Rajesh Tandon - UNESCO Co-Chair on Community Based Research & Social Responsibility in Higher Education, India

Dr. Tandon is an internationally acclaimed leader and practitioner of participatory research and development. He is Founder-President of Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), a global centre for participatory research & training since 1982. He is also Co-Chair of the UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education since 2012. The UNESCO Chair grows out of and supports UNESCO’s global lead to play ‘a key role in assisting countries to build knowledge societies’. Dr. Tandon also heads the Forum for Indian Development Corporation (FIDC) as its Chairperson. He is also Chairperson of the Committee constituted by the University Grants Commission to carry out appraisal of the scheme 'Unnat Bharat Abhiyan'. Engineering in Electronics from IIT, Kanpur, MBA from IIM Calcutta and PhD in Management from Case Western Reserve University, USA, Dr. Tandon left his teaching job at IIM Calcutta to support & champion the cause of building organisations and capacities of the marginalised through their knowledge, learning and empowerment.

A pioneer of participatory research, Dr. Tandon has given new meaning to academic research by redefining the relationship between the researcher and the researched. He has been contributing to the emergence of several local, National and International groups and initiatives to promote authentic and participatory development of societies. Dr. Tandon has served on numerous Expert Committees of Government of India, University Grants Commission, United Nations, Commonwealth and World Bank. In 2015, the Indian Adult Education Association (IAEA) awarded Dr. Tandon the Nehru Literacy Award. For his distinguished work on gender issues, the Government of India honoured him with the prestigious Award in ‘Social Justice’ in March, 2007. The University of Victoria, Canada, awarded Dr. Tandon the degree of Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa) in June 2008. He is the first Indian to be inducted to the International Adult and Continuing Education (IACE) Hall of Fame (class of 2011). He is also the first Indian scholar to be inducted in Academy of Engagement Scholarship in 2019. 

Dr Tandon has authored more than 100 articles, a dozen books and numerous training manuals on democratic governance, civic engagement, civil society, governance and management of NGOs, participatory research and people-centred development. Some of his recent publications (books) are: 'Strengthening Community University Research Partnerships: Global Perspectives' (University of Victoria Library, 2015); ‘Global Governance, Civil Society and Participatory Democracy: A View from Below’ (Academic Foundation, 2015); ‘Higher Education and Community-Based Research: Creating a Global Vision’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).