Orlando Fals Borda was born in 1925 in Barranquilla, Colombia. He studied history and sociology at the University of Dubuque, University of Minnesota, as well as the University of Florida in the US. In the late fifties he returned to Colombia. From 1959 to 1961 he was the agricultural minister. In the sixties he founded the first sociology department in Latin America at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota, in addition to founding the Colombian Association for Sociology. He created these organizations with the hopes of creating a community for social scientists who were trying to understand the national reality of Colombia.
In 1979 he was wrongly accused and imprisoned by Julio Cesar Turbay Ayalas regime and forced to abandon his research institute FUNDARCO, Fundacion de ana?lisis de la realidad colombiana (Foundation for the Analysis of the Realities of Colombia). Orlando Fals Borda was one of the most significant leaders of the Participatory Action Research (PAR). He was involved in their business aspects, research, qualitative research methods, and new forms of experimental research. The sociological investigations and methodical innovations were connected to his long-time advocacy of the rights of small farmers in Colombia.
Orlando Fals Borda was an exceptional social scientist, whose work had a profound influence on the societal and political development of Colombia. Orlando Fals Borda died in 2008 in Bogota, Colombia. Orlando Fals Borda published innumerable books and articles and was awarded numerous prizes. He won the Bruno Kreisky Prize in 1981.