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american-arab, arabs in america, lebanese american



Photo of al-Rabita al-Qalamiyya members. L to R: Abd al-Massih Haddad, Jibran Khalil Jibran, Nassib Arida, and Mikhail Naimy. Image courtesy of Museo Soumaya.

About the Exhibtion

To celebrate the centenary of the re-establishment of the al-Rabitah al-Qalamiyya [an early Arab American literary society], the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies has curated a virtual exhibition to honor the cultural lives and accomplishments of early Arab Americans (1880-1950). We have titled this exhibition Turath (Heritage) to emphasize the deep and rich history of Arabs in America.


The inspiration for this project was born out of a collaborative effort between the Khayrallah Center, the Arab American National Museum, the Washington Street Historical Society, Lebanese American University (NY Office), and the American University of Beirut (NY Office) to produce a series of events celebrating this centennial.

In addition to highlighting cultural figures well known to the Arab American community and its heritage, this exhibition introduces an expansive and unprecedented perspective incorporating women writers, geographies outside of New York, and highlighting non-literary productions such as art, performance, music, and the press. Thus, for example, Afifa Karam’s writings, performances at World’s Fairs across the United States, and cultural mahrajan festivals are featured alongside the literary works of Jibran, Naimy, and Rihani.


This exhibition was curated by Khayrallah Center staff:

  • Dr. Akram Khater, Director

  • Marjorie Stevens, Senior Researcher

  • Mandy Paige-Lovingood, Public History Ph.D. Candidate, NCSU

  • Samantha Aamot, Public History M.A. Candidate, NCSU


Contributing Authors and Guest Speakers



  • Dr. Beau Bothwell

  • Dr. Richard Breaux 

  • Matthew Champagne

  • Joseph Fenianos

  • Jean Gibran

  • Dr. Wail Hassan

  • Dr. Linda Jacobs

  • Omar Mouallem

  • Dr. Anne Rasmussen

  • Dr. Elizabeth Saylor

  • Dr. Lisa Snyder


  • Alexander Maloof

  • Arab American Musicians

  • Rahme Haidar

  • Gibran National Committee

  • Jibran Khalil Jibran

  • Early Literary Figures

  • Arbeely Family & World’s Fairs

  • Frank Lackteen

  • Arab American Musicians

  • Arab American Women Writers

  • The Street in Cairo Simulation

The Khayrallah Center would like to acknowledge and thank Mr. Sergio Jalil, and Mr. Manuel Torres for the Spanish translation of the Turath exhibit. We are deeply grateful for their labor and talents.


The Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies would like to thank the Ghosn family, Gibran National Committee, Telfair Museum of Art, and the Arab American National Museum for their generosity in permitting us to highlight objects in their respective collections.

We would like to also express our gratitude to the following for their generous financial support of this exhibition:

  • Linda Jacobs

  • Nijad & Zeina Fares

About the Khayrallah Center

The Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies was established at North Carolina State University in 2015 as a research and outreach center for the production and dissemination of knowledge about Lebanese immigration to the United States and around the world. The center fosters new scholarship on historical and contemporary Lebanese immigration in its many dimensions: social, political, economic, and cultural through conferences, a digital and physical archive, the journal Mashriq & Mahjar, documentaries, museum exhibitions, digital humanities projects, research assistantships, scholarships, and awards.

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