Spotlight on community development history – RUDOLF REZSOHAZY 

As we celebrate our 65th anniversary year, we are going to put the spotlight on some of the key players who shaped our profession in those early days.

Rudolf Rezsohazy was born in Hungary, but moved to Belgium at the time of the Hungarian Uprising in 1956. He was a sociologist who from the early 1960s focussed upon the development of co-operatives and on community development particularly in Francophone countries in Africa and South East Asia and in Latin America. Rezsohazy was a prolific writer and educator. He initiated the first courses in community development at the University of Louvain, training practitioners to work in such countries as the Belgium Congo and Burundi as they moved towards and after independence.

Rezsohazy also worked in New York with IACD and in the mid 1970s was instrumental in moving its HQ and secretariat to Belgium. From 1980 until 1997 he was IACD’s longest serving President. Pierre Rozen was appointed Secretary General during this period and under their joint leadership they expanded the association’s profile and  membership across Francophone countries in particular. Rezsohazy was instrumental in organising international community development conferences in Dakar, Kigali, Cairo and Pretoria and in Asia in Seoul, Tapei and Thailand. He wrote several books including  ‘Community Development’ published in 1988 (translated into several languages); regularly spoke at conferences and was an adviser to a number of governments in Francophone Africa and Central America.

We are keen to hear from members about people who were influential in your countries in helping to shape the community development profession.