Dr. Rajesh Tandon is an internationally acclaimed leader and practitioner of participatory research and development. He founded the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), a voluntary organisation providing support to grassroots initiatives in South Asia, twenty-eight years ago, and continues to be its Chief Functionary since 1982. An electronics engineer (IIT, Kanpur), he completed his MBA from IIM, Calcutta and his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Specialising in social and organisational change, his contributions to the enhancement of perspectives and capacities of many voluntary activists and organisations revolve around issues of participatory research, people-centred development, policy reform and networking in India, South Asia and globally.
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. 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. In addition, he has served as Advisor to the Commonwealth Foundation, UNDP, and numerous other international agencies. 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 Laws (Honoris Causa) in June 2008 in recognition of his pioneering work in the area of civic engagement, governance and community-based research; and the key role played by him in bringing visibility to the vast network of non-governmental and voluntary associations throughout the world, better known as ‘global civil society’. He is the first Indian to be inducted to the International Adult and Continuing Education (IACE) Hall of Fame (class of 2010).