In preparing for the 2017 Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy, we invited all groups concerned with knowledge democracy to convene participatory workshops in which regional papers could be developed and then shared with the Global Assembly Planning Committee for the purpose of helping ensure that the planning process was broadly inclusive, both in terms of the identification of themes to be addressed in the Assembly and the approaches taken to address the themes. In other words, our intention was for the 1st Global Assembly to itself be an action research process involving cycles of problem identification, reflection and planning, action, and data collection and analysis.

The goal was to create a socio-political and culturally diverse space within which concerned people from various parts of the world could meet as a kind of alternative “think tank” that helped point the way towards innovative solutions to global issues by drawing from the wellsprings of knowledge democracy and our shared human capacity to listen to one another. We were interested in the generation of dialogue at the intersections of networks of action researchers, people involved in various participatory forms of analysis and action, and activists working diligently to create an alternative globalization.

This was to ensure that the event was multi-vocal regarding perspectives on research and knowledge production and provided space for diverse views on the role of knowledge and sustainability and the relations between knowledge traditions based on respect for ancestors and Mother Earth and those grounded in western traditions. We called for contributions from around the globe regarding the intersections of knowledge, efforts to restore dignity among those marginalized by globalization and various forms of oppression, and social reconciliation initiatives in areas torn apart by violence and socio-political conflict.

Download the call for workshops: Brief on Regional Workshops Prior to the Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy, 16 June 2017, Cartagena, Colombia. Lesley Wood ( and Mary McAteer ( served as the key contacts for this process.

Pre-conference events, including workshops, panels, and inter-cultural experiential learning sessions, were also held in various locations in Cartagena on June 12, 2017. These events were intended to focus attention on the issues that would be addressed at the Global Assembly on June 16. Christine Edwards-Groves ( and Peter Grootenboer ( served as the key contacts for planning of these events.

We made this invitation mindful that as a part of the 1997 Conference, preparatory workshops were held in various locations around the world, including seven in Colombia and more than a dozen in other countries (see Fals Borda, 1998, p. xiii). The 2016-2017 effort aimed to honor the spirit of Orlando Fals Borda’s earlier work with global convergences and create an opportunity to connect and reconnect with the variety of new convergences across the globe showing potential for forging post-colonial / post-neo-liberal development pathways.

Reports and summaries of the pre-conference events can be found here:

  • Initial analysis of some of the pre-conference workshops: Overview Report of Workshops GAKD
  • Reports on six pre-conference workshops held by the Faculty of Pedagogy and Educational Innovation at the Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico
  • Organizer reflections and report, including living posters, from the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) study day/pre-conference workshop held February 4, 2017 in Bath, England
  • Report from the Nordic Network for Action Research pre-conference workshop held March 22, 2017 in Copenhagen
  • Report from the South African Education Research Association (SAERA) Action Research SIG pre-conference workshop held April 7, 2017 in Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • Report from the Mongolia regional pre-conference workshop held April 14, 2017 at the Mongolian National University of Education
  • Report from a pre-conference workshop for Pennsylvania educators held April 18, 2017 at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
  • Report (in Spanish) from the pre-conference workshop held at the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Colombia on April 25, 2017 on the theme Taller participativo: Legado y vigencia del pensamiento de Fals Borda
  • Report from an online workshop facilitated by Dr. Emmanuel Tetteh on May 28, 2017
  • Summary of feedback from pre-conference workshops held June 5-8, 2017 in Bogota, Colombia
  • Report from a local virtual workshop held June 12 and 16, 2017 focusing on Promoting a Participatory Convergence in a Spanish Context
  • Report from Francophone action researchers
  • Notes from the International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research workshop held in Ireland
  • International Transformative Confluence at the Source of the Nile in Jinja and Walusi Hills, Uganda