Wikipedia Founder Launches Liberty & Power Lecture Series

Article ID: 567423

Released: 12-Aug-2010 3:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of Alabama

Newswise — Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and a University of Alabama alumnus, will launch the first year of the Liberty and Power Lecture Series.

The series will explore the relationship between individual liberty and government power across the humanities.

Wales will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, at the Ferguson Center Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public. The title is “Liberty, Power and the Age of Wikipedia.” A discussion will follow.

Wales was born in Huntsville in 1966 and is a graduate of Auburn University and UA. In 2001, with philosopher Larry Sanger and others, Wales launched Wikipedia, a free, open-content encyclopedia, which enjoyed rapid growth and popularity.

As Wikipedia’s public profile grew, Wales became the project’s promoter and spokesman. Wales serves on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization that operates Wikipedia.

In 2004, he co-founded Wikia, a privately owned free Web-hosting service with fellow Wikimedia trustee Angela Beesley. He lives in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The series, founded by Dr. David Beito, associate professor history, will offer speakers who look at the conflict between government power and individual liberty in recent history, particularly in the areas of art, media, technology, the knowledge economy and social history.

The Wales lecture is co-funded by the Charles G. Koch Foundation and UA’s history department, part of The College of Arts and Sciences. The lecture series as a whole is funded by the Koch Foundation.

Upcoming lectures are “The Rise of the Warfare State” by Dr. Robert Higgs on Tuesday, October 5; “A Culture of Liberty vs. A Culture of Authority” by Dr. David Hart on Tuesday, Nov. 9; and “Rights and Race in American History” by Dr. Jonathan Bean, on Thursday, February 10, 2011.

UA’s College of Arts and Sciences is the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.


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