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Bookmark and ShareRaif ShwayriRaif Shwayri

will discuss his book Beirut on the Bayou: Alfred Nicola, Louisiana,
and the Making of Modern Lebanon

NYS Writers Institute, Tuesday, October 25, 2016
3:30 p.m. Discussion | Rockefeller Institute, 411 State Street, Albany


Beirut on the BayouEVENT LISTING:
Raif Shwayri will discuss his book Beirut on the Bayou: Alfred Nicola, Louisiana, and the Making of Modern Lebanon, which intertwines a family narrative with the story of Lebanon in the making, on Tuesday, October 25the from 3:30-5:00p.m. at Rockefeller Institute, 411 State Street, Albany. The discussion will be lead by James Ketterer, director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program and dean of international studies at Bard College. A reception and book signing will follow the discussion.

From the Fertile Crescent that was Syria to the Crescent City that is New Orleans, the saga of the Shwayri family reflects the experiences of those Lebanese who walked the path of immigration to the United States, as well as those who stayed behind—or returned—to help forge a nation.

Raif Shwayri begins his family's story with his grandfather's arrival at Ellis Island in 1902. Having left Beirut only weeks before, Habib Shwayri, given the name Alfred Nicola at Ellis Island, set off immediately for New Orleans in search of family members who had arrived several years earlier. There he began peddling down the Bayou Lafourche, making friends along the way. He continued to peddle for the next eighteen years in the harshest conditions, sending money home to family, keeping them alive. When he returned to Lebanon in 1920, he invested the money he had made in real estate and died a wealthy man in 1956. Raif's father, Nadim Shwayri, used his inheritance to fund the establishment of the Al-Kafaàt Foundation, an iconic and unique institution that serves the disabled and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in Lebanon.

Raif never had the privilege of meeting his grandfather, but in writing Beirut on the Bayou he set out on a quest to learn more about the man who had such an incredible impact on Lebanese history. His fascinating book tells not only the story of Nicola but also the history of a people and the making of modern Lebanon.

To register, contact Michele Charbonneau at [email protected] or by calling (518) 443-5258.

Sponsored by State University of New York, SUNY Press, and the Rockefeller Institute of Government

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst