Source: Ridiff on the Net
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, February 3, 2001: Vasudha Narayanan grew up in conservative Chennai where religion, culture, tradition, history, philosophy and temples formed the backdrop of her environment, nurturing her curiosity about Hinduism. Narayanan, 47, a professor of religion at the University of Florida at Gainesville and an author, was recently chosen as the President-elect of the American Academy of Religion. She is the first non-Jewish or non-Christian to hold the office in its 92-year history. With 9,000 members, the Atlanta-based organization is the world's largest association of academics who research or teach topics related to religion. Narayanan believes ''faith cuts across many social boundaries'' and ''people have an inborn need to connect to religion,'' because it forms the base of their values.