Global Assembly

1st Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy

» View the Report from the 1st Global Assembly in Cartagena by Thomas Stern

On June 16, ARNA will convene the 1st Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy in conjunction with a wide variety of networks, organizations, and institutions involved with action research and participatory approaches to creating knowledge. This gathering will examine global convergences emerging in relation to knowledge production, social progress, respect for epistemological diversity, and alternative globalization. The Global Assembly Co-Chairs are Lonnie Rowell (USA), Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator for ARNA, and Christine Edwards-Groves (AUS), Australian coordinator and international co-leader of the Pedagogy, Education and Praxis network (PEP).

A key question for those working in the social spaces created by the global action research community, Urban Commons movement, the World Social Forum, the Peer2Peer network, the Indigenous Sovereignty and other anti/decolonizing movements, and the flourishing culture of alternative networks in general, is the extent to which epistemological, ideological and political differences can be reconciled in the interest of a sustainable and socially just world. The Global Assembly will address this question in the context of an ecology of knowledges. Our interest lies in “the geopolitics of Knowledge, its eagerness to problematize the equation of who produces knowledge, in what context, and for whom.”[1] Thus, the 1st Global Assembly is being organized with the intention of initiating a thoughtful and strategic assessment of the politics of knowledge creation and the potential of participatory approaches as alternatives to a monolithic knowledge enterprise based on the domination of the Global North and the marginalization and subordination of other knowledges.

The Global Assembly is being designed as a highly interactive event based on experiential learning, with just one featured address included in the day. The feature address will be given by Prof. Boaventura de Sousa Santos, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and a Distinguished Legal Scholar at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Among his many books in English are Law and Globalization from Below: Towards a Cosmopolitan Legality; Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide; and Another Knowledge is Possible: Beyond Northern Epistemologies.

Download the June 2016 Brief addressing the work of the Global Assembly Planning Group. Questions can be addressed to

The June 12 pre-conference events are being organized in conjunction with the Global Assembly as are pre-conference participatory workshops now being convened around the world.

The Global Assembly website is found at

[1] Sousa Santos, B. (Ed.) (2008). Another knowledge is possible: Beyond Northern epistemologies. London: Verso. P. xxxiv.