Sangita Iyer has received the coveted title of National Geographic Explorer after winning a story-telling award.
Sangita Iyer is the author of the recently released book, Gods in Shackles, a National Geographic Explorer, multiple award-winning nature & wildlife filmmaker and broadcast journalist, and a biologist. Sangita has recently produced a 26-part short docu-series about Asian elephants, funded by the National Geographic Society’s storytelling grant. She's also the director and producer of the globally acclaimed epic documentary, "Gods in Shackles", which was nominated at the United Nations General Assembly, and has garnered 13 international film festival awards. Sangita received the "Nari Shakthi Puraskaar" - Women Power Award - the highest award for women making a difference in India from the country's President for her courage to expose the plight of captive elephants that are being exploited for profit behind the veil of culture and religion.
During the production of Gods in Shackles film, Sangita was deeply saddened by the plight of Kerala’s festival elephants. She realized that there was a significant lack of awareness regarding the plight of captive elephants, and used Gods in Shackles documentary as an educational tool to empower the people of India, particularly students, who hold the key to the future.
She soon realized that it was also necessary find safe havens for the endangered Asian elephants that were elevated to the status of Heritage Animal in 2010. In 2016, she conceived and founded Voice for Asian Elephants Society (VFAES) in her efforts to empower the people of India to end elephant captivity, especially in religious places that are designed to practice AHIMSA, not cruelty.
Sangita’s deep bond with elephants began when she was around three years old. Her grandparents took her to their family temple in a little village near the District of Palakkad in Kerala, southern India, where she was born and raised. By the age of four her family moved to Mumbai, where she did her schooling and university, but she missed interacting with her soul animals.
After her undergrad degree in B. Sc., Sangita taught in a primary school in Mumbai for a while, followed by a stint as a secondary school teacher in Nairobi, Kenya. She eventually moved to Toronto, Canada, where she went back to school and pursued broadcast journalism, aspiring to educate the masses about nature and wildlife.
Sangita began her journalism career as a news desk assistant at CTV Toronto, then as a video journalist and host at Rogers’ OMNI Television in Toronto. She moved to in 2004, where she reported and anchored the primetime news on Bermuda’s ABC/ CBS affiliate, ZBM News.
In 2008 she co-founded Bermuda Environmental Alliance (BEA), a non-profit organization aimed at educating Bermudians on nature and wildlife issues, and providing practical solutions aligned with earth stewardship. Over the years Sangita transitioned into producing nature and wildlife documentaries harnessing the power of sounds and images to communicate in a manner that resonated with people.
Sangita produced a four-part miniseries, Bermuda – Nature’s Jewel for Discovery Channel Canada’s Daily Planet. She also hosted, executive directed and produced a six-part series of the same title, currently being used as an educational aid in Bermuda’s schools. In September 2012 Sangita was one of the few Canadians selected for The Climate Reality Project training by the former US Vice President Al Gore. She has given several lectures on climate change in Canadian schools and universities.
Nari Shakti Puraskar
The highest award for women making a difference in India – from the Honorable President of India
Gods in Shackles Documentary
Dec 2015 - Nov 2016
Gods in Shackles documentary received 10 international film festival awards
United Nations Nomination
Gods in Shackles nominated at the United Nations General Assembly by the International Elephant Film Festival & CITES (a UN wing for wildlife protection)
Bermuda National Trust
Bermuda National Trust award for Bermuda – Nature’s Jewel
Royal Roads University’s (MA) "Founder’s Award for Leadership, Sustainability, and Personal Development"
Award of Excellence
"Award of Excellence" for M.A. thesis documentary, Connecting the Dots: television news media and climate change
Best Broadcast Journalist
In 2008 Sangita was named the “Best Broadcast Journalist” by the popular Bermudian magazine
DeForest Trimingham Award
In 2007, Sangita received the inaugural DeForest Trimingham Award – top environmental awareness award from Bermuda National Trust for her 13-part series Enviro Shorts.
The prestigious Social Sciences and Humanity’s Research Council scholarship from the Government of Canada
CanWest Global Communications Award
The George and Marjorie New Memorial Award for waste reduction initiatives
Sangita's Academic Qualifications & Other Training
Environmental Education and Communication
Royal Roads University, Victoria
Bachelor of Science
University of Bombay
Broadcast Journalism (Dean's Honorary Role)
Toronto (ON), Canada