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Keynote speakers

Wikimania 2017 will feature a vibrant roster of keynote speakers from Canada and around the globe, including:

Watch the keynotes live! See Livestreamed keynotes.

Susan Herman

Wikidemocracy: How We Can Save Free Speech, Privacy, and Democratic Values

Saturday 09:00-10:30, Ballroom West + Center

Susan N. Herman was elected President of the American Civil Liberties Union in October 2008 after having served on the ACLU Board of Directors, on its Executive Committee, and as General Counsel. As Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, she teaches courses in Criminal Law and Procedure and Constitutional Law, and seminars on Law and Literature, and Terrorism and Civil Liberties. Her most recent book, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy, was published by Oxford University Press in October 2011 and was the winner of the 2012 Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. She is also the author of Terrorism, Goverment and Law: National Authority and Local Authority in the War on Terror and The Right to a Speedy and Public Trial, as well as many law review articles.

Jimmy Wales in conversation with Gabriella Coleman

Community and information in a partisan world
Moderated by Evan Prodromou

Friday 9:30-10:30, Ballroom West + Center

Gabriella (Biella) Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Trained as an anthropologist, her scholarship explores the intersection of the cultures of hacking and politics, with a focus on the sociopolitical implications of the free software movement and the digital protest ensemble Anonymous. She has authored two books, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking (Princeton University Press, 2012) and Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (Verso, 2014), which was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 and was awarded the Diana Forsythe Prize by the American Anthropological Association.

Jimmy Wales is founder of the online non-profit encyclopaedia Wikipedia and co-founder of the privately owned Wikia, Inc. including its entertainment media brand, Fandom powered by Wikia. Wales serves on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit charitable organisation he established to operate Wikipedia. In April 2017, Jimmy launched WikiTribune - a news website involving professional journalists working alongside volunteers to curate fact checked and reliable articles. In 2006 Jimmy was named in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ for his role in creating Wikipedia.

Evan Prodromou is an Internet entrepreneur and wiki and software developer based in Montreal. He founded Wikitravel, and StatusNet, and is currently working on, an artificial intelligence service for developers.

Frédéric Giuliano & Hélène Laverdure

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec: Libraries, Archives and sharing knowledge

Sunday 09:00-10:30, Ballroom West + Center

Frédéric Giuliano Archivist-Coordinator, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). Giuliano holds a Master's degree in History from the University of Montreal and a Master's Degree in Information Science from the School of Library and Information Science. From 2008 to 2012, he was a reference archivist and responsible for the iconographic archives at BAnQ Old Montréal. Since 2012, he coordinates the broadcasting services of the BAnQ Old Montréal archives center.

Hélène Laverdure, Curator and Director General of the National Archives at Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec (BAnQ) since August 2015. Hélène Laverdure began her career in document management in school boards from 1985 to 1992 and the Communauté urbaine de Québec until 1999. She then joined the Government of Quebec, where she was responsible for a project to digitize and distribute documents to the Ministry of Labor until the fall of 2005. She continued her career at the Ministère des Transports As project manager and then as manager in the field of information management. In 2012, she is recruited by the City of Quebec as Director of the Records Management and Archives Division.

Esra'a Al Shafei

Experiences from the Middle East: Overcoming Challenges and Serving Communities

Saturday 17:15-18:00, Ballroom West + Center

Esra'a Al Shafei is a Bahraini human rights activist, an outspoken defender of free speech, and founder of, a network of online platforms that amplify under-reported and marginalized voices. Together with her team, they build web projects that creatively facilitate the struggle for social justice in the region, including platforms such as:, an open source tool that curates and contextualizes data on social movements, Mideast Tunes, the largest platform for regional underground musicians who use music as a tool for advocacy, and, a bilingual tool for LGBTQ youth in the Arab world that leverages game mechanics to facilitate high-quality interactions. She is the recipient of the “Berkman Award” from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society for "outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society over the last decade", the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity, and the "Most Courageous Media" award from Free Press Unlimited.

IMPORTANT: there will be no photos, video or streaming in this session, and we ask that you not take photos, video or audio-record. Those who attempt to take photos anyway will be asked to leave. Due to the nature of Al Shafei's work, online photos may endanger her safety in her home country.

Katherine Maher & Christophe Henner

Wikimedia 2030

Friday 17:15-18:00, Ballroom West + Center

Katherine Maher is the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia and its sister projects. She is a longtime advocate for free and open societies, and an expert in leveraging technology for social impact. Katherine was appointed Executive Director in July 2016, after serving as the organization’s first Chief Communications Officer. She has lived and worked around the world, leading the introduction of technology and innovation in human rights, good governance, and international development. She was a founding member of the UNICEF Innovation team, where she helped introduce open source innovation for health and child welfare. She has worked with the National Democratic Institute, the World Bank, and Access Now on programs supporting innovative technologies for democratic participation, civic engagement, youth entrepreneurship, open government, and human rights. Katherine is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Human Rights, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, a member of the advisory board of the Open Technology Fund and a trustee of the Project for the Study of the 21st Century. She lives in San Francisco.

