Alain Stanké (Born Kaunas, Lithuania 1934). Alain Stanké, whose real name was Aloyzas-Vytas Stakevicius, was deported to a German concentration camp at the age of ten, and then emigrated to Paris complete his studies. He arrived in Québec in 1951 where he studied literature and translation while working in the field of communications for newspapers (Le Petit Journal, Photo Journal, Perspectives), magazines (Maclean’s) and television networks (Radio-Canada, Télé-Métropole).
During the 60s, Alain Stanké produced a television comedy show that was a huge success and made him a very well-known personality. His programs were produced by Radio-Canada from 1961 to 1967, and a new series of 93 broadcasts appeared on the same network from 1985 to 1988. Meanwhile, he continued to pursue his journalistic career and his various reports were published in major newspapers and reviews in Québec and abroad (via New York Times Syndicate). Equally important was his role as a Canadian correspondent for the daily France-Soir and the prestigious weekly Le Figaro Magazine, (a weekly supplement to le Figaro), for which Richard Nixon accorded him an exclusive interview about the Watergate affair.
From 1961 to 1971, Alain Stanké headed the publishing house, Les Éditions de l'Homme. In 1971, he launched Les Éditions La Presse, and in 1975, he founded his own publishing house, Les Éditions Internationales Alain Stanké. In 1976, Les Éditions Libre Expression was created, which has since came under the ownership of Québecor. It is to Stanké, as editor that we owe the first volumes of the French version of The Canadian Encyclopedia (Encyclopédie canadienne) and La mémoire du Québec.
His rich career has led Alain Stanké to publish more than 2000 works by national authors such as Yves Beauchemin, P.E .Trudeau, René Lévesque, Gabrielle Roy (her final publisher) and many others; his publishing house has featured international authors including Danielle Steel, Richard Nixon, and Han Suyin.
Alain Stanké has been a prolific author with more than 27 works to his credit; essays, biographies and news reports, among them Prague, l'été des Tanks (ed. de L'Homme, 1968); J'aime encore mieux le jus de betterave (1969) an autobiographical account of his childhood during the war; Le Livre des Livres (1988); Lituanie, l'indépendance en pleurs ou en fleurs (1990); and Occasion de bonheur (1993).
Alain Stanké has remained widely known for his philanthropy and his outstanding social and cultural commitment.
He was a member of the Study Committee on Federal Cultural policy. In 1976 and 1977, he was president of the Société des éditeurs de publications internationales d'Amérique. In 1984, he was a member of the jury for the Judith-Jasmin prize for excellence in journalism.
Alain Stanké has been involved in many organizations for social integration. In 1990 and 1991, he headed the federal prison literary and artistic competition in Québec. From 1996, he has been Chair of the Board of Governors for the Travail Sans Frontières Foundation, and he created Télévision sans Frontières "the first television show produced exclusively by street youth."
Beginning in 1997, Alain Stanké has been a major ambassador for Rentre des Arts. In 2000 and 2001, he was Chair of the Cultural Committee for Montréal's Fondation du maire pour la jeunesse, and in 2001, he chaired the first international francophone forum on street work. In 2002, he accepted the chair of honour for the 20th Gala Gutenberg for excellence in graphic communications. In 2005, he headed the jury for the International Festival of Films on Art. A history buff, Stanké sat on the advisory committee of the Historica Foundation (today the Historica-Dominion Institute) whose mission is to promote the recognition and teaching of Canadian history. He was also named Ambassadeur du Montréal Capitale Mondiale du livre.
Alain Stanké's social commitment has led to his presence on many funding campaigns among them for L'Accueil Bonneau, Development and Peace, Bibliothèque Jeanne-Cypihot for the blind, the Québec Literacy Foundation, and LOVE an organization against youth violence.
In addition to his roles as a publisher, writer and journalist, Alain Stanké is an able wood sculptor. Some thirty of his works have been exhibited at the Québec Museum of Folk Culture in Trois-Rivières and elsewhere, namely in Mexico (8 times), Italy, Lithuania and in Paris. Using tree species such as poplar, apple, maple, linden, silver birch, pine and cedar, the main theme of his sculptures is the association between books and wood. By way of example, we can quote from Racine in which "the trunk of a tree merges with a book rising from its branches." Each work is accompanied by a quote of his own or by a famous author.
Honours and Recognition
The multi-talented Stanké has had a very distinguished career.
In 1967, he won the Wilderness Award for his documentary Cent ans déjà! judged as the best footage on Canadian television.
In 1971, Accord and the Québec government awarded him an honorary degree for his outstanding contribution to spreading Québec's influence in publishing and journalism.
In 1993, he received the Communications and Leadership prize from Toastmasters International, for his work as a leader in the Québec-Ontario-New-York region.
In 2009 and 2010, he was a member of the Advisory Council on honorary awards for the Order of Canada.
Proud of his motto "One lifetime is not enough," Alain Stanké remains a key figure in the world of journalism and publishing both in Québec and internationally.