Certain factors in Lebanon’s history have adversely affected the country’s cultural heritage. Mismanagement has led to the loss of items, the obliteration of their Lebanese character, or their dispersal in and outside the homeland. The Center for Lebanese Heritage (CLH) was set up to locate and restore such objects, making a difference in the preservation of Lebanon’s unique cultural heritage.
What we do
CLH is an interdepartmental unit within the Lebanese American University. It is charged with the collection and documentation of tangible and intangible materials related to Lebanon’s heritage. The Center relies on personal contributions from people who would like to perpetuate the legacy of their assets — printed materials, out-of-print books and periodicals, personal belongings of Lebanese writers, traditional items, etc. The Center is funded by LAU as well as by private donations from several other sources.
The Center’s vision is to:
- Collect, preserve, and document all local heritage-related materials as well as those that have been either discarded, forgotten, or kept in the private libraries of authors or their relatives.
- Search for Lebanese heritage materials in their various languages, which exist throughout the world, bring them back to Lebanon, sort them out, catalog and preserve them.
- Refer to the location of Lebanese heritage assets if they belong to a private collection, sort them out and catalog them. As such, many of the Center’s resources are based on personal contributors who seek to preserve their family history.
The Center aims to become
- a cultural and tourist destination, the first of its kind in Lebanon;
- a major resource for research on the Lebanese creative legacy; and
- a central library specialized in the heritage of Lebanese artists throughout the world in all languages.
The Center’s main purpose is to collect and document the extensive Lebanese cultural heritage, encompassing its wide range of literary, artistic, linguistic and musical creations.
The duties of the Center include:
- searching for creative Lebanese artists in various fields;
- soliciting and obtaining their original works, as well as critical assessments of their works; and
- overseeing the proper cataloging and preservation of these materials.
- Preparation of a comprehensive bibliography of the literary, artistic, intellectual and historical heritage of Lebanon;
- Acquisition of complete works (in all languages) of Lebanese writers, poets, thinkers, out-of-print magazines and journals;
- Acquisition of the original manuscripts of Lebanese creative artists, in all disciplines;
- Acquisition of materials, artifacts, implements, papers, documents, letters, pictures, dissertations and essays in circulars and magazines, as well as information pertaining to Lebanese artists and authors t and to Lebanese cultural history;
- Detailed documentation, analytical cataloging and detailed organization of archives using up-to-date scientific methods and electronic digitalization of materials;
- Establishment of “Lebanese Heritage Review”;
- Establishment of a publishing house dedicated to heritage topics; and
- Establishment of the “Friends of the Center for Lebanese Heritage Committee” to solicit, collect and organize materials.
Mapping the Center
The Center consists of a variety of specialized wings dedicated to collecting:
- Literary works:
- Non-literary art forms
A virtual museum hosting the Center’s collections, is under construction and will be available on the Center’s website.
The Center issues several books and publications, such as Mirrors from Lebanese Heritage, a yearly anthology of presentations, first published in 2008, that documents all cultural events and presentations given during the CLH’s gatherings throughout the year. The Center’s Mirrors of Heritage refereed journal is a repository of research studies published since 2014. At the time of publication of this Catalog, nine volumes of the yearly book and five issues of the journal have been published.
Henri Zoghaib, Director