Mark Surman, Canadian commons advocate and Open Philanthropy Fellow, Shuttleworth Foundation
Mark Surman has been an activist and open source pioneer for over twenty years. He serves at present as the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, makers of Firefox and one of the largest social enterprises in the world.
"Mark Surman is in the business of connecting things: people, ideas, everything. A community technology activist for almost 20 years, Mark is currently an open philanthropy fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation in South Africa, where he is inventing new ways to apply open source thinking to social innovation. He is also the partnership advisor and former managing director at telecentre.org, a $26 million effort to network community technology activists in countries around the world. On the side, Mark convenes conversations about all things 'open' in Toronto and around the world.
Previously, Mark was president of the Commons Group, a research and strategy firm focused on collaboration, community building and social technology. He also served as Director of Content and Community at Web Networks, Canada's first and largest non-profit Internet provider, and worked on the team that designed and managed the Government of Ontario's Volunteer @ction Online grants program. Before that, Mark trained social activists to make their own documentaries and worked for a good number of commercial television stations.
Mark's biggest fetishes are community, conversation and collaboration. He has facilitated over three dozen participatory workshops and unconferences, including Open Cities, Hollyhock's Web of Change, CopyCamp, PenguinDay.ca and countless telecentre.org events. "Passionate conversation," says Mark, "is an essential fuel for building successful networks and communities."
When he finds time, Mark likes to write about community, technology and changing the world. He's proud to have written things like From the Ground Up (a nice picture book about why telecentres matter), Commonspace (FT.com book about web 2.0, written before there was web 2.0) and Appropriating Technology for Social Change (SSRC research paper about activism on the Internet). When he was still an idealistic student, he wrote From VTR to Cyberspace, an illustrated essay about Gramsci, community television and the Internet. Now his idealistic ramblings appear on his blog." (http://www.commons.ca/people/mark/)