From Arte to Alliance: The Trajectory of a French Civil Servant

Lane History Corner, Room 302

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Jérôme Clément

Join us for a conversation with Jérôme Clément on the history of the Alliance Française network, past and present, and of Arte, on Wednesday, May 4th at noon, moderated by Marie-Pierre Ulloa (conversation in French).

2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the French-German TV channel ARTE, upon the leadership of Jérôme Clément, a French figure of the European cultural world for forty years.

Born in 1945, Jérôme Clément came of age during the Algerian War of Independence, the rise of his political engagement on the Left. After graduating from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), Clément began his career at the Architecture division of the French Ministry for Culture in 1974. In 1981, he became the advisor for culture, international cultural relations and communication to the socialist Prime Minister, Pierre Mauroy. In 1984, Clément was named General director of the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC). 

In 1991, he took part in the negotiations with the Germans which led to the creation of the French-German channel ARTE, of which he became president in 1992 for twenty years. Under his leadership, ARTE became a powerhouse, both in terms of producing groundbreaking works such as Corpus Christi (Gérard Mordillat & Jérôme Prieur), S21, la machine de mort Khmer rouge (Rithy Panh), CIA guerres secrètes (William Karel), Massoud l'Afghan (Christophe de Ponfilly), and in developing a cinema unit supporting francophone and world cinema. In June 2014, he was elected Chairman of the Fondation Alliance Française. There are more than 120 Alliances françaises in North America today.

Clément is the author of several books published by Grasset: Un homme en quête de vertu (1992), Plus tard, tu comprendras (2005), Le choix d’Arte (2011), L’Urgence Culturelle (2016), Brèves histoires de la culture (2018), and La Culture expliquée à ma fille (2012, Seuil). He is also a radio producer for France-Culture.