2002 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership
Sandeep Pandey is a senior social activist from India.
He co-founded Asha for Education with Deepak Gupta and V.J.P Srivatsoy while working on his Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating in 1991, he returned to India to teach at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and later resigned to dedicate his time to social activism. More recently he has founded a people’s group named Asha Parivar that focuses on strengthening democracy at the grassroots.
For his years of dedicated service and leadership he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2002, often considered the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize. He was selected in the ‘Emergent Leadership Category,’ and is among five others to have won the coveted award till 2002. At 37, he is also the youngest Indian to have been conferred the award.
He is an alumnus of the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University.
He leads National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), which happens to be the largest network of grassroot people’s movements in India.
At present his work at Asha Parivar is focused on Right to Information and other forms of citizen participation in removing corruption and improving the efficiency of government policy implementation.
He is also a former adviser to the Indian government’s Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE).
His pro-democracy stance on Jammu and Kashmir is considered ‘anti-India’ by some conservatives. They are also critical of what they see as his support to the naxalites, though, he only attended a meeting of the CPI-ML( not to be confused with the CPI(Maoist).