Profiles of Participants

  • Ms. Bethany Chaney is the great-granddaughter of immigrants from El Monsif and Kaftoun, Lebanon, who settled in Meridian and Vicksburg, Mississippi. She is a consultant to non-profit organizations, serves as Alderman for the Town of Carrboro, North Carolina, and is an accomplished writer and less accomplished oral historian. A past NC Arts Council Fellow and the recipient of the William Saroyan Society Centennial Prize for Non-Fiction, her work has been published by Al Jadid: A Review and Record of Arab Culture and ArtsIn the GroveFolkmoot USA; the North Carolina Writers Network’s Writing the New South project, and in Not Somewhere Else But Here: A Contemporary Anthology of Women and Place. Bethany holds a BA from the University of North Carolina and a MBA from Northeastern University.


  • Dr. Blair LM Kelley is Associate Professor of History and Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs at North Carolina State University. She is the author of the award-winning Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2010. An experienced oral historian, Kelley worked for several years as an oral historian and field researcher on the groundbreaking Behind the Veil project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. She recently taught oral history methodology for the NEH-funded project America’s Wars: Individual Experience and Collective Memory at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina and currently serves as an oral history consultant for NC State's Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies.


  • Dr. Akram Khater is a native of Lebanon (born 1960), he earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and University of California, Berkeley, respectively. His books include Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender and the Making of a Lebanese Middle Class, 1861-1921, and A History of the Middle East: A Sourcebook for the History of the Middle East and North Africa, and Embracing the Divine: Passion and Politics in the Christian Middle East. He has completed a PBS documentary on the history of the Lebanese community in North Carolina, and is the senior curator for a museum exhibit on the same topic that opened on February 21st, 2014. He has published a substantial number of articles and reviews, and has made conference presentations throughout the United States and internationally. He is the editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and sits on the editorial board of a book series on immigration studies.
  • Ms. Caroline Muglia is the Head, Resource Sharing and Collection Assessment Librarian at University of Southern California located in Los Angeles, California. She is trained as an archivist working with physical and digital materials. She has been involved in the Khayrallah Center since its inception in 2010, serving as an oral historian, archivist, digitization expert, and social media manager. 




  • Dr. James Thomas, Jr. is Associate Director for Publications at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and a fifth-generation Lebanese-Mississippian. He has published his work on Lebanese migration to the Mississippi Delta in Southern Cultures and in Ethnic Heritage in Mississippi: The Twentieth Century. He is editor of Conversations with Barry Hannah, an editor for the twenty-four-volume New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and the forthcoming Mississippi Encyclopedia, and co-editor of Faulkner and the Black Literatures of the Americas and the forthcoming Faulkner and History and Faulkner and Print Culture. Originally from Leland, he now lives in Oxford with his wife and daughter.