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Journalist Lea Salame hosted by Ziyad Makhoul for first edition of ‘Beirut conversations’

Lea Salame, the most highlighted journalist, TV anchor and radio presenter in France, was hosted, yesterday, by former co-editor in chief of L'Orient-Le Jour, Ziyad Makhoul, for the first edition of "Beirut conversations".

The project that was launched and organized by L'Orient-le Jour, in partnership with Saradar Bank, was supposed to be baptized "Beirut Convergence", and reflect the idea that all the eminent figures of the Diaspora should converge to Beirut share with us their experience.

According to Michel Helou, executive director of OLJ, who presented the project before a huge crowd that gathered at the Audi auditorium, at the ESA Business school headquarters, "the aim of this cycle of conferences is to restore Beirut's status as a linking port for the Lebanese abroad, for one evening". Helou, who also lived abroad, insisted that "it is not about limiting oneself to borders, but about creating a bridge between Lebanon and its Diaspora, with the aim of developing a feeling of belonging and building a common culture". Along with Youssef Dib, the general manager of the private investment Saradar Bank, who is also part of the Diaspora, he spoke of the necessity to identify oneself and shed a light on the Lebanese talents who are present on the international arena.

With a big smile on her face, and with much self-confidence, Lea Salame, who rose at rocket speed in the French field of audio-visual journalism, stepped on scene with Ziyad Makhoul, during a live encounter broadcasted by MTV, the time of a session, during which she spoke about her life path, never letting go of her very natural and simple demeanor.

This 39 year old young lady, the daughter of Ghassan Salame, former Minister of Culture (2000-2003), and of Mary Boghossian, who wakes up, every morning, millions of France Inter listeners, and presents, on France 2, the political program L'Emission, as well as the cultural magazine Stupefiant!, both followed by hundred thousands of TV viewers, was actually born in Lebanon. When Ziyad Makhoul asked her about her most unforgettable early childhood memory in Lebanon, she answered: "a small fall in the IC (International College) playground."

As for the interview that had marked her most, it was the one with Francois Hollande, in April 2016. Back then, she had asked the French President about the French migratory policy, and when unconvinced with his answer, she told him: "This is a joke!". Lea Salame, who believes that her spontaneous thinking comes from her "Lebanese side", says that this interaction was "an inflection" point in her carrier.

The woman, named the best interviewer of France in 2015, relates that in October of that same year, she lived her worst experience, with Alain Juppe, who was then candidate for the primary elections, representing the Right and the Center. "I had this feeling of loneliness and failure, because he remained so cold. Alain Juppe did not wish to enter the game", said the young lady, who also revealed that after that interview, her mother sent her a mail, claiming her for being such a "fail", and pushing her to "stop being aggressive". At first, she rejected that comment, then she admitted that yes, her mother was right.

When Ziyad Makhoul asked her about her reaction when someone told her that she was a dividing personality, and when some people blamed her for being somehow arrogant, she insisted saying: "But I have calmed down", before adding, in her straightforward manner: "one needs time to find their style". And when asked: "when you are born abroad, how to impose yourself, in the face of other journalists, without forcing walls?". She replied, gesticulating, "I am very oriental, overwhelming and not Cartesian enough."

Source: National News Agency

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