On 6 September, Wikimedia Israel, held an event to celebrate its tenth
anniversary. Wikipedians, volunteers, partners, and donors gathered to
celebrate the success they had all participated in making.
During the event, the “*Wikimedia Awards for the promotion of open
knowledge in Israel*” were handed out by Christophe Henner
(Chairperson/WMF), Itzik Edri (Chairperson/WMIL) & Michal Lester (ED/WMIL).
Four winners received the award for their significant contributions to
promoting Wikimedia’s vision. These awards are the first given out by a
Wikimedia affiliate for such a reason.
*The winners of the awards are:*
- *Israel Internet Association (ISOC-IL):* the association consistently
supported our projects—starting from the first Wikipedia Academy in 2009,
to hosting the 7th Wikimania in 2011, the Pikiwiki project (a database of
free images of Israel), and many other initiatives.
- *Haifa University*: the university is a leading academic institution
with regards to Wikipedia writing assignments. The program they supported
have paved the way for many other academic institutions to join. The
collaboration began in 2011, and since then hundreds of Wikipedia articles
have been written in dozens of courses. The initiators of the project are
Dr. Ory Amitay and Hana Yariv, but so far 22 lecturers have participated in
- *Former Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Piron*: during his term at
the Ministry of Education, Rabbi Piron opened the door to WMIL and our
extensive activity in the education system. The announcement of an official
collaboration between a Ministry of education and Wikimedia was the first
of its kind, anywhere in the world. Due to Piron’s recognition of the
importance of integrating Wikipedia in the education system, 1,200 K-12
teachers have received training on Wikipedia editing basics. Furthermore,
supported by Piron, the high school program where students write Wikipedia
articles has expanded. The program is still active and forms a central part
of our activity.
- *Oren Helman, former director of the Government Press Office*: as
director of the GPO, Helman assisted in promoting an amendment to copyright
law, by which state photographs were released to free, non-commercial use,
thereby exempting the public from paying for usage of GPO photos. Helman’s
work to release state materials is unique in Israel. Together with former
ministers Michael Eitan and Meir Sheetrit, Mr. Helman heralded a change in
the state of Israel’s attitude toward open content.
In ten years, with the support of those and many others who believe in
Wikimedia’s vision, we were able to accomplish a lot together.
Through the Wikipedia Education Program in the past few years, students in
high-schools and academic institutions have written more than 1,500
Wikipedia articles. Several thousand students learned the basics of editing
Wikipedia and nearly 1,200 teachers have received training on using
Wikipedia as a teaching tool. The success of Wikipedia Education Program in
Israel expanded to Arab-speaking schools in Israel by the end of 2016.
Following a three-year campaign, in which Wikimedia Israel was calling for
an amendment to copyright laws, the government of Israel made a
precedent-setting decision to release all the photographs on government
websites under Creative Commons licenses. The law amendment was nicknamed
the ‘Wikipedia law’.
In 2011, we hosted the seventh Wikimania in Haifa, where more than 700 of
the movement enthusiasts from 56 countries attended. Last year, the
International Wikimedia Hackathon was held in Jerusalem, with 130
developers from 17 countries participating. Hosting two international
events like Wikimania and the Wikimedia hackathon was a big success for the
movement in Israel and we are glad the we helped this success to come true.
In Wikimedia Israel, we look forward to further success in promoting open
knowledge in Israel.
You can read & share the blog post:
Chairperson, Wikimedia Israel
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