Catherine Stihler OBE has been an international champion for openness as a legislator and practitioner for over 20 years.
Born in Scotland, Catherine was educated at the University of St Andrews, where she was awarded a Master of Arts (MA) with Honours in Geography and International Relations, and later a Master of Letters (MLitt) in International Security Studies. She also has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Open University. In October 2014, Catherine became the 52nd Rector of the University of St Andrews, and today serves as the Chair of the governing body, University Court. In 2018 she was awarded an honorary doctorate (DLitt) in recognition of her service to the university.
She stood for election as a Member of the European Parliament for Scotland in 1999, representing the Labour Party. At the European Parliament she became one of Scotland’s longest-serving and most respected legislators.
Catherine was elected Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, founded the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform and the Parliament’s All-Party Library Group, and was instrumental in securing graphic health warnings on cigarette packets across the EU.
In 2019, Catherine was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of her services to politics. That same year, she stood down from the European Parliament to become the Chief Executive Officer of the Open Knowledge Foundation. During her 18-month tenure at the Foundation, Catherine redefined its vision and mission to produce a new strategic direction, re-engaged its global chapters and increased the worldwide profile of the organisation.
In August 2020, Catherine was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Creative Commons, a non-profit organisation that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges.
"Catherine Stihler" by Martin Shields is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
I am very pleased to share Creative Commons’ 2019 Annual Report. This report offers an overview of the important work CC did last year across the many domains and subject areas we work in. (Look for CC’s 2020 annual report to be released in early 2021, where we will have lots to share about this … Read More “Creative Commons 2019 Annual Report”
The coronavirus outbreak not only sparked a health pandemic; it triggered an “infodemic” of misleading and fabricated news. As the virus spread, trolls and conspiracy theorists began pushing misinformation, and their deplorable tactics continue to this day. Nonsense has been shared about links to 5G phone masts or that a secret cure already exists, and … Read More “Why Universal Access to Information Matters”
One of our roles at Creative Commons involves influencing policy making at the international level. This is a role we can fulfill notably thanks to our permanent observer status with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the UN agency that shapes international intellectual property (IP) law. However, a few days ago, the Wikimedia Foundation’s application … Read More “In Support of the Wikimedia Foundation WIPO Application”
Did you know that nearly 800 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills? Supporting the worldwide teaching of these vital skills will help build a more equal society, but the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted education in nearly every country. We, therefore, face even greater inequalities and a more urgent need to deliver quality … Read More “Creative Commons Celebrates International Literacy Day”
It is an honor to be joining the Creative Commons team on the eve of its 20th anniversary year. For nearly two decades, this organization has worked to make the world a more open and equitable place. When CC first launched in 2001, I was a recently-elected Member of the European Parliament at a time … Read More “From CC’s New CEO: Working Towards Our Shared Future”