The Lebanese Emigration Research Center (LERC) at the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS), Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) of British Columbia Council, and the Irish-Lebanese Cultural Foundation (ILCF) formed the International Lebanese Titanic Committee (ILTC) in 2012, the year marking the centennial of the Titanic’s tragic sinking. The committee was established to identify, commemorate, and pay tribute to the Lebanese aboard the Titanic, as well as work on revealing their names and stories.
The LERC and the ILTC, in collaboration with Vestiges D’Orient organized on May 2, 2017, an event to inaugurate the paintings into the Lebanon and Migration Museum (LMM). The program included a testimony from a family that lost a loved one aboard the ship and a personal reflection, following the tracing of the Titanic voyage 100 years later.
With the spirit of enriching the previously established collection on the Lebanese Aboard the Titanic in the LMM, the committee collaborated with Vestiges D’Orient and the LERC in its call for paintings dedicated to the memory of the Lebanese who perished aboard the Titanic. The call encouraged artists to “[…] participate in the artistic expression on Lebanese emigration and the tragic Titanic incident.”
The current ILTC committee members, as of 2016, are the following: Dr. Nick Kahwaji, DDS representing the WLCU BC Council; Guy Younes, Chairman of ILCF, Ireland; Dr. Guita Hourani, Director of LERC, Lebanon; Carla Zarifeh, representing the Lebanese Canadian Society of British Columbia (LCSBC), Canada; Dr. Josyann Abisaab, M.D., USA; Raed Charafeddine, first Vice-Governor of the Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon; and Sid Chedrawi, Founder Lebanese-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Artist Bernard Renno, owner of Vestiges D’Orient, led the call and was able to engage 26 artists from Lebanon to participate. The paintings were exhibited during the Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference (LDE) organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants between May 5 and 6, 2016, at the Hilton Grand Habtour Hotel in Beirut. Following this exhibition, the artists donated the paintings to the LMM, except for one, which was selected by H.E. Minister Gebran Bassil to be exhibited at the Emigrant Museum in Batroun. The minister recognized the painters and organizers at the closing ceremony of the LDE.