Notre Dame University



Return Migrant Siblings Visit LERC to Donate Valuable Diplomatic and Family Photos

Wednesday 27th May 2009, LERC, NDU
Reported by Elie Nabhan and Liliane Haddad

As a result of Mr. Roberto Khatlab’s efforts, LERC’s Latin America Liaison Officer, who organized the visit of the Portuguese Lebanese Group Les Amis du Portugal to LERC on the 21st May 2009, one of the group’s members, Mrs. Nadia Talhouk-Assaf, was clearly impressed by LERC’s efforts to collect historical material related to Lebanon and Lebanese Migration and she promised to donate to LERC photos from her family heirloom.

A week later Mrs. Talhouk-Assaf revisited LERC, this time with her brother, Mr. Toufic Talhouk, carrying with them over fifty original photos of their late father Mr. Melhem Talhouk.

Recording vital information: Mrs. Talhouk-Assaf (left) and Mr. Talhouk (right) explain details to Mrs. Haddad (center) on the photos donated to LERC (May 2009).

Mr. Talhouk, who was born in Aley in 1908 and was married to Ms. Najla Hassib AbdelMalek, graduated with a degree in law from St. Joseph’s University in Beirut, where he taught for a while before he was appointed Secretary General for the State Consultative Council in 1941. In 1945 he was selected to serve as the first Consul in Brazil based on the recommendation of Ambassador Youssef El Sawda.  He was then a diplomat in Port Said, Egypt, in Madrid, Spain, and in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1960, he was appointed ambassador of Lebanon to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Serving with Mr. El Sawda brought about a close personal and professional relationship between the two men and their families.  

Lebanese Independence Day Celebrations Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1950 including H.E. Youssef El Sawda, Mrs. El Sawda, Consul Melhem Talhouk, Mr. Yafet and youngsters Toufic and Nadia Talhouk (photo donated May 2009).

The photos donated to LERC by Mrs. Talhouk-Assaf and Mr. Talhouk span important events and embassy activities in the countries where their father served.  Mr. Talhouk is the author of a book in Arabic entitled The Talhouk Family in Lebanon آل تلحوق في لبنان a copy of which was made available to LERC.

During his life Mr. Melhem Talhouk was recognized by many countries and honored with awards from various governments including Colombia, Peru, Belgium, and Italy.