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. He is also Co-Chair of the UNESCO Chair in 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 Chairperson of the Committee to carry out appraisal of the UGC scheme under ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’ and Member of Expert Group for Development of Educational Framework for Global Citizenship in Higher Education Institutions, constituted by the University Grants Commission.
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 initiatives to promote authentic and participatory development of societies.
Dr. Tandon has taught courses on participatory research & democratic governance in South Africa, UK, Canada, Italy, USA, Colombia, Malaysia, Philippines and Cambodia, in addition to several universities in India. He has written more than 100 books, articles and training manuals on participatory research, social responsibility of higher education, civil society & local governance.
Dr. Tandon has served on numerous Expert Committees of Govt. of India, UGC, UN, 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.