Van Sotir Christo was born in the city of Korça in southern Albania, and brought to America at the age of one before World War II. He served as a Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Chaffee, DE230, during WWII in the Pacific. Until he formed the non-profit Frosina Information Network, an Albanian immigrant and cultural resource, he was President and Creative Director from 1960 to 1993 of the Van Christo Advertising Agency serving industrial and hi-tech clients in the USA, Canada, and Europe. His advertising agency won just about every award that was offered by the advertising industry. He won the prestigious CLIO award on two separate occasions that is considered the Academy Award of Advertising.
From 1966 to 1981, he also created the Van Christo Radio Theatre where he broadcast Old-Time Radio drama over Greater Boston radio stations, WCRB and WBUR. He was also Executive Producer and director of an award-winning radio program that he created especially for children called “The Treehouse” that was praised by judges for its “informative and entertaining format which capitalizes on radio’s ability to stimulate young imaginations.” He has also served as a consultant on specialized radio programming for children to National Public Radio (NPR), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the U.S. Department of Education.
Van Christo recently donated his personal collection of some 2000 Old-Time Radio programs to the Special Collections Department of the Mugar Library at Boston University. The collection is now in the process of being catalogued as the Van Christo Radio Theatre Archive where it will be made available to students and scholars alike. He is a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University from which he received a BA degree in the English Language and English Literature.
Van Christo has been interviewed by several Greater Boston TV and radio stations, CBS radio, the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Marti, Wisconsin Public Radio, Associated Press, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Los Angeles Daily News, and other media where he has provided commentaries on changing political situations in Albania, and, more recently, about Kosova. In 1992, he and his wife, Jane Christo who was General Manager of NPR Radio Station WBUR in Boston, were invited by the United States Information Agency of the U.S. State Department to serve as consultant-advisors to Radio Tirana. This initial working visit was so well received by the Albanians that they were invited back four additional times, and their last visit to Albania in 1996 was expanded to include four radio stations in Romania.
In 1996, Van Christo was nominated for the post of Ambassador to Albania by U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, former U.S. Congressman Robert Drinan, community and business leaders. In 1994, he was appointed by then Massachusetts Governor William Weld to his Governor’s Advisory Council on Immigrants and Refugees, and then re-appointed in 1997 by Governor A. Paul Cellucci. In 1998, he was also appointed to Massachusetts Health Commisioner Howard K. Koh’s Refugee and Immigrant Health Advisory Committee. He is the father of four children – Jeffrey Dean, Pira Frosina, Tana Marika, and Zachary Tomor.