Our volunteer national executive board is the backbone of the South Asian Journalists Association. This non-profit journalism organization would not exist without the 11-person team of journalists and professionals, all dedicating their time to hosting events, workshops, newsroom tours and managing our scholarships, fellowships, internship fund and annual journalism awards and dinner.

Current and former SAJA board members at the annual SAJA Awards Dinner in Washington D.C.

SAJA members are now invited to vote online to fill seven (7) open positions on the board.

Please read each candidates' statement and vote for the 7 candidates you would like to see on the 2017 SAJA Board.

**Voting ends at 7pm on Thursday, December 8th, 2016**

Note: You must be lifetime or full member of SAJA member to vote. By voting online, you are submitting a proxy ballot.

If you're not a member, please become one today, and receive special discounts for upcoming events and exclusive emails.

In person voting will occur at the annual members meeting/holiday party at Pondicheri Restaurant on December 8th in NYC.

To register for the general board meeting from

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Click here:

Then come celebrate with use at our annual holiday party!

Register here:

Candidates for SAJA Board 2017-2019:

Ankita Rao
Why do you want to join the SAJA board?
To strengthen the voice of South Asian journalists, and give back to the organization that continues to shape support my career.

What is your vision for SAJA 2017-2019?
This will be a key time to strengthen the voices of diversity in media, and grow a network of journalists across the country. I'd like to foster the voices who aren't in main city centers, especially rural or exosuburban America, and help journalists make an impact from their communities.

Zainab Imam
Why do you want to join the SAJA board?
SAJA is an excellent way to bring together journalists from the region, and those not from but interested in the region. However, I feel that it's focus so far has mostly been on India. I'd like to amplify SAJA's efforts to include journalists and reporting from smaller countries in the region that often receive less attention, to truly showcase the diversity of South Asia.

What is your vision for SAJA 2017-2019?
By 2019, I would like SAJA to:

- Become a resource (for information, contacts, research etc.) for non-South Asian journalists who are interested in learning about the region

- Be recognized as a great starting-point for non-journalists, such as think-tankers, researchers, and private sector professionals, interested in information on South Asia

Prerana Thakurdesai
Why do you want to join the SAJA Board?
As a South-Asian whose context is primarily India and South-Asia, I, initially, struggled to find my feet in the US journalism/work circuit. I find that SAJA has been able to facilitate that much-needed platform for immigrant journalists, like me and those interested in the South-Asian region, to find that grounding amongst people from similar backgrounds and be able to practice journalism that resonates with them. It was very important for me to connect with SAJA members who have made me feel welcome in a new country. Very simply put, I’d like to join the SAJA board to be able to pay it forward. I am also seeking to better understand the South-Asian diaspora and I hope that the SAJA board will give me that opportunity.

What is your vision for SAJA 2017-2019?
I see SAJA as a support and training group for journalists. I would also love to explore more advocacy avenues for the practice of journalism relating to South Asia. Even more so, with reporting, world over, becoming more insular and shrinking budgets of newsrooms, SAJA could play an important role in encouraging newsrooms to looking beyond borders (and oceans!). Hard investigative pieces, for one, are good bait for any news organization.

Hamdan Azhar
Why do you want to join the SAJA board?
Over the next few years, journalism will be more important than ever before, and it's imperative that the industry reflect the underlying diversity of America. As a professional organization connecting South Asian journalists, SAJA can play a leading role in providing both access to opportunity to young people of color and making the media more representative. We can also connect better with our communities and make sure their voices are heard. We can also reorient journalism towards its original activist mission of holding power accountable and ensuring transparency and access to information in a world focused on clicks and engagement.

What role has SAJA played in your life thus far?
SAJA has helped provide me a community of journalists to call my friends and bounce ideas off of. My journalist friendships that I made through SAJA have also been invaluable in supporting and encouraging the growth and development of Muslim Writers Collective over the past few years.

Aparna Ramaswamy
Why do you want to join the SAJA board?
Currently exploring board opportunities that will allow me to contribute and make a meaningful impact even in a small way. The ability to further SAJA's mission by developing and advancing South Asian journalists (especially women) and amplifying their voice using this platform is of particular interest to me.

What is your vision for SAJA 2017-2019?
I'd want to learn more about SAJA, in particular current challenges/problems/gaps, to help inform what the next act is for SAJA and how that then translates into a specific vision and set of priorities. I would want a key focus and priority to be the development and advancement of south asian female journalists and more visible role models (gender/minority diversity gap and opportunity not just in journalism but almost every field).