Christophe "schiste" Henner is the former Board Chair of Wikimedia France and current Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Blade Group, a cloud computing company headquartered in France. At Blade, Christophe is scaling up operations to support the company's transition from a start-up to a global company. Originally from Lavaur, Christophe studied economics and law at the University of Toulouse. He has deep and varied experience across the marketing sector, holding a variety of leadership positions including Head of Marketing at the online media group, L'Odyssée Interactive, Chief Marketing Officer at an international digital media group, Webedia, and later deputy Chief Executive Officer of Webedia's gaming division. Christophe has been an active member of the Wikimedia community for more than 12 years. In 2007, he joined the Board of Wikimedia France and has remained an active Board member in various positions for the past ten years. Nearly three of those years on the Board were spent in leadership roles, including Chair and Vice Chair of the Board. During his time on the Board, Christophe helped lead Wikimedia France through a significant period of growth. This included leading the development of the chapter’s brand and supporting the development of a clear organizational strategy and vision for the chapter.

Invited speakers

Dana Wagner

The Year in Fact-Checking

Saturday 16:00-17:00, Ballroom West

Dana Wagner is co-founder and editor of FactsCan, an independent and non-partisan fact-checker on Canadian federal politics. She is a journalist by training and also works as parliamentary affairs adviser in the office of independent senator Ratna Omidvar. She is a co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada and a board member of the non-profit Refugee Career Jumpstart Project. She has worked in Ottawa, Toronto, Hanoi, and Nairobi.

Alexandra Elbakyan in conversation with Carl Fredrik Sjöland

Interview with Alexandra Elbakyan - Creator of Sci-Hub

Saturday 11:00-12:00, Ballroom West

The websites Libgen and Sci-Hub are two renegade partners seeking to liberate science and scientific knowledge for the masses. The semi-official slogan of Sci-Hub is “To remove all barriers in the way of science”. One would think this goal is laudable, and a struggle very much in line with Wikipedia’s. However, Wikipedia seeks to summarize all human knowledge, while Sci-Hub seeks to free all sources of said knowledge. These two approaches could potentially synergize well, as has open access publishing and Wikipedia. However, to suggest that is to overlook the elephant in the room: Wikipedia follows the tenets set forth by Creative Commons, very much in line with the open source movement. It treads within the law, strictly policing potential copyright infringement, and doing its best to steer clear of legal confrontation and violating copyrights. The same cannot be said for Sci-Hub. Called “The Pirate Bay of the academic world”, the site allows access to more than 62,000,000 academic papers without regard to copyright. Together with Libgen, it provides access to a large portion of the world's published academic books and papers. This has been cause for strife with the publishing industry, which has sued the sites, forcing domain name seizures. However, both remain online – and Sci-Hub is regularly used by hundreds of thousands. Many users are from the developing world, where accessing these sources is unfeasible (even though publishers claim they have advantageous deals with institutes in developing nations). Come see a session where the founder of Sci-Hub speaks about why she created the site – and how she only learned of Aaron Swartz afterwards. Some of her opinions will be controversial, while others will be mainstream. The talk is structured as an interview with a brief introduction to Sci-Hub at the start, followed by questions about how Sci-Hub relates to Wikipedia and their very different approaches with regard to opening knowledge. A shorter Q&A will be held in at the end.

Alexandra Elbakyan is the only known individual from any similar site to Sci-Hub to step forward and engage publicly; as such she is wanted internationally and is currently in hiding. However, she continues to fight for what she believes is a worthy cause – against extortionist publishers. Her work is both derided and praised, and even in hiding she was named one of Nature Magazines top 10 important people in science of 2016. Science Magazine calls her work "an awe-inspiring act of altruism or a massive criminal enterprise, depending on whom you ask". Elbakyan’s background is in computer science and neural engineering. Her personal blog is . Born in Kazakhstan, she's studied at the Kazakh National Technical University and has been an intern at Georgia Tech in the United States. She will be joining us live through video chat.

About the interviewer

Carl Fredrik Sjöland (User:CFCF) has been a Wikipedian for over 11 years, and has since starting medical school. He’s helped organize parts of the WikiProject Medicine Translation Task-force, which has translated high-importance medical information into over 108 different languages on Wikipedia – and is committed to scientific openness.

Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

Panel: Saturday 14:00-15:00, Ballroom Center; Discussion: Saturday 16:00-17:00, Joyce/Jarry

Join the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees for their annual Q&A session with the community, followed by small group discussion.