2011 SAJA Convention Speaker Bios
Malik Siraj Akbar is the founder and editor of The Baloch Hal, Pakistan’s first (and banned) hyper-local online newspaper. He is currently a Hubert Humphrey Fellow visiting journalist at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, DC. (@maliksirajakber)
Vikas Bajaj is a correspondent for The New York Times in Mumbai, India, where he writes primarily about economic and business issues. He was previously based in New York and covered housing and financial markets from June 2006 to March 2009. Mr. Bajaj graduated from Michigan State University in 1998 and joined the Times in 2005, having previously worked at The Dallas Morning News. He was born in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and grew up there and in Bangkok, Thailand. He returned to India in the spring of 2009.
Anjula Acharia Bath is co-founder and CEO of Desi Hits!, a multi-platform media company focused on redefining global pop culture, most recently worked with Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, as covered by the WSJ.
Sayu Bhojwani is founding director of the New American Leaders Project, the only organization in the country specifically focused on preparing immigrants and their children for civic leadership.She served as New York City’s first Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, from 2002 to 2004. In 1996, Sayu started South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!), to develop the leadership potential of immigrant youth in Queens. The first and only organization of its kind, SAYA! currently works with over 500 youth each year.
Monica Buchanan joined the NBC Connecticut news team in October 2007. Monica began her career as a general assingmment reporter for WCTV in Tallahassee, Florida. During her career, she's covered big stories like the Joseph Smith murder trial. The trial received national attention after a car wash surveillance tape of Smith abducting 12 year old Carlie Brucia became prosecutor's main piece of evidence against him. She contributed to news coverage that wond the station several AP awards, including best continuing coverage.
Subrata De is a senior producer at NBC Nightly News, where she works with anchor & managing editor Brian Williams. She most recently traveled to Joplin, Mo., where Williams anchored Nightly News and covered the aftermath of that devastating tornado. Subrata has traveled to over 20 countries with Williams, including Egypt, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Iraq, since he became the broadcast's anchor in 2004.
Bhairavi Desai has been organizing in the taxi industry since 1996 and co-founded NYTWA in 1998. She is a Mets fanatic, a Bollywood buff (ask her about Aamir Khan!), loves the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and is convinced the sun sets and rises around her mother's smile and father’s laughter.
Sharad Devarajan, co-founder, CEO & publisher of Liquid Comics. He is a media entrepreneur, creator and producer. He was previously the Co-Founder, CEO & Publisher of Virgin Comics LLC and Virgin Animation Pvt. Ltd, a set of companies he and his partners originally co-founded in 2005, with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, author Deepak Chopra and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. In 2008, Mr. Devarajan and his partners completed a management buyout of Virgin Comics and renamed the Company, Liquid Comics.
Nik Deogun is the Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief Business News overseeing Business Day content, coverage and production. Deogun joined CNBC in 2010 as Managing Editor, Business News. Deogun joined CNBC from "The Wall Street Journal," where he was the Deputy Managing Editor, a position he has held since July 2008. Deogun oversaw all financial coverage for the news organization and directed the Journal's international network of bureaus and correspondents.
Pawan Dhingra serves as curator of the HomeSpun: The Indian American Heritage Project at the Smithsonian Institution. This is a historic initiative within the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Program to document the lives and experiences of Indian Americans. He also is an associate professor sociology and comparative American studies at Oberlin College. He has won numerous awards, including for his book, Managing Multicultural Lives: Asian American Professionals and the Challenge of Multiple Identities.
Adam B. Ellick is a New York Times journalist who reports internationally in video and print. His 2009-10 coverage of Afghanistan/Pakistan has won awards from the Overseas Press Club, Concentra, SAJA and he was twice nominated for The Livingston Award. He covered the Asian Tsunami, investigated Hugo Chavez's land wars, exposed Karachi’s bondage and fetish underworld, reported on Russia’s anti-American youth movements, and documented the Taliban's crackdown on female education in Swat. Before joining The Times, Ellick worked as a freelance print reporter in Indonesia, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, and in Eastern Europe/Russia. His career began as a Pulliam Fellow at the Indianapolis Star.
Sanjana Hattotuwa is the founding editor of Groundviews (www.groundviews.org), an international award-winning web based citizen journalism initiative that has won critical acclaim internationally as one of the most vital websites for dissent in Sri Lanka. In 2010, Sanjana was the first Sri Lankan to be awarded a prestigious TED Fellowship, two years after he was awarded a News & Knowledge Entrepreneur Fellowship from the Ashoka Foundation.
Rob Harris received a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. Now in his fourth year as a Video Journalist for The New York Times, Rob produces, shoots, writes and edits short form news and documentary. He reported from Haiti during the 2010 earthquake & Cairo during the fall of the Mubarak regime.
