Katherine Maher

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Katherine Maher
Katherine Maher in 2016
Maher in 2016
Born
Katherine Roberts Maher

(1983-04-18) April 18, 1983 (age 41)
EducationNew York University (BA)
OccupationNon-profit executive
TitlePresident and CEO of NPR
Parents
Maher talking about Wikidata in 2017

Katherine Roberts Maher (/mɑːr/;[1] born April 18, 1983)[2] is an American businesswoman. She is the chief executive officer (CEO) and president of National Public Radio (NPR) since March 2024.[3] Prior to NPR, she was the CEO of Web Summit and chair of the board of directors at the Signal Foundation. She transitioned to the role of non-executive chairperson at Web Summit in March 2024.[4][5] She is a former chief executive officer and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation.[6][7][8]

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Maher worked for UNICEF, the National Democratic Institute, the World Bank and Access Now before joining the Wikimedia Foundation. She subsequently joined the Atlantic Council and the US Department of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

Early life and education[edit]

Maher grew up in Wilton, Connecticut,[2] and attended Wilton High School.[9] Her father, Gordon Roberts Maher, worked in finance in New York City and witnessed the September 11 attacks. He died in 2020.[10] Her mother, Ceci Maher, is a former non-profit executive who was elected to the Connecticut State Senate in 2022.[11] Katherine has two younger brothers.[10]

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 recalled as a formative experience that developed her interest in the Middle East.[12] Maher subsequently studied at the Institut français d'études arabes de Damas in Syria and spent time in Lebanon and Tunisia.[2][13][14]

In 2005, Maher received a bachelor's degree from New York University in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies.[15][16]

Maher originally intended to be an academic and work for human rights and international development organizations.[14]

Career[edit]

Katherine Maher with giddha dancers at WikiConference India 2016

After internships at the Council on Foreign Relations[17] and Eurasia Group, in 2004 and 2005, respectively, Maher began working at HSBC in London, Germany, and Canada as part of their international manager development program.[2][better source needed]

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. She traveled extensively to work on issues related to maternal health, HIV/AIDS prevention, and youth participation in technology.[2] One of her first projects at UNICEF involved testing MediaWiki extensions related to accessibility in Ethiopia.[18] 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.[citation needed]

From 2010 to 2011, Maher worked at the National Democratic Institute as an ICT program officer.[19] 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.[20] She co-authored a chapter on "Making Government Mobile" for a World Bank publication entitled Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile.[21] In 2012, Maher's Twitter feed on issues related to the Middle East was noted for its coverage of the Arab Spring.[22][23]

From 2013 to 2014, Maher was advocacy director at the Washington, D.C.-based Access Now.[24][25] As part of this work, she focused on the impact on people of laws about cybersecurity, morality, and defamation of the state that increase state censorship and reduce dissent.[26] Access was a signatory of the Declaration of Internet Freedom.[20]

Maher and Jimmy Wales at Wikimania 2017

Maher was chief communications officer of the Wikimedia Foundation from April 2014 to March 2016.[24][27][28] She became interim executive director in March 2016 following the resignation of executive director Lila Tretikov[25][29] and was appointed executive director on June 23, 2016;[6][24] the position was subsequently retitled as "executive director and CEO".

Maher stepped down from her positions as CEO and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation on April 15, 2021.[7][8] Maryana Iskander was appointed as her successor.

Maher states that she focuses on global digital inclusion as a way to improve and protect people's rights to information through technology.[2][30][31] In a speech to the Atlantic Council Maher spoke about the challenge of combating disinformation, particularly around critical events like elections and the Covid pandemic. She described the First Amendment as a "number one challenge" in regulating content and fighting disinformation.[32]

From 2022 to 2023, Maher was a member of the US State Department's Foreign Affairs Policy Board, an expert panel established in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to advise US officials.[33][34] As of 2023, she chairs the board of directors of the Signal Foundation.[5] She is also the board chair of nonprofit organization, Adventure Scientists as of January 2023.[35] In October that year, Web Summit appointed Maher as its new chief executive, to replace Paddy Cosgrave.[36]

In January 2024, Maher was named CEO of NPR, and started her job in late March. She subsequently resigned from the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, but continued on the board of the Signal Foundation.[3]

In April 2024, Uri Berliner, NPR senior business editor, published accusations of left-wing bias at NPR in The Free Press.[37] Following Berliner's accusations, conservative journalists and activists including Christopher Rufo criticized Maher for tweets she had made supporting progressive policies and about Donald Trump in 2018,[37] as well as comments Maher made about the First Amendment as "the number one challenge" in the fight against disinformation in a 2021 interview. On April 17, following NPR suspending Berliner, he resigned after 25 years at NPR and criticized Maher's appointment as CEO. Maher defended NPR's record, and stated that her comments regarding the First Amendment were misrepresented and that she has a "robust belief in the First Amendment".[38]

Three Republican members of Congress requested an appearance by Maher as part of their investigation into "allegations of political and ideological bias at the national program producing office of National Public Radio".[39] Maher declined due to a scheduling conflict, as she was previously scheduled to meet with NPR’s board all day on the same date as the committee's hearing.[40]

