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During a virtual ceremony at Wikimania, the annual Wikipedia conference, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced the winners of the Wikimedian of the Year award series. Among the seven awardees are three Indian volunteers, recognized for their outstanding contributions
to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
The first ever Wikimedian of the Year Tech Innovator winner is Jay Prakash, a key contributor of the Wikimedia movement who is known for providing technical support to Indic communities, fixing bugs, building new tools, and spearheading technical outreach. The new Wikimedian of the Year Tech Innovator award recognizes an exceptional Wikimedian who has focused on building and
improving the infrastructure that powers free knowledge. While pursuing his graduate degree, Jay established Indic–TechCom bringing together contributors to provide technical support to Indic language Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. He is known as the “go–to” person for technical help in Indic communities, and is an auxiliary member of the MediaWiki Code of Conduct Committee, Lead Developer, MediaWiki trainer, Global Interface Admin, and a contributor with over 20,000 edits.
The first ever winner of the Wikimedian of the Year Rich Media Award is Ananya Mondal, known in her community as the “butterfly Wikimedian” for her stunning photographs of butterflies that are freely available on Wikimedia Commons, the free repository of images, videos, and other media. The new Wikimedian of the Year Rich Media award recognizes an exceptional Wikimedian who contributes non–text content to Wikimedia projects, including photography, video, and sound. Ananya started the Wiki Loves Butterfly project in 2016 after realizing that there was no “butterfly” article on her native Bengali Wikipedia. Since its inception, Ananya has run four editions of the project that has resulted in over 2,600 images being added to Wikimedia Commons, capturing 428 different butterfly species and subspecies.
An Honourable Mention Award was also given to Dr. Netha Hussain, an Indian national residing in Sweden, for her invaluable contributions to health and medical content as well as articles about women and their work on Wikipedia. The Honourable Mention award celebrates exceptional Wikimedians who are widely nominated by their peers and recognised for their work in the public sphere. Dr. Hussain has been a Wikimedia volunteer for over a decade, as well as a medical doctor and researcher who has contributed to English and Malayalam languages of Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, and Meta–Wiki. Throughout the COVID–19 pandemic, Netha wrote, updated,
and translated dozens of Wikipedia articles to ensure reliable information about the pandemic is available for everyone. She also recently launched a project to improve information about vaccine safety topics on Wikipedia, helping combat misinformation. Dr. Hussain has been recognized by the UN for her fight against COVID–19 misinformation.
“This year’s Wikimedians of the Year highlight how far we have grown in the past 20 years and the enormous impact that Wikimedia volunteers can have on the future of free knowledge,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. “They are chosen for their contributions to the projects, their collaboration, and their community spirit. Each Wikimania, selecting these standout individuals is one of my favorite activities as founder, and I cannot wait to celebrate our largest group of winners ever!” The Wikimedian of the Year award dates back to 2011 and has evolved since then to welcome and celebrate Wikimedians from different backgrounds and experiences. This year’s celebration is bigger and more inclusive than ever before, recognizing seven exceptional contributors to the Wikimedia movement in six categories, including Newcomer of the Year, 20th Year Honouree, Rich Media and Tech contributors, and Honourable Mentions, as well as the Wikimedian of the Year.