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Lebanese-Americans abroad

Many Lebanese-Americans–first or second wave immigrants, second or third generation–consider North Carolina their home, but don’t lose sight of the important work to be done internationally. Wael Abou-Chakra spends much of his time to volunteer work in Romania and other countries. And the late Shafick George Hatem (affectionally referred to as “Uncle Shag”) dedicated his life to medical work in China. Born in Buffalo, NY in 1910, Shafick moved to NC when he was 10 years old, later graduated pre-med from UNC and studied medicine in Geneva, Switzerland and Beirut, Lebanon before receiving his medical degree in 1933. Trained in epidemiology, Shafrick’s work in China received attention from US Senator Ted Kennedy, US Senator John Glenn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  Before he died in 1988, Shafick was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Medicine. Wael Abou-Chakra is deeply involved in his community. A strong member of the TLA and other Triangle-area efforts, Wael considers himself a “global citizen with passions that include ameliorating communities through innovation and involvement.” He served in the IBM Corporate Service Corps in Romania in 2008 (and received two President’s Volunteer Service Awards from President Bush and President Obama for his exceptional work in the US.) Wael’s work at IBM also brings him abroad. In 2005, he worked with the Republic of Ireland, Italy and India on a big project. Check out their photos in our Digital Archive.

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