In May 2024, Maher approved NPR's new editing group, called the Backstop, which caused internal anxiety. Numerous employees worried that the additional layer of review, consisting of six editors and funded by an unknown donor, may be redundant and impede NPR's journalistic process. There are also concerns that the creation of the Backstop could be interpreted as a defensive reaction to Mr. Berliner's essay.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Maher married lawyer Ashutosh Upreti, a former lawyer for Lyft and Apple, in July 2023.[5]

Honors[edit]

Affiliations[edit]

Works and publications[edit]

  • Maher, Katherine (December 2010). "Food Fights—Nick Cullather's The Hungry World: America's Cold War Battle Against Poverty in Asia". Bookforum.
  • Maher, Katherine (March 21, 2011). "SXSW festival takes on board use of technology for social impact". The Guardian.
  • Maher, Katherine (August 17, 2012). "Did the Bounds of Cyber War Just Expand to Banks and Neutral States?". The Atlantic.
  • Raja, Siddhartha; Melhem, Samia; Cruse, Matthew; Goldstein, Joshua; Maher, Katherine; Minges, Michael; Surya, Priya (August 2012). "Chapter 6: Making Government Mobile" (PDF). Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile. Washington, DC: World Bank. pp. 87–101. doi:10.1596/9780821389911_ch06. ISBN 978-0-8213-8991-1. OCLC 895048866.
  • Maher, Katherine; York, Jillian C. (2013). "Origins of the Tunisian Internet". In Hussain, Muzammil M.; Howard, Philip N. (eds.). State Power 2.0: Authoritarian Entrenchment and Political Engagement Worldwide. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-4094-5469-4. OCLC 940726016.
  • Maher, Katherine (February 25, 2013). "The New Westphalian Web: The future of the Internet may lie in the past. And that's not a good thing". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on March 5, 2015.
  • Maher, Katherine (March 19, 2014). "No, the U.S. Isn't 'Giving Up Control' of the Internet". Politico. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  • Maher, Katherine (December 5, 2016). "The Sum of All Knowledge" (Video). Google Talks.
  • Maher, Katherine (October 4, 2017). "How Wikipedia Changed The Exchange Of Knowledge (And Where It's Going Next)". Forbes.
  • Maher, Katherine (October 17, 2017). "Will Wikipedia Exist in 20 Years?" (Video). Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
  • Maher, Katherine (March 12, 2019). "Without Humans, A.I. Can Wreak Havoc". The New York Times.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maher, Katherine (January 10, 2020). "Maher rhymes with car, and is not a cognate of a female horse, a town leader, or a military leader. You'd think the Brits would know this after decades of colonial theory and praxis". @krmaher. Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Boix, Montserrat; Sefidari, María (September 3, 2016). "Maher: "La Fundación necesita reflejar la cultura que queremos ver en la comunidad"" (Video). Wikimujeres. Wikimanía Esino Lario 2016. Archived from the original on September 2, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2017.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ a b Folkenflik, David (January 24, 2024). "NPR names tech executive Katherine Maher to lead in turbulent era". NPR. Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  4. ^ Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher to step down for new job in US radio
  5. ^ a b c Radomsky, Rosalie R. (August 4, 2023). "Was It a Job Interview or a Date? She Soon Found Out". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 14, 2023. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  6. ^ a b Lorente, Patricio; Henner, Christophe (June 24, 2016). "Foundation Board appoints Katherine Maher as Executive Director". Wikimedia Blog. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher to Step Down in April 2021". Wikimedia Foundation. February 4, 2021. Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "[Wikimedia-l] Thanks for all the fish! / Stepping down April 15". wikimedia-l mailing list. Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  9. ^ "More than half of Wilton High makes honor roll" (PDF). Wilton Bulletin. May 10, 2001. pp. 3D.
  10. ^ a b "Obituary of Gordon Roberts Maher | Hoyt Funeral Home". obituary for Maher's father. Retrieved April 22, 2024.
  11. ^ Freda, J. D. (January 9, 2023). "For Wilton's Ceci Maher, becoming CT senator was next step in life of service". Retrieved April 25, 2024.
  12. ^ a b "AUCians Recognized Among Top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders Under 33". The American University in Cairo. October 8, 2013. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  13. ^ Rooney, Ben (June 28, 2012). "Web Can Foment Openness as Corrupt Regimes Fall". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on September 4, 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Katherine Maher, CEO and Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation". Ability Magazine. October 13, 2020. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  15. ^ "2000s" (PDF). NYU Alumni Magazine. No. 22. Spring 2014. p. 59. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 30, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  16. ^ Maher, Katherine. "Katherine Maher | Speaker | TED". www.ted.com. Retrieved November 14, 2023.
  17. ^ ""Katherine Maher"". linkedin.
  18. ^ Maher, Katherine (June 26, 2016). "Wikimania 2016 – Q&A with the ED of Wikimedia Foundation Katherine Maher". Wikimania 2016. Wikimanía Esino Lario 2016. Archived from the original (Video) on May 23, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2017.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  19. ^ "Tech in the Egyptian Revolution" (Video). frogdesign Design Mind. March 12, 2011. Archived from the original on January 8, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Curley, Nina (October 9, 2012). "Resisting Internet Censorship: Katherine Maher of Access at SHARE Beirut" (Video). Wamda. Archived from the original on August 12, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2016 – via Youtube.
