Archive:Press releases/Wikipedia receives the Erasmus Prize for collective achievement of its community

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    Wikipedia receives the Erasmus Prize for collective achievement of its community

    Becomes the first collaborative community to receive the honor

    The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation (Dutch, English) in the Netherlands has announced that it will award the Erasmus Prize 2015 to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia community. The Erasmus Prize is one of Europe’s most distinguished recognitions, awarded annually to “a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to culture, society or social science.”

    “The Erasmus Prize has a wonderful history of recognizing people who contribute great things to our shared culture, and I am thrilled that Wikipedia now joins these ranks,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. “I am particularly pleased to note that this is the first time a really large community of people - and the millions of you who have built Wikipedia to date know who you are - has received this prestigious award.”

    The official announcement came from the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation on the same day that Wikipedia marks its 14th anniversary, today, January 15, 2015. This honor provides all the more reason to celebrate the remarkable community whose contributions have made Wikipedia the most comprehensive repository of free information in the history of humanity.

    “I can’t think of a better present for all of the tireless Wikipedia contributors around the world than to win the Erasmus Prize on our 14th birthday,” said Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees and a citizen of the Netherlands where the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation was founded. “I sincerely thank the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation for this great honor.”

    In presenting Wikipedia with the Erasmus Prize, the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation pointed to the massive contribution that volunteers all across the globe have made:

    “Wikipedia receives the prize because it has promoted the dissemination of knowledge through a comprehensive and universally accessible encyclopaedia. To achieve that, the initiators of Wikipedia have designed a new and effective democratic platform. The prize specifically recognises Wikipedia as a community — a shared project that involves tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.”

    “I am proud that Wikipedia is being recognized for the incredible collective impact it has had to date,” said Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “As we look to the future of free knowledge, we will continue to be guided by the principles the Erasmus Prize today honors.”

    This honor is accompanied by an award of €150,000. In keeping with the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation’s intent to recognize the contributions of the Wikimedia community, the Wikimedia Foundation is redirecting these funds towards the Wikipedia community in the form of individual grants and other support for editors and contributors.

    About the Wikimedia Foundation

    The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia consists of more than 33.5 million articles in 287 languages. Every month, tens of thousands of active volunteers contribute to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. According to comScore Media Metrix, the projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive 460 million unique visitors per month on desktop alone, making them one of the ten most popular web properties worldwide (October 2014). Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

    Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact

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