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WLCU | Newsletter | February/March 2013
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The Lebanese Heritage
From British Columbia to the world...

April 2013 - Volume 2013, No.04


Lebanese Entrepreneurs in Sao Paulo: A Success Story of upward Social Mobility

By Dr. Elsa El Hachem-Kirby

(Read Editorial in French)

I grew up in Paris, having Irish and Lebanese roots. The history of Lebanon and Ireland throughout the last two centuries presents similarities. It is marked by large-scale migration often associated with lack of economic opportunities in the country. Today in both countries, at each economic crisis, emigration reflexes resurface. Emigration and immigration are therefore part of my family history.
A few years ago, while on a visit to Rio de Janeiro, my attention was drawn to a food-seller, wearing a white fabric covering his head evoking a Middle-Eastern style of dress. He was selling kibbe and sfiha. I found the familiarity of the local population with Lebanese food surprising. On further observation, I noticed that many shops and several streets had Lebanese names, in both Rio de Janeiro and in Sao Paulo. On realising how successful this population appeared to be, I decided to carry out an in-depth study of the apparent success of this immigrant group.

The number of success-stories, synonymous with economic and social ascension among the Lebanese community in Brazil abound.  So much so that the story of the upward surge in social mobility experienced by Brazilians of Lebanese origin has imbedded the stereotypical image of the community in the collective consciousness of Brazilians at large. My doctoral thesis in Sociology entitled Lebanese Entrepreneurs in Sao Paulo:  upward Social Mobility presentedat the University of Sorbonne Paris in November 2012 investigated the factors leading to the success of this population in business and politics.

In Brazil today, there is a significant population of Lebanese origin. According to different sources, it is estimated at over 5 million (lack of precise statistics makes it difficult to get a more precise estimate). Sao Paulo represents their principal economic hub. It is a population formed by wages of migrants who came to Brazil in successive waves beginning around the end of the 19th century.  This group organises its own collective space as if it were a society onto itself, with its places of worship, associations, clubs, reviews and magazines and many other kinds of social organization.  The group set down roots in Brazil and its members diversified their areas of economic activity, investing in different sectors of the Brazilian economy.  Originally, this population had started out as peddlers and set up small petty commercial trading outlets and small family businesses. Today, enterprise still remains their engine of economic, social and political aspirations in Brazil.

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Dr. Elsa El Hachem-Kirby

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Story of the Month

The Lebanese on the Titanic: At least one of the victims was a Lebanese crew member, By A.Mishellany

...At least one of the victims was a Lebanese crew member. Printer Steward A. Mishellany, who also used the name of Mr E. Hamilton, 52, was born in Lebanon. He was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again, in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as Criterion Res., (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As the printer he received monthly wages of £6. Mishellany died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
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Quote of the Month


In the confrontation between the river and the rock, the river always wins... not through Strength but by Perseverance.


To the newly wed Fadi Murr and Karla Pederson, Fadi is the son of Ivette and Michel Murr our Honorary Council President.
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Here, There and Yonder

  • Lebanese Canadian Soceity of BC elected a new Board of Director | New President's Message
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  • Two years of activities of WLCU-BC Council:President Report (By Henry Zarifeh)
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  • There
  • Visit to Minister Sehanoui of the representative of the International Lebanese Titanic committee
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  • Radio Canada International Interview with Dr Nick Kahwaji
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  • Yonder
  • Australian Lebanese Beauty Contest 2013 Miss Dyala Bachour crowned Miss Lebanon Australia during a classy event prepared par Mr joseph Khoury, OAM , owner and publisher of Al-Moustakbal newspaper in Australia.
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    Check it on Facebook

Culture & Multiculturalism

Interviews & Profiles

Economy in Lebanon

Lebanese Emigration

  • The Lebanese abroad lost confidence long ago in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (By Dr Nick kahwaji to Lebanon Debate)
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  • Tension between Ghana and Lebanon caused by irresponsible action of Lebanese consul in Accra.
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  • Dr Guita Hourani sent a thank you letter to Centro Libanes in Mexico

Roots and Wings

  • A Lebanese-American among the directors of the new NGO Obama
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Various Publications

WLCU Archives

  • John Badr editorial: In April 2003. A newly elected President of LCS of BC (WLCU Vancouver Chapter) declare: The LCS is continually involved on a local, provincial and continental level…..in Helping achieve a global network for all Lebanese around the World.
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  • British Columbia on the Move : Locally : March 15 ,2003, AGM for LCS of BC and Election, Provincially : March 24 2003 : AGM for WLCU-BC Council, Continentally : April 26 2003: New Regional Board for USA &Canada, Worldwide: May 31 2003 WLCU world congress elected a new leadership
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  • Lebanon-Canada day :the first official Canada-Lebanon day
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United Nations(UN) News

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