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Katherine Maher
American business executive; CEO and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation

Katherine Maher

Katherine Maher
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American business executive; CEO and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation
Is Business executive Businessperson
From United States of America
Field Business
Gender female
Birth 18 April 1983, Wilton, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
Age 39 years
Star sign Aries
New York University
The American University in Cairo
Katherine Maher
The details (from wikipedia)


Maher talking about Wikidata in 2017

Katherine Roberts Maher (/mɑːr/; born April 18, 1983) is a former chief executive officer and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, positions she held from 2019 to April 2021 and from 2016 to April 2021 respectively. Previously, she was chief communications officer. She has a background in the field of information and communications technology and worked in the non-profit and international sectors, focusing on the use of technology to empower human rights and international development.

Early life and education

Maher grew up in Wilton, Connecticut and attended Wilton High School. After high school, Maher graduated from the Arabic Language Institute's Arabic Language Intensive Program of The American University in Cairo in 2003, which she said was a formative experience that instilled a deep love of the Middle East. Maher subsequently studied at the Institut français d’études arabes de Damas in Syria and spent time in Lebanon and Tunisia.

In 2005, Maher received a bachelor's degree from New York University in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.

Maher originally thought she was going to be an academic and worked for human rights and international development organizations.


After internships at the Council on Foreign Relations and Eurasia Group, in 2005, Maher began working at HSBC in London, Germany, and Canada as part of their international manager development program.

In 2007, Maher returned to New York City where from 2007 to 2010 she worked at UNICEF as an innovation and communication officer. She worked to promote the use of technology to improve people's lives and traveled extensively to work on issues related to maternal health, HIV/AIDS prevention, and youth participation in technology. One of her first projects at UNICEF involved testing MediaWiki extensions related to accessibility in Ethiopia. Another project received USAid Development 2.0 Challenge grant funding to work on the use of mobile phones to monitor nutrition in children in Malawi.

From 2010 to 2011, Maher worked at the National Democratic Institute as an ICT Program Officer. From 2011 to 2013, Maher worked at the World Bank as an ICT innovation specialist and consulted on technology for international development and democratization, working on ICT for accountability and governance with a focus on the role of mobile phones and other technologies in facilitating civil society and institutional reform, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. She co-authored a chapter on "Making Government Mobile" of a World Bank publication titled Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile. In 2012, Maher's Twitter feed on issues related to the Middle East was noted for its coverage of the Arab Spring.

From 2013 to 2014, Maher was advocacy director at the Washington, D.C.-based Access Now. As part of this work, she focused on the impact on people of laws about cyber security, morality, and defamation of the state that increase state censorship and reduce dissent. Access was a signatory of the Declaration of Internet Freedom.

Maher states that she focuses on global digital inclusion as a way to improve and protect the rights of people to information through technology.

Wikimedia Foundation

Maher and Jimmy Wales at Wikimania 2017

Maher was chief communications officer of the Wikimedia Foundation from April 2014 to March 2016. She was interviewed by The Washington Post on United States copyright law.

Maher became interim executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation in March 2016 following the resignation of executive director Lila Tretikov and was appointed executive director in June 2016. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced the appointment on June 24 at Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, Italy, effective June 23, 2016.

In 2019, Maher became CEO of Wikimedia.

In February 2021, she announced her intention to step down from her positions as CEO and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation on April 15, 2021. Maryana Iskander was appointed as her successor.

Personal life

In 2021, Maher said that she intended to move to the East Coast of the United States.


  • In 2013, The Diplomatic Courier named her as one of 99 leading foreign policy professionals under age 33.


  • American University of Beirut, Member of the Board
  • Council on Foreign Relations, Member
  • Sunlight Foundation, Member of the Board
  • 2011: Youth for Technology Foundation, Member of the Board
  • 2013: Truman National Security Project, Policy Fellow, National Security Fellow, and Research Fellow, Democracy & Human Rights Initiative
  • 2013: Open Technology Fund, Advisory Committee Member
  • 2016: World Economic Forum, Member, Global Network Council on the Future of Human Rights
  • 2018: Oxford Union, on Technology and Empire
  • 2019: World Economic Forum Young Global Leader

Works and publications

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 20 Nov 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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