Notre Dame University



Lebanese-Colombians Visit LERC

Tuesday 30th June 2009, LERC, NDU
Reported by Elie Nabhan

Dr. Héctor Romano Marún and Mr. Oscar Bechara, both Colombians of Lebanese descent, were accompanied by Fr. Naji Zouein, Head of the Maronite Mission in Colombia, on their visit to the Lebanese Emigration Research Center at NDU.

Dr. Marún, a retired lawyer and journalist, can trace his origins back to the Northern Lebanese town of Hadath El Jebbe while the origins of Mr. Bechara lie in the city of Zahle. Fr. Zouein is a Maronite missionary of wide experience in South America; prior to his post in Colombia, he served the Maronite community in Argentina.

Dr. Marún is also a kind contributor to the Lebanon and Migration Museum at NDU. His collections include letters, photos, brochures, envelopes, old magazines, newspaper articles taken from the Colombian press and historical documents such as those dealing with the inauguration of a Lebanese Review called El Rinaciements.

The visit started with a meeting with Ms. Guita Hourani, the Director of LERC, which centered on the objectives of the Center and the role of Lebanese emigrants in assisting the Center in its mission. Later Mr. Elie Nabhan and Ms. Basma Abdel Khalek introduced the Colombian visitors to the Lebanese Emigration Archive and Database and took them on a tour of the Lebanon and Migration Museum

Dr. Marún was deeply moved several times during his tour particularly when he was presented to Director Hourani with whom he has been in touch for three years and when he saw his father’s photo and his family papers at the museum.

Dr. Héctor Romano Marún overwhelmed with emotions next to the collection he has donated to LERC (June 2009).

Both Dr. Marún and Mr. Bechara were impressed by LERC’s mission and accomplishments and promised to help in boosting the Center’s collection.

Dr. Marún, Mr. Bechara and the Center owe a great deal of thanks to Fr. Zouein for his efforts to strengthen the network between the community in Colombia and Lebanon and for promoting LERC.


Poring over a collection at the Museum (from left to right) Ms. Guita. Hourani, Ms. B. Abdel Khalek translating for Dr. Héctor Romano Marún and Mr. Oscar Bechara as Fr. Naji Zouein looks on (June 2009).

Ms. Basma Abdel Khalek LERC Projects Manager and Office Coordinator and Fr. Naji Zouein rendered an invaluable service interpreting from and into Spanish throughout the visit.

The Colombian visitors pose with LERC (from left to right) Fr. Naji Zouein, Ms. Basma Abdel Khalek, Mr. Oscar Bechara, Ms. Guita Hourani, Dr. Héctor Romano Marún, Mr. Elie Nabhan (June 2009).