Kaarel introduced the session to the whole audience by stating that it was a special day because participants could talk about their dreams. He pointed out how important it was to consider the energy that is put into achieving such dreams, and how he could feel the togetherness in the event. With this in mind, he encouraged participants to move beyond the attitude of drawing lines between affiliates, Foundation, chapters and called upon the diversity in the room. He also acknowledge the Working Group members who had been working hard to understand what needs to change, what would make Wikimedia become the infrastructure of all knowledge… “It’s about people, not process.” he said, and urged everyone to be respectful towards each other as they engaged in conversations within the spaces of the different thematic Working Groups.
The Working Groups’ interaction with the Summit participants continued autonomously throughout until the following day. The summary of their experience can be read in Session 7A.
Time to stop to reflect on the Summit so far, and to hear from the Board of Trustees and ask questions.
The session involved the whole group of participants who had by now spent a whole day in thematic discussions through the support of the scoping questions. Julia Kirchner thanked everyone for all the hard work so far, which was reflected in all the post-it, notes and flipcharts on the walls.
Julia explained the moment was an opportunity for those present to connect with each member of the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation, which would be followed by an optional conversation with a few board members at a time.
The Board members came to the front one by one, and introduced themselves, also talking about what inspired them so far at the Summit:
“We started to build something that was bigger than we thought.”
María Sefidari, presented herself as chair of the board and talked about an inspiring moment happening in the previous day, when her group started the discussions. “At one point it was that magical moment when we went beyond. We started to build something that was bigger than we thought,” she said. She reflected on whether this motivation to something bigger the sum of its parts, engaging in thought-provoking discussions was something that unified the Movement. “I believe so much in this process, I can't tell you how much” she continued, expressing her joy for being present at the Summit.
“I reminded myself that I'm not alone in that mess, we are all in this together.”
Christophe Henner talked about his inspiring moment, upon his arrival to the Summit. “I was overwhelmed by the amount of work we have to do – and I'm one single person” he said, and then described how this feeling was interrupted by meeting someone he did not see for 2 years. “Who is that person there?” he said in a surprised tone. Christopher went on explaining that this feeling of encountering people he admired kept happening since his arrival, reminding himself that he was not alone “in that mess”. This feeling of shifting between fear of not succeeding to being reassured by the relationships within the movement, was something he treasured in such events.
“I imagined what my honeymoon would be like with over hundred people.”
Lisa started by saying she joined the Board only 8 weeks before. Reflecting back on the richness of the experience she said: “I imagined what my honeymoon would be like with over hundred people,” causing the room to burst in laughter. It felt hard for Lisa to just pick one experience. Making reference to a friend that spent his life studying what makes communities, Lisa described the moment she arrived and registered at the event. She talked about being greeted with a smile, which she described as “the international symbol for you to know that you belong to this,” and how she felt that was a very clear and powerful marker of what the Wikimedia community was about.
“I’m a numbers person.”
Tanya Capuano created the audience as a new member of the board. She described herself as a “number person,” explaining how some board members are brought in for specific skills. Tanya is the chair of the audit committee which she considered “the most awesome committee.” Tanya referred to her first Wikimedia event as a moment of inspiration. “It is humbling,” she said. Also humbling, was the energy she witnessed in the previous days: the energy, the passion, the excitement that everyone was bringing. She concluded “I will leave inspired.”
Esra’a Al Shafei
“We don’t just involve people for the sake of involving them, but we really live up to the responsibility.”
Esra’a Al Shafei appreciated everybody's commitment to “extra diversity” and pointed out how important it is to remember that there were many people out of the room (but also some in the room) who come from countries with great censorship and surveillance and. The support she could experience at the Summit was very important, and came in many forms. An inspiring moment for Esra’a came as she walked around to visit the different Working Groups and saw how actively people were suggesting improvements. It truly became a space where the diversity of people is taken in, not just for the sake of involving them, but to really live up to one’s responsibility to gather the voice of all the communities that are underrepresented.”
“We had a bit of a rocky start, but…”
James thanked the Summit participants and remembered the lovely moment of seeing the [Movement Strategy] process coming together. He continued: “we had a bit of a rocky start, but then you know, small groups start working together, as we sat down together, as we worked on strategies together…”. “I'm always blown away by the passion and the intelligence of various entities in our movement,” he said.
“This is one of the places in the world where I feel welcomed bringing a plushy.”
Originally from Ukraine, Nataliia Tymkiv talked about her experience in the Board for 3 years to date. “Wikipedia is really lovely,” she said. While she would profess her love for Wikipedia, Nataliia also said that being alone on a wiki project can also make you feel lonesome, and disconnected from other people for some reason. For this reason, she appreciated coming to such events, to feel the warmth of human touch expressed through hugs and smiles. She thanked everyone by saying “this is one of the places in the world where I feel welcomed bringing a plushy.”
“First year I felt imposter syndrome, second year I had the courage to put the little dinosaur stickers…“
Making a joke about his age and seniority in the Movement, Raju said “First year I felt imposter syndrome, second year I had the courage to put the little dinosaur stickers.” Raju talked about the feeling of partnership within his working group as his inspiring moment. After spending one year on the phone, with of lots of hours given to interesting work, he confessed “it's great to meet them in person and still see the same passion.” He concluded by showing his optimism about what his working group could achieve, saying “the Partnership group thinks that we can get the 2030 [goals] by 2025 with all of you, so I'm looking forward to continue to do this.”
“My feeling is that there's always some light coming…”
Dariusz Jemielniak, from Poland, introduced himself as being a professor of management specified in collective intelligence organizations. He started by saying “when I heard that there would be a collective strategy process, I thought ‘Oh my God, it's a nightmare. It will not work.” He then went on describing the day before when he realized that the process was actually working. In spite of a lot of frustration where the group was questioning the facilitation, everyone adapted the and allowed the groups to focus on the work they wanted to do. “The facilitation was wise enough to recognize this” he said, then ending with a message of reassurance: “I know it's taking a long time, but my feeling is that there's always some light coming, so we are getting out of this.”