Malik Siraj Akbar
Why do you want to join the SAJA board?
I have been affiliated with SAJA for nearly seven years. I feel there is not enough presence of Pakistani journalists in SAJA as well as on SAJA Board. I would like to run for SAJA Board to make sure that the SAJA Board is more diverse and representative of all South Asia countries. I am an exiled journalist from Pakistan's troubled southwestern province of Balochistan which gives me unique perspectives and knowledge about challenges of press freedom, attacks on the media and journalists at risk. I can help SAJA develop resources for journalists at risk in different South Asian countries.

What is your vision for SAJA 2017-2019?
I would like to see SAJA become more assertive about safety issues journalists face in South Asia and provide resources, such as SAJA' s reporting fellowships, to highlight the hardships journalists face in South Asia. I would also like SAJA to award the courageous work of journalists who risk their lives in South Asia to report untold stories. I would like to make sure that SAJA remains proactive and people's go-to resource in Washington D.C. SAJA can grow as a big organization in Washington DC, where I live and work, if we devote more time and energy and organize events and workshops. I can help achieve this goal given my own involvement in numerous organizations for which I regularly organize events, podcasts and workshops in the nation's capital.

Nina Sen
Why do you want to join the SAJA board?
I'd like to get more involved in encouraging diversity, mentorship and reporting issues specific to the South Asian diaspora. I would like to be part of shaping journalism in South Asia as the region takes a real foothold in the global, scientific and service industries.

What is your vision for SAJA 2017-2019?
I think SAJA has done an impeccable job of hosting events, workshops, newsroom tours and managing scholarships, not to mention the annual journalism awards and dinner. I'd like to keep these things going and also represent the group at other organizations such as ONA, AAJA etc. so that we can not only collaborate but pique interest of those who need help reporting in South Asia.

Rima Abdelkader
Why do you want to join the SAJA board?
Community involvement

What is one SAJA event or activity you would like to implement?
Monthly gratitude brunch

Mohammad Imran Hossain(Imran Ansary)
What is your vision for SAJA 2017-2019?
I think SAJA will think about victim journalists from South Asia. Support those journalists who are passing their life under fear.

What role has SAJA played in your life thus far?
I think SAJA is a south Asian Journalist Platform. As a Member of this organization I feel myself very strength . I never feel I am alone in this country.

If you have any questions regarding SAJA's elections please reach out to 
SAJA Board Member Trisha Sakhuja at



1) Inside Hindu Nationalism in the US: As the U.S. heads into the final phase of a historic election, Sonia Paul and Mansi Choksi will draw parallels between the world’s largest and oldest democracies.

2) The Cost of War: Women's Health and Reproductive Rights in Post-War Afghanistan: While abortion is illegal in Afghanistan, three years ago, post-abortion care was legalized to enable women who've had incomplete or unsafe abortions to accessing lifesaving care. Sophie Cousins will investigate the impact this has had on women.

To learn more about the SAJA Reporting Fellowship click here:

Meet the winners and finalists of
SAJA's Annual Journalism Awards

Daniel Pearl Award

Winner: Azmat Khan - BuzzFeed
Syed Zain Al-Mahmood - WSJ
Khurrum Anis - Bloomberg

Outstanding Enterprise Reporting
Winner: Jesse Pesta and Preetika Rana - WSJ
Joanna Sugden and Aditi Malhotra - WSJ
Ryan Devereux - The Intercept

Outstanding Business Story
Winner: Amy Yee - Roads and Kingdoms
Diksha Madhok - QZ
Raymond Zhong - WSJ

Outstanding Arts and Culture Reporting
Mansi Choksi - The New Yorker
Winner: Maria Tavernini + Photos by Andrea de Franciscis -
Rhitu Chatterjee - PRI

Outstanding Feature Story
Winner: Natalie Obiko Pearson - Bloomberg

Sanam Maher - The New York Times
Gordon Fairclough - WSJ

Outstanding Photography
Smita Sharma - The New York Times
Winner: Jason Motlagh - Blackbeard Films
Jesse Pesta - WSJ

Outstanding Story on any Subject
Murtaza Hussain and Razan Ghalayini - The Intercept
Winner: Moni Basu +  Photos by Lexey Swall - CNN
Lisa Desai and Yasmeen Qureshi - PBS

Outstanding Editorial/Op-Ed/Commentary on any Subject
Aisha Sultan - St. Louis Post Dispatch
Kavita Das - The Atlantic
Winner: Dipka Bhambhani - Daily Caller

Outstanding Story on any Subject by a South Asian Student in the U.S. or Canada
Winner: Paayal Zaveri - KQED News

Nikita Sampath - Freelance
Vandana Rambaran - Journalism Without Walls

Get Involved!

The new board hopes you will get involved with SAJA activities in 2016.
As always, please send ideas, tips, and suggestions to


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