Dr. Najwa Nasr on “Lebanese Emigration at the Turn of the Century”
Beirut, November 26, 2009- On November 25, 2009, Dr Najwa Nasr, a Full Professor of English Linguistics at the Lebanese University, and a lecturer at Haigazian University, delivered a lecture entitled “A Journey of Survival: The Lebanese Emigration at the Turn of the Century” at the Cultural Hour in the Haigazian University Auditorium.
Dr. Nasr who’s since 1990, a coordinator, consultant, lecturer and a true friend of Haigazian University, was introduced to the audience by Mira Yardemian, the Public Relations Director.
Yardemian said that migration existed since time immemorial, whereby people emigrated from their homelands to unknown lands in search of greener pastures. “Some migrate due to choice seeking fortune and fame, while others under duress are deported or exiled”, Yardemian noted.
Dr. Nasr began her visual presentation by explaining that the first waves of Lebanese emigration to the United States started at the end of the 19th century, whereby emigrants from Syria and Lebanon started to arrive at Ellis Island in New York colony, from whence they spread across the American states, from the East to the West, and from the North to the South.
Nasr introduced the first jobs carried out by the emigrants, which was the peddling job. She explained that many reasons encouraged them to peddle; it was not a very demanding profession and no experience was needed, no capital, no advanced language skills, no pressure of office hours.
Talking of heritage and preservation of culture, Nasr said that the emigrants had their own social, cultural, and religious societies and clubs whose role was to strengthen the ties of solidarity among the members and help them preserve their cultural heritage, language and tradition. “They also helped the immigrants in learning the English language and coping with the demands of the new citizenship for survival”, Nasr added.
Nasr concluded her lecture by showing the importance of journalism, and the major role it played in preserving the Lebanese culture and heritage. “In 1930, there were about fifty Arabic newspapers, magazines, journals, and periodicals all over the American states”, Nasr noted.
Public Relations Director