As part of Global Diaspora Week 2015 the U.S. Embassy Beirut in collaboration with the Lebanese Emigration Research Center organized a tribute to major Lebanese-American figures for Global Diaspora Week!
Undoubtedly, the name that comes to one’s mind when we say Lebanese-American and Basketball is Rony Seikaly!
In 1984, Seikaly, a born-Lebanese, began playing Center for the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team and developed into one of the most dominating players in college history. He was an All-American and was also named to the John R. Wooden All-American Team. Seikaly played for the US national basketball team at the 1986 FIBA World Championship, and with the US team he won the gold medal!
Another major name is Helen Thomas. Helen Thomas was born in Kentucky to Lebanese immigrants from Tripoli. Thomas’s first job in journalism was as a copygirl. She joined United Press International in 1943 and reported on women’s topics for their radio wire service. She later had several beats around the federal government, including the Department of Justice, F.B.I., Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and Capitol Hill before she began covering President-elect John F. Kennedy in 1960. Thomas went to the White House in January 1961 as a member of the U.P.I. team and was there until May 2000. She covered the administrations of eleven U.S. presidents—from the final years of the Eisenhower administration to the second year of the Obama administration.
To find out who else was honored in the tribute to major Lebanese-American figures check out Lebanese Emigration Research Center’s Facebook page.