Paradise Beckons Beck

Stuart Beck, president and cofounder of Granite Broadcasting Inc., is shifting careers in a big way.

He is resigning from the group owner of eight affiliated TV stations he co-founded to become the first Ambassador/Permanent UN Representative to the Republic of Palau, named to the post by Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.

Beck begins his new role Tuesday, when the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly convenes at UN Headquarters in New York.

Beck's history with the nation stretches to its beginnings. He served as chief counsel to Palua starting in 1977, helping the country gain independence from U.S. administration, for which Beck was given honorary citizenship in 1979. He helped the country draft its first Constitution and install the government. Along with his wife, Ebiltulik, who is a Palauan citizen, Beck has also helped educated Palaun children in the U.S.

At an industry event last February, Beck told Broadcasting & Cable that the Pacific Island nation is "the most beautiful place on earth." The almanac agrees.

Palau is a nation of tropical islands teaming with exotic flora and fauna, situated in the Northern Pacific, southeast of the Philippines. It's main resources are fish, forests and gold. The collective land mass of the some 300 islands in the archipelago is about two-and-a-half times the size of Washington, D.C., with a population of a little over 20,000.

As for any troubles in paradise? According to the CIA, they include typhoons, overfishing, a lack of solid waste disposal facilities, and ecosystem threats from sand and coral derdging.

Beck, who now can claim the honorific, "His Excellency," will remain an active member of Granite’s board of directors. "It would only be for a unique assignment and lifelong dedication to a young and growing nation like this that I would ever consider reducing my involvement with Granite," says Beck.