Sreenivasan co-founded SAJA.
Sree Sreenivasan (Courtesy of his FacebooK Profile)
NEW YORK: Sree Sreenivasan, the Chief Digital Officer of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA), which Sreenivasan co-founded and continues on its Board, are the recipients of this year’s Taraknath Das Foundation Award.
The award, given to individuals or an institution which has contributed to understanding between India and America, was instituted by the Taraknath Das Foundation, which is under the aegis of the South Asia Institute at Columbia University.
It started as an annual award, but no awards were given in some of the years, subsequently. The first recipient was the writer R K Narayan, in 1982. Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, oncologist, writer, researcher and professor of medicine, was the recipient in 2012, the last year the award was bestowed.
Before Mukherjee, there was a big gap in bestowing it – it was given out to the organization Sakhi for South Asian Women, in 2004. Over the years, prominent Indians who have received it include A K Ramanujan, Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee and Abraham Verghese.
The foundation itself was started in 1935, and gives grants to South Asian students in the US and to small NGOs in India.
Sreenivasan has spent the last two decades working to promote better connections between the United States and South Asia. As co-founder and first president of SAJA, he helped bring together a community of journalists at the exact time that the community of Indians and other South Asians changed in fascinating ways, according to a press release by SAJA.
Since 2013, he has been the first Chief Digital Officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He spent more than 21 years at Columbia Journalism School and Columbia University as a professor, dean of student affairs and, eventually, as Columbia University’s first Chief Digital Officer. He has been named by Newsweek as one of the 40 most influential South Asians in the US; by India Abroad as one of the 50 most influential Indians in America and by GQ India as one of the 30 most influential digital Indians globally.
SAJA was founded in March 1994 with 18 members. Today, it connects and serves more than 1,000 journalists and is a resource for those covering South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.
In recent years, SAJA has given away more than $250,000 in scholarships and awards and will be giving away $60,000 again this year through the support of the Arun I. and Asmita Bhatia Foundation and other donors; and more than $20,000 for the landmark SAJA Reporting Fellowships through the support of the Mahadeva Family Foundation.
The award will be bestowed on March 6 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.