia. An important part of the course is its social impact - so far students contributed ~13% of the medical content in HeWiki, viewed ~7 million times. But another part of the course’s impact stems from working on diversity and knowledge gaps. Though my courses are conducted mostly in Hebrew, a portion of every cohort is non-Hebrew native speakers, mainly Arabic & Russian, which I encourage and support. Sometimes students continued contributing to Wikipedia outside of class -even in their native languages (mostly Arabic).
Today I teach in 4 different faculties/programs and all courses emphasize the importance of diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), making sure the content curated represents different groups of Israeli society, including non-Hebrew speakers. While I did not live elsewhere, I believe that my life experience in the Middle-East is an important perspective I bring to the Board.
|Cultural and linguistic fluency with regions and languages additional to your native region and language. Intercultural awareness helps build bridges in our multicultural community.
(250 word maximum)
|Since a young age I was fascinated with different cultures and languages and did my best to learn as much as I could about them (existing or extinct). I speak Hebrew & English fluently. In high school I learned literary Arabic, but unfortunately am not a fluent speaker. After high school I took Spanish, so I know it at a basic level. In my undergraduate degree I studied English Literature & French Culture, which allowed me to delve into the cultures relating to these languages, especially French, which was new to me.
I studied (and taught) Yoga for 15 years, and was fortunate to be a disciple of a great master from Varanasi, India. I travelled to India many times for extended stays, which allowed me to learn first-hand about the amazing cultures in this sub-continent. It has a special place in my heart till today. I also studied Sanskrit at University for a year. I am obviously not fluent, but it has enhanced and deepened my vocabulary and cultural context.
Finally, being part of the Wikiverse, I have come to love and respect many individuals, communities and cultures from countless countries and continents, and I’m better for it. It has made me even more attuned to nuances of cultural differences, including way of living, thinking, speaking and behaving. This has served me well not only in the rounded perspective I bring to the BoT, but also in the classroom and in my academic research, which is global in nature.
|Experience as an advocate for creating safe and collaborative spaces for all and/or experience in situations or contexts of censorship, repression, or other attacks to human rights.
(250 words maximum)
|I’ve always been interested in, and later advocated for, freedom of expression and choice, anti-censorship, anti-repression, and for Open Knowledge as a basic human right. Both as a Free Knowledge advocate and in my academic work, I focus on mitigating the gender gap and other knowledge gaps of underrepresented groups, as well as creating safe, collaborative and inclusive spaces, on and off-line.
As a Trustee, I was a leading participant in finalizing the Board resolution for safe & inclusive spaces in Wikimedia projects, which led to the work on the UCoC. I am proud that as a movement, we have matured to realize we must be proactive in order to be truly inclusive and safe for all. I was also closely involved in the board’s approval of the Human Rights Policy, where I advocated for the inclusion of Children’s rights in the policy – a complex (and neglected), yet important topic.
Finally, I initiated and led work resulting in creating the Board’s Community Affairs Committee (CAC), ensuring closer relationships with different communities and different departments at WMF. In order to be inclusive, welcoming and safe for all, we must have the right platforms and mechanisms to listen, learn, understand, strategize and assist when possible. The CAC was an important missing platform, and is working systematically and strategically to create safe spaces, better communications between stakeholders, trust-building and bridge-building to improve the work in our movement. This is undoubtedly one of my most important achievements at the Board.
|Experience in relation to (or as a member of, to the extent you choose to share) a group that has faced historical discrimination and underrepresentation in structures of power (including but not limited to caste, race, ethnicity, colour, national origin, nationality, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, language, culture, education, abilities, income and environment).
(250 word maximum)
|I recognize my privilege being White in a democratic society, not under oppression. I was relatively free in life-choices: work, higher education (a “first generation” academic), choosing partners and friends. But I also had to overcome obstacles, first and foremost as a woman in a predominantly male world (Israeli men still earn more than women for similar roles, and dominate high-power roles in and outside academia).
Additionally, as my work and advocacy expanded internationally, I have experienced bias, discrimination, and even bullying / harassment, simply for speaking a non-English language, for being born Jewish and for being Israeli. I have always fought that and did my best to remain impartial. It has taken me time to acknowledge that when I advocate for Free Knowledge and access to information anywhere worldwide; when I advocate for Open Access not only for the privileged; when I advocate for freedom of choice, gender equality and women’s right -- I am making a political statement for a better, more equal, more inclusive world. There will always be forces resisting it, but I will continue to do so with dedication and passion.
Finally, those familiar with my work know I stand for what I believe is right, even when it's not the popular or easy choice. 3 years ago, you put your trust in me and chose to make me a Trustee. I hope you will do that again, allowing me to continue serving our movement. There is a lot to be done and I am ready.
|Verification||Verification performed by elections committee or Wikimedia Foundation staff.|
Verified by: Matanya (talk) 09:04, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
2022 Board of Trustees Analysis Committee Rating
|Candidate Name||Wikimedia Background||Sought Skills||Sought Regional Experience||Human Rights & Underrepresentation||Overall rating from the average score of the four categories||Overall rating from the average score of the nine criteria|
|Shani Evenstein Sigalov||Gold||Gold||Silver||Gold||Gold||Gold|