ARNA CONFERENCE 2017 in Cartagena opens today: Tribute to Orlando Fals Borda’s Legacy to Participatory Research

Orlando Fals Borda event june 2017

40 years ago, Colombian sociologist Orlando Fals Borda introduced the world to Participatory Action Research (PAR).

The Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) brings together people of the Americas and beyond who engage in and support action research. The fifth ARNA conference will be held from June 12-15, 2017 in Cartagena, Colombia. This conference seeks to:

-Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the First World Symposium on Action Research and the 20th anniversary of the 4th World Congress of the Association of Action Learning and Action Research (ALARA) and the 8th Meeting of Participatory Action Research

-To convene the 5th Annual Conference of Research Action Network of the Americas (ARNA)

-To convene the first global assembly for democratization of knowledge.

-Share the results of the work with participatory approaches to research worldwide, and promote dialogues.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the World’s first symposium on Action Research in 1977, and 150th anniversary celebrations of the National University of Colombia; a couple of tribute ceremonies were organized as a mark of respect towards Professor Orlando Fals Borda, in Bogota, Colombia. Prof Borda, a Colombian sociologist and a globally respected academic, was noted for his contribution to the field of Participatory Action Research (PAR). Prof Borda had come to the International Forum of Participatory Research in Yugoslavia in 1980, and named Action Research, PAR ever since.

On June 9, the tribute ceremony was held at the National University of Columbia (UNAL)’s Bogota campus. Here, a young band of indigenous, minority and passionate students designed the most appropriate tribute to not only the academic, but also the person of Orlando. The tribute began with indigenous ceremony, invocation and blessings of indigenous elders, with food, and offerings. The formal conversation in the auditorium recalled intellectual and humanistic streams of Orlando’s contributions. Then, the congregation moved towards the chapel on the campus, and spontaneously began to sing and dance to the music & voice of all those community leaders who had come from all parts of Colombia to pay their tribute to the man they knew.

The ceremony in the chapel, in front of which ashes of Orlando & his partner Maria Cristina Salazar are buried, was an emotional moment. The priest from the north, the African voice, the indigenous priest, the choir that sang Orlando’s composition— invoked feelings that deeply moved all those present there.

On June 10, 2017 a tribute ceremony was held in Saucio, Choconta, near Bogota, Columbia, where Prof Orlando started his first direct field engagement and helped develop a community association & school in 1958. The Mayor of Choconta, citizens, and leaders of the school prepared the programme, including dialogues with community members, folkloric presentations and a field visit.

Dr Rajesh Tandon, President, PRIA (India) and member of UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education –  participated in this event, during which he spoke on Orlando’s legacy to Participatory Research, his connections with PRIA, and contribution to the field of PAR.  Dr. Tandon declared: “We acknowledge with respect Orlando Fals Borda’s influence on PRIA’s approach of knowledge for social transformation, and the use of alternative research and knowledge methodologies aimed at strengthening individuals, groups and organisations. Strengthened by Borda’s vision, we continue to promote bottom-up, Southern perspectives to promote the ideals of an egalitarian, free, just society”.

During the fifth ARNA conference Nancy Pulido and Ivonne Oviedo Poveda – professor of Universidad Distrital – Bogotá, will talk about “El caracol Sentipensante” and about “El aporte de Maria Cristina Salazar a la infancia y adolescencia trabajadora”.


Interview with Joanne Rappaport, LASA and  Georgetown University:



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