Mark Surman

Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation

The web is one of our most valuable public resources — it’s Mark Surman’s job to protect it. Mark is Executive Director of Mozilla, a global community that keeps the web open and free. He is also a loud proponent of universal web literacy.

Mark believes the world needs open technologies like Firefox and FirefoxOS. He also believes that web literacy is just as important as reading, writing and math — and that we all need the right tools and know-how to be citizens of the web. Mark is committed to making sure the Mozilla community has the strength, diversity and resilience to champion these ideas over the long haul.

As part of this work, Mark has established Mozilla as a leading force in teaching the most important skills of our era — how to read, write and participate on the web. This includes the creation of Maker Party, a yearly web literacy campaign that included 3000 volunteer-led pop-up workshops in 80 countries in 2014. Mark is currently leading the expansion of this work by establishing Mozilla Learning Networks in 500 cities around the world. These networks will design, deliver and spread world-class web literacy curriculum and teaching tools.

Prior to joining Mozilla, Mark was awarded a Shuttleworth Foundation fellowship, where he helped advance thinking about how to apply open source approaches to philanthropy; served as Managing Director of, a $26M initiative connecting community technology centers in 30+ countries; and was co-founder and president of the Commons Group, a leading source of advice and insight on networks, technology and social change.

Mark is a prolific blogger, writer and speaker. He is the author of Commonspace: Beyond Virtual Community, published by the Financial Times, contributor to dozens of publications and speaker at 100+ conferences — including major global events like Mobile World Congress, TEDx Kids and World Innovation Summit on Education. Mark serves as a trusted advisor on the boards of the World Bank Solutions for Youth Employment Consortium, the Toronto Arts Foundation and Peer-to-Peer University. He is a past board member of the Connected Learning Alliance, Telefonica’s Think Big, the Association for Progressive Communications, Wild Canada and

Mark lives in Toronto with his wife Tonya, founding Executive Director of the Centre for Social Innovation, and his sons Tristan and Ethan. He holds a BA in the History of Community Media from the University of Toronto.

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