Wikipedia, an introduction - Erasmus Prize 2015
From Ewan McAndrew
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 who help shape this initiative.
By distributing knowledge to places where it was previously unavailable, Wikipedia also plays an important role in countries where neutrality and open information are not taken for granted. With its worldwide reach and social impact, Wikipedia does justice to the idea of a single yet diverse world. It is a digital reference work available in various languages, undergoing permanent development. Through its open character, Wikipedia highlights how sources of knowledge are not neutral and must always be weighed. With its critical attention to text, sources and the expansion of knowledge, Wikipedia reflects the ideas of Erasmus, the world citizen after whom the prize is named.
The prize was awarded to representatives of the Wikipedia community on Wednesday 25 November. On behalf of the community, the prize was accepted by three young representatives of remarkable initiatives within Wikipedia: Phoebe Ayers (MIT Libraries), Lodewijk Gelauff (Wiki Loves Monuments) and Adele Vrana (Wikipedia Zero).