Professor, Society and SPOs

“A country with long tradition of voluntarism and empowerment of the poor and the excluded, today needs strong and effective civil society”.

Mr. Rajesh Tandon is an internationally acclaimed leader and practitioner of participatory research and development. Electronics engineer from IIT (Kanpur), MBA from IIM (Calcutta) and PhD in Management from Case Western Reserve University (USA), Mr Tandon left his teaching job at IIM (Calcutta) to support and champion the cause of building organizations and capacities of the marginalized through their knowledge, learning and empowerment, contributing to the emergence of several local, national and international groups and initiatives to promote authentic and participatory development of societies. He has served on numerous expert committees of Government of India, UGC, United Nations, Commonwealth and World Bank. In 2015, the Indian Adult Education Association (IAEA) awarded Mr 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 Mr 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 Scholarship in 2019. Mr 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. He has served in an advisory capacity on numerous expert groups of several ministries of central and state governments and the Planning Commission in India. He also serves on the boards of many national and international non-profit organisations.


Founded Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), a global participatory research and training centre, and continues to be its President since 1982. Co-Chair of the prestigious UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, since 2012. Chairperson, Committee constituted by the UGC to carry out appraisal of the scheme ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’. Chairperson, Forum for Indian Development Corporation. Founder & Chairperson of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Founder-Chairperson of FIM-Forum for Democratic Governance. Founder-Chairperson VANI (Voluntary Action Network India).

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