An advocate of civil and immigrant rights for ten years, Deepa Iyer is currently the Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). SAALT is the only staffed, national, non-profit organization dedicated to fostering civic and political engagement by South Asian communities in the United States. An attorney by training, Ms. Iyer has served as Trial Attorney at the Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices within the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she investigated, litigated and settled employment discrimination complaints, and worked on policy matters related to racial profiling and immigration enforcement.
S. Mitra Kalita is an award-winning journalist and author. She is a senior writer covering housing and the economy at The Wall Street Journal, and most recently helped launch the Greater New York section as a senior editor. Her second book, "My Two Indias: A Journey to the Ends of Opportunity" was released by Harper Collins India in November. Her highly acclaimed "Suburban Sahibs: Three Immigrant Families and Their Passage From India to America" (Rutgers University Press, Penguin India) dissected how immigrants have transformed suburbia. She has worked as a reporter at the Washington Post, Newsday (where she covered 9/11) and the Associated Press and spent two years as an editor and columnist at Mint, a business newspaper in New Delhi she helped found.
Azmat Khan is a Web Journalist for the award-winning PBS documentary series FRONTLINE. On recent assignment in Egypt for the FRONTLINE documentary "Revolution in Cairo,” Azmat served as an associate producer for the film, while providing social media coverage from the protests in Tahrir Square and producing interactive features for FRONTLINE's website.
Aditi Kinkhabwala writes at the Wall Street Journal, where she covers the Giants and the NFL and has just started writing a weekly column on anything in sports. She was an American Studies major at Cornell and thought a one-year stint at the San Antonio Express-News would be a sweet break before law school – and tweak her mom. Ten years later, she’s written for Sports Illustrated and The (Bergen) Record, been an AP Top 25 Football Poll voter and appeared on TV. Best of all, her mother has stopped wondering where she went wrong.
Danica Lo is the Editor of Racked.com and Author of How Not to Look Fat (HarperCollins). She was a fashion columnist at the New York Post for six years, the Contributing Style Editor at VMan for two years, a regular contributor to US Weekly's Fashion Police pages for four years, and an Adjunct Professor of fashion writing at LIM College. Her work has also appeared in Vogue Paris online.
Kevin Negandhi is currently the 9am weekday SportsCenter anchor on ESPN.. His past experience includes hosting Baseball Tonight, Outside the Lines on ESPN and is a fill-in anchor on NFL Live and First Take. He’s the first Anchor of Indian-American descent to be on a national sports network in American Television history. Kevin joined ESPN in September of 2006 and made his debut on ESPNews in October 2006.
After years of editing NYC, zeitgeist, and entertainment stories at the Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, and the New York Post, Katherine Pushkar is now the Senior Deputy Editor for Lifestyle at Better Homes and Gardens. Coincidentally, she also now has a better home and garden. You can follow her erratic tweets @pushie.
David Rohde is a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter for The New York Times who covered Pakistan and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2009. Abducted by the Taliban outside Kabul in 2008, he was taken to North and South Waziristan and held captive there by the Haqqani network for seven months before escaping from captivity. He also covered the invasion of Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Bosnia. (@rohded)
Beena Sarwar is a journalist, artist, documentary filmmaker and Nieman fellow. She was the editor of Aman ki Asha, a joint peace initiative of the Jang Group Pakistan and The Times of India. (@beenasarwar)
Parvez Sharma is an award-winning, New York-based writer and filmmaker. His first feature, A Jihad for Love, is an international phenomenon with more than 8 million viewers in 49 countries within the first year of its release. Looking at the difficult themes of Islam and homosexuality in a post-September 11 world, the film has won numerous awards and and generated an international media blitz. In early 2011 Sharma blogged about the revolution in Eqypt, providing a local perspective on international events. His commentary and interviews with friends on the streets of Cairo provided an intimate, detailed view of history, as the events unfolded.
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is a journalist and currently produces and co-hosts “The Stream” a new web community with a daily TV show on Al Jazeera English that taps into the extraordinary potential of social media to disseminate news. Before joining Al Jazeera English he worked as a reporter and producer for The Doha Film Institute, PBS’s award-winning documentary series Wide Angle, and The New York Times. He has also worked as a freelance reporter in New York, Beirut, Dubai, Kuwait, Doha and Amman.
Alina Tugend has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She started her career at United Press International in Providence, Rhode Island and has worked as a journalist in Washington, DC, Southern California, London and New York. Since 2005, she has written the biweekly ShortCuts column for The New York Times business section. Her personal finance columns received a Best in Business award in 2011 from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Victoria Will began her career at the New York Post as a staff photographer. In an environment that created headlines like "Headless Body found in Topless Bar" and "Axis of Weasel", Victoria learned valuable skills that allowed her to eventually go out on her own. Now Victoria is a freelance photographer who works appears in newspapers, newswires and magazines world-wide: from the Associated Press to W magazine. She hails from the Nations capital, but now resides in New York with her two French Bulldogs. She also loves Country Music. Please, don't judge.