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Vice President of Global Advocacy San Francisco, CA

The Wikimedia Foundation has selected Rebecca MacKinnon as the inaugural Vice President for Global Advocacy, effective September 27, 2021. In this new role, MacKinnon will provide strategic leadership and direction to the growing public policy team, enhancing Wikimedia’s efforts to establish and defend a legal and regulatory landscape essential to Wikimedia and other free educational projects, as well as to raise Wikimedia’s profile and influence in debates that affect the ability of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects to function as sources of free knowledge.

MacKinnon, a leading expert and advocate for privacy rights and media freedom, was most recently the founding director of Ranking Digital Rights (RDR), a program at New America that works to promote freedom of expression and privacy on the internet through the creation of global standards and incentives for companies to respect and protect users’ rights. Prior to her work at RDR, MacKinnon was a Visiting Affiliate at the Center for Global Communication Studies and an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.

One of MacKinnon’s most defining achievements has been in authoring and publishing the award-winning book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom (2012), one of the first books to publicly discuss the contemporary rise of “networked authoritarianism” and its threat to human rights and democracy. MacKinnon has since used her public platform to raise awareness around free expression and privacy online, holding Board Member roles at organizations including the Wikimedia Foundation, the Global Network Initiative, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Freedom Online Coalition.

MacKinnon’s early career began in journalism in East Asia, culminating as CNN’s bureau chief in Tokyo as well as in Beijing where she was directly exposed to many of the realities of threats to a free press. She is a fluent Mandarin speaker, and a former Fulbright scholar in Taiwan. MacKinnon received her bachelor’s degree with honors in Government at Harvard University, where she was also the Editor-in-Chief of Harvard International Review.

Rachel Ellenport led this search with Emily Chiswick-Patterson, Sofia Vargas, and Megan Gorman.


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