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Asian Television Network founder supports Fine Arts research and undergraduate students

Asian Television Network founder supports Fine Arts research and undergraduate students

Shan Chandrasekar (Hon. LLD ’10) once said that “education is the greatest opportunity.” Now, the founder, president and CEO of Asian Television Network (ATN) has ensured that students in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts will benefit from a unique opportunity.

Making good on a collaboration he first outlined as part of last spring’s convocation address, York’s 2010 honorary-degree recipient and his wife, Jaya, an executive vice-president and vice-president, programming at ATN, pledged $100,000 earlier this month to create the Shan & Jaya Chandrasekar Visiting Artist/Scholar Residency in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. The commitment is the first step in what Chandrasekar hopes is a long-term association with the University, his family and ATN.

Above: Back row, from left, Paul Marcus, president & CEO, York University Foundation; York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri; Asian Television Network (ATN) President & CEO Shan Chandrasekar. Seated, from left, Faculty of Fine Arts Dean Barbara Sellers-Young and Jaya Chandrasekar, executive vice-president & vice-president, programming, ATN.

“There are untold opportunities for collaboration between artists and scholars and students at York University,” he says. “I’m very keen to collaborate with York on initiatives that advance arts and culture around the world.”

Beginning later this year, for each of the next four years the Shan & Jaya Chandrasekar Visiting Artist/Scholar Residency will support a visiting artist or scholar whose expertise includes arts and culture in the South Asian or Southeast Asian region. The candidate will work intensively with York fine arts students and faculty, supporting research and teaching through activities like master classes, lectures, creative/technical demonstrations, art production, and exhibitions and installations.

“York University is extremely appreciative and grateful for Shan and Jaya Chandrasekar’s generosity,” says Mamdouh Shoukri, York’s president and vice-chancellor. “Shan and Jaya recognize York as an invaluable contributor to Canadian society. They have seen first-hand the impact of our institution in the community, in the province and across this nation."

“Shan is a valued a member of the Fine Arts Advisory Council and has long been an advocate for the arts,” says Faculty of Fine Arts Dean Barbara Sellers-Young. “I share Shan and Jaya’s excitement about what this new residency will mean for our students. The visiting South and Southeast Asian artists and scholars will provide new frameworks for considering the arts and their contribution to society.”

The Chandrasekars have been creating multicultural opportunities in business and the arts since the 1970s when they launched the first television programming dedicated to Toronto’s South Asian community. ATN followed, growing from a single program in 1993 to 33 specialty channels and the first and only 24-hour radio service reaching South Asian audiences throughout North America. In recognition of his contributions to private broadcasting in Canada, Shan Chandrasekar was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2004. Jaya Chandrasekar received the same honour in 2008.

“I’ve always been a bridge-builder, opening doors to diverse avenues of understanding about our world,” says Chandrasekar. “But now I’m working to achieve those goals in a new way, with a new partner.

“Education really is the greatest opportunity. I can only imagine where this exciting collaboration will take us next.”