Prof. Randolf David is a sociologist who has played a dynamic part in achieving social justice in the Philippines, by sharing his knowledge not only with the students through his university lectures but also more widely with the general public through TV programs and newspaper columns. He has also striven for intellectual and cultural exchanges and mutual understanding among Asian countries, through cooperative links with the United Nations University and Japanese university lecturers and intellectuals. His determination and activity to transform currently existing society for the better, by opening universities to the public and by working together with citizens or overseas countries, have won him high praise as a leading Asian public intellectual, a man of action as well as ideas.
Prof. David was born in 1946 in San Fernando, Pampanga Province, which is north of Manila and in the Central Luzon Region of the Philippines. At the age of 15, he was admitted to the University of the Philippines Diliman, studied sociology and graduated with distinction. He promptly got a post of part-time lecturer of sociology, and then the outstanding potential of his talent earned him a Rockefeller scholarship for further study at the Graduate School of the University of Manchester, UK. However, when he was back in the Philippines to collect material for his doctoral thesis, in September 1972, President Marcos proclaimed martial law. Prof. David chose not to go back to the UK to continue his studies there, but decided to throw himself into political and social turbulence of the Philippines and to live through it as a fully involved participant. He went back to his old university as a fulltime lecturer, and ever since, as an educator and researcher, and as an opinion leader in Philippine society, he has been actively engaged in society and has contributed to bringing about democracy, social reform and justice.
In 1977, Prof. David founded the Third World Studies Center at the University of the Philippines, where the harmful effects of authoritative top-down development and the problems of emerging sovereign states are analyzed, and countermeasures to these, and pathways to social development where the general public take the lead, are explored. In partnership with the United Nations University, the Center invites researchers from ASEAN countries and supports research projects, and also welcomes a wide range of visitors such as overseas students, and Filipino or foreign NGO members and activists. The results of this research are reported in the journal Kasarinlan (in English, Autonomy), which was first published in 1985. The publication of Banana and the Japanese (1982) by Mr. Tsurumi Yoshiyuki, a well-known scholar of Asian Studies, was also made possible by Prof. David's comprehensive support for on-site field research and data collection.
After the 'People Power Revolution' in February 1986 which overthrew the dictatorship and led to democracy, Prof. David's commitment to active social engagement brought him an important role as co-producer and host of a weekly TV debate program called "Public Forum". In this program, for thirteen years he picked out pressing political, economic and social issues, and invited members of the general public to discuss these with the government officials responsible and the parties directly involved, and served as coordinator of the sometimes intensely heated debates in Filipino (the national language); he thus helped shape public opinion. Since 1995, he has had his own column in an influential newspaper, "The Philippine Daily Inquirer", and still continues to express his views there in English. His comments on current affairs have been compiled and published in three volumes, which are used as sociology textbooks for university students, but which also explain problems and show the ways to solve them in a plain language.
For his great and enduring contribution to social development in his own country, to mutual understanding in Asian society and to grassroots-level exchange, Prof. Randolf David is truly worthy for the Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.