On Saturday representatives of Mumbai Wikipedia Community, Amitabh Kundan and Pranav (User:Wheredevelsdare), came over to Pune for discussing the forthcoming Wikiconference India 2011 and met up with representatives of Pune community, Sudhanwa Jogalekar, Radha Mishra, Suhel Bohra, Srikeit, Harshad Gune and Ashwin Baindur. The Wikimedia India chapter was represented by Arjuna Rao Chawala (chapter President), the Wikimedia India National Office by Hisham Mundol.
The Pune Wikipedia Community acknowledged the great honour done by Mumbai community in asking the Pune community to co-host the event and promised all cooperation. Subsequently in the evening meetup the members of the Pune Wikipedia Community were informed about this prosal and the Pune community unanimously agreed to particpate and support the venture. Pranav gave a presentation on the progress so far - the suggested dates for finalisation i.e. 5 to 7 Nov 2011, the proposed venues for the meetup, the accomodation, a marquee event featuring Jimbo Wales and a social get-together. Also discussed at the meeting were the proposed makeup of organising committee, the modalities, likely budget, and other issues. The Mumbai meetup where they will discuss these issues is being held next weekend. After that we assume the planning will begin in right earnest. Kudos to Mumbai community for all the footwork and hard work put in to date. In the evening we had the Monthly meetup. Bishakha Datta, Trustee, Wikimedia Foundation graced the meeting with her presence. Attendance was excellent with 50 plus people turning up. Most of these are the eager young aspirants of the Campus Ambassador program. The meeting began with Arjuna Rao Chawala giving a presentation on the India chapter. He mentioned the short history of raising the chapter, its aims and goals and that the chapter has now started soliciting membership. It was my privilege to be the first person to apply for Wikimedia Foundation membership from the community andd I do hope I get serial number 1 in the membership list ;-). http://wiki.wikimedia.in/wiki/File:WikimediaChapterFirstMembershipApplicationFromAshwinBaindur.jpg In all, 24 applications were handed over from Pune community right there and then and others will follow soon. Hisham then addressed the aspirants. He mentioned the role they would play to bridge the gap between people who have the freedom to edit Wikipedia and those who actually do so. He encouraged them to join one of the finest group of people in the world - Wikipedians. He outlined the sequence of events, the training they would receive. He said that due to the need to start off the program right away, the program would begin with those aspirants who already had the skills being looked for especially the knowledge of the Wikipedia world. Howeever, there was an overwhelming need of campus ambassadors; if we say one per class of 50, Pune would require hundreds and thousands of them. So everyone who applied but was not selected in the first round was considered an ambassador in waiting and with the help of interaction and training provided by the Pune community they would be prepared for the next rounds of selection. The aspirants responded with interest and a lot of questions. It was interesting to note that amongst the young folk were some adults who wanted to give back something to society. Coming from varied walks of life, they were yet another face of altruistic Indian society. We also had a couple of professors of the Pune Colleges attending out of their own interest. They were keen to bring these programs into their institutions. LLastly, the community was formally informed about the proposal to co-host the Wikimedia India Conference 2011 which was unaimously approved. This meetup was quite productive and the Pune community took the contact details of all participants, promising to get back to them soon. Warm regards, Ashwin Baindur ------------------------------------------------------
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