Dr. Nirmal Mattoo is new chair of IAAC; Aroon Shivdasani retires

Dr. Nirmal Mattoo has been appointed by the Board of IAAC as its new Chairman effective
July 1, 2018. In its evaluation, the Board concluded that Dr. Mattoo’s background as a
philanthropist supporter of the arts and artists, educator, author, humanitarian doctor and
successful businessman with a strong track record of building non-profit centers of excellence made him uniquely qualified to head and lead a precious asset of the Indo American community.


This announcement was made at a gala gathering at the Indian Consulate in New York on
July 30th attended by over 160 people from the arts, media and Indo American community.
Consul General Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty welcomed the IAAC members in his opening remarks.

The IAAC Board thanks Aroon Shivdasani who has announced her retirement, for her
exemplary sacrifices and contributions over the course of a lifetime in founding and building IAAC to the point that it is the premiere art and cultural organization of the Indo American community.

The existing Board members and advisors have also retired, and their services are acknowledged with gratitude. Finally, the heart and soul of any community is its volunteers and it is gratifying that they will all continue to serve IAAC.

Dr. Mattoo stated, “Aroon has been a trailblazer in fostering the arts and the artist
community in a non-judgmental, nurturing manner that has inspired love, understanding, pride and joy. Her pioneering effort has resulted in a vibrant week-long film festival, a stimulating book festival, ecstatic dance and music festivals, an art festival and much, much more. She has built a supportive group of patrons that exceeds 64,000 in the Tri State area which is an outstanding accomplishment. Many cultural organizations across America have been incubated by Aroon by interning those who wanted to emulate her creation.”

Aroon Shivdasani stated, “The IAAC Board had a choice among many parties who wanted
to take responsibility for IAAC but concluded that nobody else could match the fiduciary spirit that Dr. Mattoo would bring to the IAAC mission and in taking it to the next level. I am truly fortunate that IAAC brand has generated such a positive response over the years from the community. I thank my key team members Aseem Chhabra, Ramneek Kang, Nili Lakhani, Rohan Gupta, Monty Kataria, Abhi Chintakunta, Suman Gollamudi and the hundreds of volunteers who joined me in this cause. I truly look forward to supporting the team and the new Board in achieving their goals.”

Ambassador Chakravorty presented Aroon Shivdasani with an award plaque and also a
shawl in recognition of her services. He stressed the importance of propagating Indian arts. Dr. Mattoo also presented Aroon with a plaque on behalf of IAAC.
Dr. Mattoo announced the appointment of the new Executive Director of IAAC, Mr. Sunil
Hali, as also incoming Vice Chairman of the Board, Rakesh Kaul, Board Members Anil Bansal,
Anurag Harsh and Rajeev Kaul while Professor S. Sridhar, Yakub Mathew and Gaurav Verma join the Advisory Board.

Dr. Mattoo stated, “Sunil Hali is a leader in the field of South Asian media, art and
entertainment field and marketing. Besides founding and guiding premium media platforms such as The Indian Express North American Edition and Divya Bhaskar, biggest South Asian Radio Zindagi, and television channels such as GARV SHREE TV Network and PTC Punjabi TV Channel, he has been responsible for launch of several iconic corporate brands in North America since 2000. He was the organizer for historic The Music Festival of India (1997), Building India Excellence Awards (2016), Zee Gold Bollywood Awards (2000) among others. In total, he has organized over 200 community festivals-events which is a testimony to the formidable strengths that he brings to the IAAC mission of community goodwill and understanding. We are fortunate that he has accepted this role.”

Sunil Hali said, “I am humbled by the community opportunity that has been entrusted in
me by Dr. Mattoo. I will count on his support, and that of the Board as well as my IAAC executive team. I thank Aroon for her commitment to continue as an advocate of IAAC and support me. I am pleased to announce that our very first event will be a literary event with noted author Ramchandra Guha on October 2nd followed by a grand music festival featuring the world famous Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, and his sons Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, at the Zankel at Carnegie Hall in October 2018. We will hold the always exciting New York Indian Film Festival from May 7th to May 12th , 2019. More details and event announcements will follow in due course.”

Dr. Mattoo continued, “I am pleased to announce new IAAC Board appointments. They
bring an eclectic background and exemplify the renaissance spirit that IAAC promotes.”
Rakesh Kaul will be joining as Vice Chairman of the Board and will support Dr. Mattoo in
the mission ahead. Rakesh is a successful author, technologist, business leader with a strong record of contributing to the arts and nurturing non-profit initiatives. His experience and learnings as Chairman of the Board of the largest marketing services company in the world, serving the non-profit sector, will be invaluable in scaling up IAAC.

Anurag Harsh is a global leader in artificial intelligence, digital media and marketing. He
was the founding executive of Ziff Davis, the world’s largest tech, health and lifestyle digital
media company. Anurag is a published author of seven books and over 500 columns in the Huff Post, Forbes and other leading publications. Anurag is also a gifted Hindustani music vocalist with a Sangeet Alankar (Master’s in Music) inspired by and trained under Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Pandit Chandrakant Apte. He has performed two sold-out solo concerts at the Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center including contemporary collaborations with percussionist Sivamani, pianist Utsav Lal, and keyboardist Stephen Devassy. A Wharton and MIT grad, board member of the Elisabeth Morrow School and ex-broadcaster for BBC World, Anurag will serve as the patron and mentor of the music festivals of IAAC.

Anil Bansal is a successful finance, real estate and technology business leader. He was the
co-founder and Chairman of Indus American Bank. He has incubated many startups. He is a
regular supporter of many Indian cultural and religious organizations. He served as a President of Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Professor Shikaripur Sridhar is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics and Director of the
Center of India Studies at State University of New York, Stonybrook. He is the author of several books and academic papers. He will serve as the Mentor for the Literary Festival.
Gaurav Verma is the Chief Operating Officer of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum
(USISPF.org), whose primary objective is of strengthening U.S-India bilateral and strategic
partnership. Gaurav is an Advisory Council Member of the Global Institutional Investors Forum, Advisory Council Member of One Globe “Uniting Knowledge Communities” in New Delhi, and a Member of the Board of Women’s Education Project (WEP) in New York. He brings global corporate and sponsor connectivity to IAAC.

Yakub Mathew is a Managing Director with Citibank where his responsibilities include
building and managing the Ultra High Net Worth business. He is a continuing Advisory Board
member of IAAC and has taken a leading role in enabling Indo American non-profits to scale up.

Dr. Mattoo shared, “It is our intention to add to IAAC at the Board level, at an executive
level, at a creative level and the advisor level. To ensure the highest standards of governance I have appointed Kaul Group, a leading CPA firm, to serve as accountants for IAAC. Rajeev Kaul, the founder, is a strong supporter of the arts and a good fit with IAAC. Along with agreeing to serve on the IAAC Board and also as it’s Secretary, he serves on the Board of WEP and has set up a non-profit in India to support girl’s education.
We look forward to serving the community and invite volunteers, interns, members and
contributors to renew their commitment to IAAC and its mission.”





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