It’s with great pleasure and excitement that we announce the election of a new chairperson and new executive director for the International Association of Religion Journalists.

Peggy Stack photo from St Lake Tribune
Peggy Fletcher Stack, the IARJ’s new interim executive director

The IARJ board has voted to appoint Uday Basu, a prominent writer on religion from India, as our new chair. Peggy Fletcher Stack, an award-winning religion reporter from the United States, has been voted in as our new interim executive director.

Uday and Peggy are keen to take on their new positions as we approach the 10-year anniversary of the IARJ, which has already accomplished many things — including an active website and social-media presence, global online discussions on the issues of the day and nine riveting conferences on five different continents for journalists who write about religion.

I can already feel new energy coming from the election of Uday and Peggy to these two key positions, said Douglas Todd, of Canada, who has been chair of the IARJ for the past six years, the same period that Endy Bayuni, of Indonesia, has been executive director. We couldn’t have found better leadership from around the globe.

Uday Basu
Uday Basu, the new chair of the IARJ board

Uday Basu has worked for India’s Statesman newspaper for over four decades as a senior editor and writer, with a specialty in religion. Based in Kolkata, Uday currently writes editorials for The Orissa Post, an English-language daily in India. He is a regular TV commentator and author of the book, Left Out in Bengal.

It’s a singular honour for me to be entrusted with the role of the chair of the IARJ, which has in its fold journalists from all over the world, said Uday. I feel so humbled and I will do my best to further the cause championed by the IARJ.

Peggy Fletcher Stack, the new interim executive director, is a veteran religion reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune in Utah in the U.S.A. She has won dozens of religion-writing awards and frequently travels the globe on assignment. A dynamic person, the IARJ has been grateful to her for organizing conferences and raising funds.

I am incredibly moved by the board’s trust in me, said Peggy. I believe IARJ can emerge from the pandemic slowdown as strong or even stronger than ever — if we all work together. I am committed to doing my part to help IARJ fulfill its mission as a pre-eminent global network of journalists.

Uday will replace outgoing chair Douglas Todd, a long-time religion and migration writer for the Vancouver Sun/Postmedia News, based in Vancouver, Canada. On an interim basis Peggy will take the position of executive director Endy Bayuni, former editor in chief of the Jakarta Post who is now a member of Facebook’s Oversight Board. Directors voted for both Doug and Endy to remain on the board of the IARJ.

The IARJ board, regional representatives and members around the world look forward with anticipation to the new plans that are coming with the appointments of Uday and Peggy. In the coming year the IARJ is planning to increase its web presence, organize an international conference or two and hold online dialogues among journalists on religion and politics.