Randy David: First Filipino Grand Fukuoka Prize Laureate

Filipino sociologist and emeritus Randy David won the Fukuoka 2019 awards. On its 30th anniversary, the committee has awarded the grand prize to David becoming the first Filipino to become a grand Fukuoka laureate.  

“Professor Randolf David has played a dynamic part in achieving social justice in the Philippines by sharing his knowledge as a sociologist widely through university education, TV programs, and newspaper columns, and has made great efforts to promote academic and cultural exchange among Asian countries and to deepen their mutual understanding,” his citation read. 

“His determined actions to improve currently existing society for the better by opening universities to the public and by working together with citizens or through overseas networks has earned him high praise as a leading Asian public intellectual and intellectual activist,” the citation added.

Started in 1990, the Fukuoka Prize has been awarding people who dedicated their lives to preserving and nurturing academia, arts, and culture of Asia.


Actively working to achieve social justice in the Philippines, David is not only sharing his knowledge as a sociologist in university education and with the public through media. He is also cooperating with the UNU and Japanese university students and intellectuals to make efforts in exchanging intellectual and cultural understanding among Asian countries.

During his time at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, he was a scholar by the Rockefeller Foundation. However, in September 1972, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos promulgated martial law while having his doctoral dissertation in the Philippines. For this reason, David decided not to continue his studies in the UK, but to remain in the turbulence of the political society in the Philippines.

third world studies by randy david

In 1977, David founded the Third World Studies Center at the University of the Philippines which analyzes the effects of sovereign development from the top, the emerging independent countries, countermeasures against them, and leading the people for the way of social development. Members of the ASEAN countries researchers were also invited to the project.

The publication of “Banana to Nihonjin” (1982) by Yoshuyuki Tsurumi, a well-known Japanese researcher, was made possible through field research and collection of materials with full support from David.


A long-time professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Randy is a sociologist, currently a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer as well as being a member of the board of advisors of ABS-CBN Corporation.

Built a career around media with countless TV and radio program appearances, a number of award-winning books, and a fulfilling career in sociology, Randy David has perpetually come across as a clear voice of reason and analysis during times of uncertainty. Notably in his significant roles in both Edsa Revolts and currently with the surrounding controversy within the government.

For one who lacks the required doctoral degree, he has established for himself a name not only in sociology as an academic discipline but also in the sociological imagination of those who read him. His reputation as an intellectual giant in his discipline has earned him the title of a full professor at the premier university of the country. In my generation, no one can achieve that title and rank without earning first the academic degree credentials. -Antonio P. Contreras, writer for Manila Times and a professor at De Las Salle University.


Considered as one of the field’s most prestigious recognition, it is also commonly dubbed and referred to as the “Nobel Prize” for Architecture.

randy david

For a moment in his life, David enjoyed being a columnist during Sunday’s while being a professor. It is satisfying and not demanding, he says. Until the revelation of the infamous “Hello Garci” scandal. He realized that the people who should be sharing and lending some clarity towards the uneasy situation are not talking. While watching from the sidelines, David decided to write a series of columns analyzing the conversations, ‘from a strictly theoretical perspective’.

Despite his strong viewpoints, David stresses that, in the end, it is up to the people to make their own decisions and not rely on his or anyone else’s opinions. “I find myself thrust into a role that I did not deliberately choose for myself, like having to speak in rallies and having to accept invitations before communities, schools, religious orders, and various civic organizations. The problem is these are very demanding engagements because people that invite you and listen to you in a sense want you to tell them what to do. I don’t regard that as part of my role, they got to figure that out for themselves. My only intention is to explain what is going on, to give them a necessary perspective, to clarify certain things, it’s not even to furnish and remind them with the basic principles by which we organize ourselves as a society, because that is for them to decide. They are adult citizens of a republic. And they ask, ‘Where do you stand, are you for resignation, impeachment, ouster,’ and so on. I felt it was about time that people really decided for themselves, not just listening, clarifying, or relying on the perspective of analysts and ideologues, but rather to understand things in their own terms, notions of where the country should be going, and decide for themselves what they should do.”


Asian countries have a strong connection despite different ethnicities, languages, and cultures. It has not only kept a long history but also created new things. Now in the era of globalization, the waves of uniformity might affect Asian cultures.  In such an era, it is necessary to protect, nurture, and promote symbiosis with unique cultures.

fukuoka 2018 awarding

Fukuoka has long played an important role in exchanges with Asian regions as a contact point in Japan. Based on these characteristics of Fukuoka, in 1990, the city, academia and the private sector joined together to create the Fukuoka Asian Culture Award in order to contribute to the promotion of mutual culture and mutual understanding and peace in the Asian region. Since then, many great winners have been awarded, and the spread is almost all over Asia.

Cultural exchange leading to the future not only preserves and inherits a unique culture with a long history and tradition, but also looks at and respects new things that are about to be born from change, and learns from them while learning Fukuoka City aims to become an Asian cultural exchange city together with citizens.

This award embodies huge respect towards the people who contributed to the culture of Asia.

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