Esino Lario: world capital of 12th international Wikimedia Conference

Esino Lario: world capital of 12th international Wikimedia Conference

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With many important cities in the world such as London, Hong Kong, Atlantic City, Mexico city and Manila, all competing to be the host of the 12th international Wikimedia Conference, Esino Lario, a little town that overlooks the Como lake, about 900 meters above the sea level with 760 inhabitants, has been the place where, from June 22nd through June 28th 2016, the Wikimedia community gathered convening “wikipedians” from every part of the world.

The international Wikipedia conference was a three-day meeting that saw the participation of Wikipedia contributors from more than 30 countries in the world who regularly update the entries in the largest open encyclopedia in human history, used by users from all around the world.

As explained by Iolanda Pensa, the organizer of Wikimania Esino Lario 2016, in an interview relased to the Corriere della Sera, the reason why Esino Lario was preferred to the other finalist, the city of Manila, was the strong idea that in the era of knowledge sharing and knowledge open to all, a global event like this could take place either in an international city or in a little town as Esino Lario.

The program of the Wikimania 2016 edition included various kinds of talks, discussions and activities. The Wikipedia experts have talked more in-depth on problems and solutions relating to: State of Research, Imbalance, the Wikisource, Wikivoyage, Wikidata and OSM Projects, the Verifiability of Wikipedia, GLAM Projects, Education and Contests, Licenses and Open Policies, WMF talks, Chapters and Affiliates, the Community, Tools and Extensions, Adaptability and Visibility. The Critical Issues presentations revolved around themes like Technical, Policy, Outreach, Projects, Research and Governance. In Esino Lario the participants had the possibility to discuss in a formal way during the sessions, but also in a informal way thanks to the welcoming bars of Esino Lario.

Esino Lario gives us an example of the meaning of community, of the sense of collective participation and active citizenship. When citizens and institutions work together for the same goals they are stronger and they can cope with any problems thinking in terms of solutions. They create new possibility for all the community. Esino Lario hotels or b&bs did not have enough beds and rooms to host all the participants. Many inhabitants decided to open their houses and offered to host the wikipedians. Most of the people who lives in Esino Lario in particular old generations did not speak English. so they organized English courses and now many inhabitants are able to speak English and will be able to welcome the participants to other gatherings or tourists willing to visit this nice little Italian town. Active citizenship means also this: to think of our local commons in a new way, as a collective endeavor to promote local social and economic progress. We should be proud of this little Italian town for the big contribution that has given to the country as a whole and to universal knowledge. It shows that everybody, everywhere can give a strong contribution to the commons.

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Esino Lario un paesino di 760 abitanti ha ospitato la dodicesima edizione della conferenza internazionale Wikimedia. Ha vinto competendo con grandi e importanti città del mondo diventando la città che ha ospitato il più grande evento di Wikipedia al mondo grazie alla partecipazione attiva di tutti i cittadini che hanno dato un esempio di cittadinanza attiva, che pensa in termini di soluzioni e opportunità e collabora con le istituzioni. Ciò che ha reso vincente il piccolo paese lombardo è stata l’idea che nell’era della condivisione e della conoscenza aperta a tutti, un evento globale può avvenire tanto in una città internazionale, quanto in una piccola città come Esino Lario. Tutti in tutto il mondo possono dare un forte contributo alla conoscenza come bene comun e ai beni comuni.