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Professor John Gaventa is a political sociologist, educator and civil society practitioner with over 40 years of experience in research, teaching and organisational leadership in North and South.

Professor Gaventa is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and Director of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) research programme. He previously served as Director of Research at IDS (2015-2019), and as Director of the Coady International Institute and Vice President of International Development at StFX University in Canada (2011-2014). Prior to that, he was a Fellow in the Power, Participation and Social Change team at IDS, and Director of the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability, based at IDS.

Linking research and practice, he has written and/ or edited a dozen books and over sixty articles, book chapters and research reports related to issues of citizenship and citizen engagement, power and participation, governance and accountability, inequality and social change in a number of countries around the world. His most recent books include Citizen-Led Innovation for a New Economy (co-editor with Alison Mathie), Globalizing Citizens (co-editor with Rajesh Tandon) and Citizen Action and National Policy Reform (co-editor with Rosemary McGee).

A former Rhodes Scholar and MacArthur Prize Fellow, in 2011 he also received the Tisch Civic Engagement Research Prize for his distinguished scholarship on civic learning, citizen participation and engaged research. In 2012, he was awarded an OBE for his service to Oxfam Great Britain, where he was chair from 2006 – 2011. He holds a DPhil degree from Oxford University.


  • –present
    Professor, Institute of Development Studies