LERC: A treasure trove on Lebanese migration at NDU

LERC: A treasure trove on Lebanese migration at NDU

A view of the Lebanese Emigration Research Center, which preserves the heritage of those who have migrated from, to, and through Lebanon.

Countries like the United States, Australia and most of Latin America have become global nations largely due to the in gathering of emigrants from around the world, whether the tired, the poor, the hungry and the yearning to be free, or those who simply see those countries as lands of expanding opportunities.

Lebanon is a global nation in the reverse. Its small size and the limited carrying capacity caused by its land, wars, famine and foreign educational missions, its role as a site for rest and rehabilitation center for the Allies during World War II, its Phoenician heritage of adventure and wanderlust, and a host of other factors have led Lebanese to migrate to countries throughout the world. While Greeks, Irish, Chinese and many others have had a significant history of emigration, it is arguable that Lebanon has exported a greater percentage of emigrants relative to its base population, and they have gone to a far more diverse spectrum of countries, have had a greater impact on their host countries, and have had a more significant influence on their home country than any other country in the world.

“Lebanon is a global nation in the reverse”

The Lebanese Emigration Research Center of Notre Dame University-Louaize has sought to safeguard the collective memory of that heritage. LERC was established in 2003 as an academic center – and while its name refers to its primary focus on emigration from Lebanon, as Guita Hourani, the director of LERC, explains, “the center documents migration from, to and through Lebanon.”

LERC’s facilities include a resource library of books, memoirs, village histories and ethnographies authored by or on subjects related to the Lebanese across the world in a broad range of languages.
LERC’s archival collection includes pictures, family genealogies, official documents, letters, newspapers, material artifacts and audio-visual recordings, as well as a database of Lebanese organizations, businesses and prominent individuals abroad.

The small museum includes photographs, artifacts and works of art. The art collection includes art pieces about the perception of the self in migration, as well as the way “others” perceive Lebanese immigrants.

The center has helped thousands of local and international students, researchers, Lebanese descendants, artists, governments, organizations and businessmen with their research on Lebanese migration.

LERC has inspired the establishment of a number of other centers of Lebanese migration in the world. One of these is the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the United States, and the Centro Argentino de Investigacion de la Inmigracion Libanesa in Rosario, Argentina.

The director of LERC recounts the story of Nestor Hajj, whose father left from Rmeish in southern Lebanon to go to Argentina in the late 1960s and was unable to return. In 2012 Nestor, who was volunteering as a translator for his tour group of Lebanese descendants, was showing them the pictures when he came across one of himself as a baby carried by his mother and father. He was overcome with emotions and tears, and indicated that by having the picture of his parents exhibited in LERC museum, his parents have metaphorically returned to Lebanon.

In another story Dr. Hourani speaks of Melhem Talhouk, who was one of the first ambassadors to many countries of Latin America in the 1950s. In 2009 his daughter Mrs. Nadia Talhouk-Assaf and son Mr. Toufic Talhouk, then in their 60s and 70s, gave a gift to the center of 53 pristine photographs. These included pictures of their father and Yusuf al-Sawda, who was then the ambassador to Brazil, as well as pictures of their father presenting his credentials to presidents of different countries of Latin America.

Those who have private letters, pictures, documents, business correspondence, travel and citizenship documentation, and other artifacts related to Lebanon’s migration history are encouraged to contribute these materials to LERC for preservation and safekeeping. Alternatively, donors can contribute high-resolution digitized copies of these items to LERC.


TAGS1950s 3d generation academicians academics from diaspora advertorials Allies ambassador to Brazil ambassadors Argentina artists australia Beirut believers bi-annual magazine bi-cultural parenting boundaries Bright Lebanon businessmen Byblos Centro Argentino de Investigacion de la Inmigracion Libanesa in Rosario Chinese Chouf citizen journalism communication conceptual magazine contributing writers corporate social responsibility cultural attaches Diaspora diaspora issue diaspora talk director of LERC directory diverse diversity door to door Dr Hourani dreamers editorials embracing platform empower English social magazine established in 2003 Europe events around the world exotic places Expat in Lebanon exploration giving back global community global Lebanon governments Greeks guest writers Guita Hourani gulf heartwarming stories HOME HOME around the world HOME Magazine HOME nation Honorary advisors hope hope of tomorrow influence inforgrahics initiatives initiatives in the diaspora inspirational integration interesting articles international distribution interviews Irish journey Latin America Lebanese ambassador to Brazil Lebanese ambassadors Lebanese ambassadors to Latin America Lebanese around the world Lebanese art pieces Lebanese audio-visual recordings Lebanese bloggers Lebanese books Lebanese business correspondence Lebanese businesses Lebanese centers Lebanese clubs Lebanese culture Lebanese descendants Lebanese Diaspora Lebanese Emigration Center Lebanese ethnographies Lebanese family genealogies Lebanese famine Lebanese foreign educational missions Lebanese heritage Lebanese hidden talents Lebanese immigrants Lebanese initiatives Lebanese land Lebanese letters Lebanese market Lebanese material artifacts Lebanese memoirs Lebanese newspapers Lebanese of the world Lebanese official documents Lebanese organizations Lebanese parliaments Lebanese pictures Lebanese print magazine Lebanese social impact Lebanese translator in Argentina Lebanese travel and citizenship documentations Lebanese village histories Lebanese wars Lebanon Lebanon updates. Lebanese Diaspora LERC LERC archive LERC Library lifestyle local and international students local initiatives love for home country Melhem Talhouk migration art pieces migration from and to Lebanon Migration to and from Lebanon ministers Moise A Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies Mr Toufic Talhouk Mrs Nadia Talhouk Assaf multiplatform NDU Nestor Hajj NGO in the diaspora North Carolina North Carolina State University North Lebanon Notre Dame University Louaize one of first Lebanese ambassadors to countries of Latin America online engagement organizations out of the box outreach peace peace building Percentage of emigrants in Lebanon philosophy Phoenician heritage photographers PiDRAYA pioneers positive change positive content positive Lebanon positivity pristine photographs publishing publishing sector Raleigh Reach out from Lebanon reader corner reference content references refined magazine remarkable achievers remarkable organizations research on Lebanese migration researchers revolutionary content Rmeish Rmeish Lebanon scientist from diaspora social magazine soul of Lebanon South America South Lebanon stakeholders style success stories tales of today testimonials thoughts timeless trendsetter Tyre unique concept unique content United States unites US where Lebanon comes together World War 2 Yusuf al-Sawda Yusuf alSawda