Notre Dame University



There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of centers for the study of migration around the world.  The attention now being given to this subject is understandable because migration, especially in the last two centuries, has altered the character of countless countries and communities around the world.

The Lebanese, like other peoples from the Mediterranean basin, began their present emigration in the middle of the nineteenth century, heading toward North America, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Australia.  A variety of factors motivated huge numbers of Lebanese to leave their country, a movement that has left a visible mark both on Lebanon and on host countries.

Patterns of emigration from Lebanon have changed over the years.  Unlike the emigrants of a century or so ago, most today are highly educated professionals and skilled technicians.  Furthermore, the involuntary nature of emigration for some, even today, cannot be overlooked.  Lebanese emigrants have tended to adapt well to their new homelands, many of them becoming elected officials, physicians, lawyers, businessmen, traders, professors, etc.

While contributing greatly to their adopted lands, migrants have to a considerable extent remained attached to Lebanon.  The first to venture overseas, for instance, later contributed financially and culturally to the recovery of Lebanon during and after the First and the Second World Wars.  As for recent emigrants, they have continued to maintain family attachments, as well as political, economic, cultural, emotional and spiritual ties.  This situation generates anxieties, psychological challenges and identity crises that also deserve the attention of scholars.

LERC aims to address the issue of Lebanese emigration in its global context.  It hopes to help Lebanese emigrants and their descendants to understand their origins and cultural placement, and to inform those remaining in Lebanon about the nature and scale of migration and the Lebanese migrant experience.

The Center will investigate Lebanese migrant history and conditions worldwide from the 19th century onward.  It will study the impact of emigration on the social and economic life of Lebanon and of host countries.  It will also analyze current emigration and currently increasing immigration into Lebanon together with the effect of the latter on Lebanese society, identity, culture, and development.