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07/03/2018 - 07:00hs

Arab Chamber to help preserve immigration memory

The organization signed an agreement with the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, in Lebanon, to promote the digitization of documents related to the beginning of the Syrian-Lebanese community in Brazil.

Press Release

From L to R, Hobeika, Younes and Khatlab

São Paulo – The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce will support a program to digitize documents relating to the Syrian-Lebanese immigration in Latin America at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), in Lebanon. The project is an initiative of the university’s library and of the Center for Latin America Studies and Cultures (CECAL), which is headed by Brazilian Roberto Khatlab.

Last month, the vice president of Marketing of the Arab Chamber, Riad Younes, visited the university and signed an agreement on the topic with its dean, Georges Hobeika. The plan is to gather documents that form the memory of the immigration in Brazil, such as photos, letters, certificates, newspapers and magazines, and scan them into digital.

“These documents might be getting lost, so we will borrow them from the community, turn them into digital and return them later to their owners,” said Younes. “This project strengthens the bridge between Brazil and Lebanon,” said Khatlab via email.

Press Release

Employee digitizing documents at USEK

USEK owns the equipment needed for this type of work and, as part of the agreement, will supply to the Arab Chamber a similar equipment and training so a professional can do the work. The Arab Chamber will pay the professional’s salary and will gather the material from the Syrian-Lebanese community in Brazil.

Besides helping to preserve the memory of the immigration, the Arab Chamber will be able to access the database and be among the supporters of researches and publications based on it. The digital archives will be stored at USEK, but Brazilian researchers will have access to the files.

In the next few months, the organization will step up the promotion of the project, so people and organizations can lend their documents to turn them into digital. The Chamber’s own collection and the ones from its directors make up a good start, according to Younes.

USEK already has ongoing digitization projects related to the Lebanese immigration in other countries.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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