  21. ^ Raja, Siddhartha; Melhem, Samia; Cruse, Matthew; Goldstein, Joshua; Maher, Katherine; Minges, Michael; Surya, Priya (August 2012). "Chapter 6: Making Government Mobile". Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile. Washington, DC: World Bank. pp. 87–101. doi:10.1596/9780821389911_ch06. ISBN 978-0-8213-8991-1. OCLC 895048866.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ York, Jillian (April 3, 2012). "A Seat at the Table: A Twitter-ful list of women crucial to foreign policy". Levo League. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  23. ^ York, Jillian C. (June 20, 2012). "Introducing the FPwomerati: Why didn't Foreign Policy include more women in its Twitterati list? Here's a list of 100 female tweeters around the world that everyone should follow". Foreign Policy.
  24. ^ a b c Gardner, Sue (April 15, 2014). "Katherine Maher joins the Wikimedia Foundation as Chief Communications Officer". Wikimedia Blog. Archived from the original on June 4, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Lorente, Patricio (March 16, 2016). "Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees welcomes Katherine Maher as interim Executive Director". Wikimedia Blog. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  26. ^ Fletcher, Lisa (August 8, 2012). "Predicting crime online and offline". The Stream. Al Jazeera English. Archived from the original (TV show) on September 26, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  27. ^ Fitzsimmons, Michelle (January 16, 2016). "Wikipedia is still disrupting after 15 years". TechRadar. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  28. ^ Bradley, Diana (May 15, 2014). "Wikimedia hires Maher to fill chief comms role". PRWeek. Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  29. ^ Tretikov, Lila (February 25, 2016). "[Wikimedia-l] Thank you for our time together" (Mailing list post). Wikimedia-l. Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  30. ^ Maher, Katherine (October 29, 2016). "MozFest Speaker Series: Privacy and Harassment on the Internet". Mozfest 2016. Archived from the original (Video) on August 1, 2019.
  31. ^ "El día que Wikipedia se apagó y decidió dar una batalla política". LA NACION (in Spanish). October 16, 2018. Archived from the original on June 23, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  32. ^ "A conversation with former Wikimedia CEO, Katherine Maher". Atlantic Council. Retrieved April 21, 2024.
  33. ^ a b Toosi, Nahal; Forgey, Quint (June 17, 2022). "Biden's known unknowns". POLITICO. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  34. ^ a b "Katherine Maher". Atlantic Council. Archived from the original on September 27, 2022. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  35. ^ "Board of Directors". Adventurescientists.org. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  36. ^ Goodbody, Will (October 30, 2023). "Web Summit announces new CEO to replace Paddy Cosgrave". RTÉ News. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  37. ^ a b Mullin, Benjamin (April 15, 2024). "NPR C.E.O. Faces Criticism Over Tweets Supporting Progressive Causes". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  38. ^ Bruell, Alexandra (April 24, 2024). "NPR Chief Defends Coverage, Accuses Critics of 'Bad Faith Distortion' of Her Views". WSJ.
  39. ^ Falk, Tyler (May 2, 2024). "House committee to investigate alleged NPR bias". Current. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  40. ^ Mullin, Benjamin (May 1, 2024). "Republicans Call on NPR's C.E.O. to Testify About Political Bias Accusations". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  41. ^ Mullin, Benjamin (May 16, 2024). "New Editing Layer Adds Angst Inside NPR". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 17, 2024.
  42. ^ "Innovators: Katherine Maher". The Diplomatic Courier. September 10, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  43. ^ a b c "Katherine Maher". Barnard College, Columbia University. Archived from the original on April 17, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  44. ^ "People: Katherine Maher". Youth for Technology Foundation. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  45. ^ "Team: Katherine Maher". Truman National Security Project. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  46. ^ "Politico Magazine: No, the U.S. Isn't 'Giving Up Control' of the Internet". Truman National Security Project. March 2014. Archived from the original on April 15, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  47. ^ "Advisory Council: Katherine Maher". Open Technology Fund. Archived from the original on October 13, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  48. ^ "People: Katherine Maher". World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on January 8, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  49. ^ "The Future of Human Rights". World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on April 3, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  50. ^ "Meet the 2019 Class of Young Global Leaders". World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  51. ^ dmalloy (June 22, 2021). "Former Wikipedia chief on fighting censorship and potentially paying contributors to address diversity gaps". Atlantic Council. Archived from the original on September 27, 2022. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  52. ^ "NPR's New Chief Executive Faces Growing Scrutiny Amid Fallout From Senior Editor's Resignation". The New York Sun. April 17, 2024. Retrieved April 18, 2024.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]