SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Farhad Darya, Valy Hedjazi, Aryana Sayeed, and Shabana Meheryar Headline Star Performers at the 7th Annual ATN Awards to be held in Delhi in January 2013; Celebration To Raise Awareness and Educational Funds for Young Afghan Women

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Some of the world's most famous Afghan musicians and performers from around the world will gather on Monday, January 21, 2013 at the spectacular Kingdom of Dreams in Delhi, India to celebrate Ariana Television Network's 7th Annual ATN® Awards 2012.  The ATN Awards, the only Afghan Awards show of its kind, recognize and celebrate Afghan music and performing arts while encouraging unity among the global Afghan community through the preservation of Afghanistan's cultural heritage.  This year, in association with the Bayat Foundation, the artists will help raise awareness of the educational needs of young Afghan women.

With Mr. Asad Badie returning to host the event for the third time, the ATN Awards will feature thirteen categories including Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Song, Best New Male Artist, Best New Female Artist, Best Ghazal, Best Duet Song, Best Mahali Artist, Best Lyrics, Best Video, Best Patriotic Song, Best Sofie-Taswwufi Singer, a new category for the youngsters of Afghanistan, the Best Rap song,and a special Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Among the male singers nominated and expected to attend, ATN will welcome Farhad Darya, Qais Ulfat, Valy Hedjazi, Latif Nangarhari, and Jawid Sharif.  Talented women nominees include Aryana Sayeed and Naghma.  A full list of those artists nominated and expected to attend can be found at www.atnawards.com.  A number of Indian stars and celebrities such as the famous Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas will join the celebration as well, as will Zeenat Aman, a leading Bollywood actress in the 1970s and 1980s, and Prem Chopra, a veteran Bollywood actor of more than 320 films.

According to Ehsan Bayat, Chairman of the Ariana Television Network, "The ATN Awards honor the most popular Afghan artists and most exciting contributions to Afghanistan's cultural development over the past twelve months.  The nominated artists and special guests are part of a growing group of cultural ambassadors and global entertainers who have worked tirelessly to elevate Afghan values in the creation of vibrant and authentic music, and have helped make the Awards show the most widely viewed award ceremony for Afghans in Afghanistan and around the world."

This year, the ATN Awards show is partnering with the Bayat Foundation (www.bayatfoundation.org) in an effort to support aspiring female Afghan students pursue and further their educational dreams by providing scholarships, materials, and financial support to educational institutions around Afghanistan.

"There is no doubt that Afghanistan's future rests in the hands and hearts of its young population: It is this young generation – the most avid group of music fans and the most passionate followers of the artists we're celebrating tonight – who will lead our nation towards a brighter future, a prosperous economy, and a dynamic cultural environment.  Therefore, it is our honor to use this evening to provide more young Afghan women with the opportunity to attend school."

About Ariana Radio and Television Network
Founded by Mr. Ehsan Bayat in 2005, Ariana Television and Radio Ariana 93.5 (ATN) are the largest private media channels in Afghanistan, covering 33 of 34 provinces and reaching over 20 million Afghans.  ATN is also available via satellite to Dari and Pashto speaking viewers in Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Australia, and North America, expanding its global reach to more than 70 million Afghan and non Afghan viewers worldwide.  Focusing on information, content and entertainment, ATN programming places particular emphasis on education, health, children's programming, women's and world issues, and the ATN team takes great pride in broadcasting accurate, unbiased news to the audience as events occur.

ATN's goal since launch has been one of inclusion and education, providing a "Window for a Better Tomorrow".  While exposing our radio and television audiences to the best of international arts & culture from around the world, we also expand opportunities for local writers, producers, actors, and directors within Afghan communities. Programs can be accessed via the ATN website, www.arianatelevision.com or via the HotBird and GlobeCast satellites.

About the Bayat Foundation
Since 2005, the US-based Bayat Foundation, a 501 c(3) charitable organization, has promoted the well-being of the Afghan people. Founded and directed by Ehsan Bayat and Fatema Bayat, the Foundation has contributed to more than 200 projects dedicated to improving the quality of life for the youth, women, poor, and elderly of Afghanistan.  Projects have included the construction of new facilities and sustainable infrastructure in needy regions, and the promotion of health, education, economic, and cultural programs. In addition to his charitable initiatives, Ehsanollah Bayat founded Afghan Wireless (AWCC) in 2002 – a joint venture between Telephone Systems International, Inc. (TSI) and the Ministry of Communications – which was the first GSM wireless and Internet Service Provider in Afghanistan, and later established Ariana Radio and Television Network (ATN), which includes Ariana Radio (FM 93.5). For more information, please email [email protected].

CONTACT: Montgomery Simus, [email protected], + 1 201 302 0400

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