Former director of the UNTV Mr.George Leclere
On March 30th, a good Friday, I had the honor to talk with the CEO of LGMA, the former director of the UNTV and the creator of many TV awards, George Leclere. George had abundant experience and knowledge in both media and science and considered science and technology vital forces shaping the future TV.
With a French father and a Russian mother, George was born and educated in France. As a teenager, George was interested in chemistry. But when chose it as a major and studied for a while, he found it not as exciting as he expected, and he opted for astronomy.
Holding a degree in astronomy and chemistry from the French University in Paris, George, however, became known for his TV and broadcasting work. In our interview, when asked about why he chose media work over scientific research, George said that he got acquainted to media world by sheer chance. As a TV anchor and producer, George started his broadcasting career in French-speaking channels in Lebanon in 1968. The next year, he was appointed as a special correspondent for ORTF evening news in France. Later, he got a chance to use his scientific knowledge when he was appointed the head of science and technology department at Antenna. He reported many scientific and technological subjects from astronomy to the Internet and advanced TV technology. In the meanwhile, he wrote two books, respectively on solar energy and space exploration.
After fifteen years working for French radio and television, in 1986, destiny led him to UNTV in New York. Though had no diplomatic background, he got noticed by the UN for his ground-breaking interviews with Jimmy Carter, the then-president of the US, and Leonid Brezhnev, then General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He directed 1500 episodes of “UN in Action,” many of which were broadcast on national TV channels in countries with large audiences, such as Russia and China. He also created a joint UN information group, an independent group of journalists and media specialists who got first-hand reports and exclusive pictures of the latest events. In 1993, when the image of the UN was affected by the dangerous situation of the Somalia crisis, George and his crew were associated with the UN peacekeeping force. They arrived three days after the helicopter crash, shot the peacekeepers working, and conducted various interviews and reports on site. Their work eventually helped to restore the image of the UN.
In 1997, George became the executive producer of the international Emmy Awards. He then created the news category in the Emmys, the iEmmys Festival screening the nominated programs, as well as the International Digital Emmys. Since then, to build international TV program competition and award ceremonies became his specialty. The Banff Works TV Festival and the History Makers Awards are among his works. He was also the consultant of the Sichuan TV Festival and the Seoul Drama Awards.
George is also an advocate of environmental protection who uses media to fight global warming. He created initiatives such as “Go for Green” or “District Green”. He claims that his kids and grandkids are his motivations, for the reason that if we continue to destroy our environment and the climate, they will be living in hell. Thus, we have to change our wrong behaviors to create a better world for our next generation.