Dr. Nora Cruz Quebral, professor emeritus and independent consultant in Development Communication, passed away on October 24 in Quezon City, Philippines. She was 94.
Dr. Quebral was the first person to use and define the term Development Communication in 1971, through her landmark paper Development Communication in the Agricultural Context.
Throughout her illustrious career as an educator, mentor, author, and international consultant, Dr. Quebral continued to fine-tune her definition of development communication to reflect evolving realities. In 2012, she defined the field as “the science of human communication linked to the transitioning of communities from poverty in all its forms to a dynamic state of overall growth that fosters equity and the advancement of the human potential.”
Dr. Quebral was born in 1926 in Manila, Philippines. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English from the University of the Philippines in 1950. She earned her Master’s degree in Agricultural Journalism from the University of Wisconsin in 1957, and completed her PhD in Communication from the University of Illinois in 1966.
Dr. Quebral’s development communication journey began in 1954 when she was appointed to the then-newly established Office of Extension and Publications (OEP) of the UP College of Agriculture. Together with her colleagues Thomas Flores and Juan Jamias, Quebral reorganized the OEP as the Department of Agricultural Information and Communication (DAIC) in 1962. In 1968, DAIC was renamed as the Department of Agricultural Communication. It was elevated into the Institute of Development Communication in 1987, and as the College of Development Communication in 1998.
In addition to her academic work, Dr. Quebral was also a consultant with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Southeast Asian Regional Center for Agriculture (SEARCA), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), among others.
Dr. Quebral has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions in development communication. Among them are the Distinguished Service Award from the Philippine Association of Communication Educators Foundation, Inc. (1995); the Hildegard Award for Outstanding Women in Media and Communication from St. Scholastica’s College (2007); the Outstanding Filipino Women Research Managers and Scientists in Agriculture and Natural Resources from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (2001); and the Asia Communication Award from the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (2008). In 2011, Dr. Quebral was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Dr. Quebral’s ideas continue to influence devcom scholars and practitioners, not only in UPLB but in other colleges and universities offering devcom programs and subjects in the Philippines, as well as in government, civil society, and private organizations in the Philippines and worldwide.
In 2006, Melbourne-based researcher Linje Manyozo recognized Dr. Quebral’s pioneering work in his paper “Manifesto for Development Communication: Nora Quebral and the Los Baños School of Development Communication”. Manyozo noted that “Quebral’s thoughts formulated the foundation glue that erected the Los Baños School (of development communication), and though she has never blown her own trumpets, she and the Los Baños School are the manifesto of devcom itself.” He concluded that “If there is anyone who has to be accorded the honour of being the ‘father of development communication’, then it is none other than Nora Quebral.”
In a statement, the Association of Development Communication Educators and Practitioners commemorated Dr. Quebral, “along with many devcom students, educators, researchers and practitioners who have been inspired, mentored, and transformed by her ideas. As her sons, daughters, and grandchildren in the field, we will continue to carry on what she has started. Our service and our love for devcom will guarantee that Dr. Quebral’s legacy lives on forever.”
The College of Development Communication plans to hold an online tribute for Dr. Quebral, to be held within the week.
In lieu of sending flowers, Dr. Quebral’s family invite her friends, colleagues, and former students to share their memories, photos and videos of her on an online memorial on https://www.forevermissed.com/nora-cruz-quebral/
Librero, F. 2008. Development communication Los Baños style: A story behind the history
Manyozo, L. 2006. Manifesto for Development Communication: Nora Quebral and the Los Baños School of Development Communication. Asian Journal of Communication, 16:1, 79-99, DOI: 10.1080/01292980500467632
Quebral, NC. 2006. Development Communication in the Agricultural Context (1971, with a new foreword) , Asian Journal of Communication, 16:1, 100-107, DOI: 10.1080/0129298050046765
Quebral, NC. 2011. Devcom Los Banos Style. Speech delivered at the London School of Economics.