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Toula: the humble village, setting new horizons in new times

1. Academic

The museum collects published material which is related to the academic, cultural and other achievements of members of the village. An example is the book by Mikhail Farah entitled Lebanese Poetry published in Lebanon in 1994.  Mikhail Farah, Lebanese Poetry (organised and collected by Nassif Mageed el Shmor and Mohsen Edmon Yammine) (edited by Dr Antonios Boutros) First Edition (place of publication*, published by Lebanon Print, 1994); cover drawn by the poet Antoine Kawal; calligraphy: Robert Khoury.  Source: Farah. Reflecting the high level of education and professional positions in every area of the community held by members of the village both in Lebanon and in the countries to which the members of the village have migrated, one of the most prominent and well known men who ever lived and worked in Toula was the poet Mikhail Farah.   Born in 1927, he showed interest in reading and self education.  Mikhail grew up attached to his village Toula and his love for Toula can be found in his poems, where he praises its nature, climate and people. Mikhail established in Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon situated on the Mediterranean Sea, the largest book shop and library in north Lebanon, whose name was Maktabat Al-Thakafa Al-Jadidah or The New Culture Bookshop, which had the nature of a literary forum.  Mikhail’s life was cut short, when he was killed in 1975 during the Lebanese civil war.  Source: Monzer Farah

The cultural context of the composition of poetry by Mikhail Farah in a Maronite village in northern Lebanon recalls the fact that Khalil Gibran (1883-1931), the famous artist, writer and poet, was a Maronite and was born in the village of Bsharri, which is not far from Toula.   He mostly lived in the United States, wrote in Arabic and English, and is considered one of the most famous writers in history.  His most important work is The Prophet (1923), which is a collection of poetic essays, and he is also well known for Sand and Foam (1926). Source: Whitnall, pp. 2-14.

Angel Dagher, a senior teacher at Our Lady of Lebanon High School, Harris Park, Sydney, is a Committee Member of the museum.

Toula has been known for its inhabitants and patrons who have made significant achievements in various professions.  The medical profession has long been linked to the village. St Assia, the patron Saint of the Village, of course, is called ‘the Doctor’ because of his miracles of healing and certain apparently miraculous cures have more recently been associated with him. Source: The Story of Saint Assia the Doctor; Father Maroun Bechara. In the middle of the 18th century, Farah the Doctor was renowned in his profession, and he is the ancestor of the Farah family in Reyfoun and the Mourad family. Of the branches of the Farah family which spread around the countryside near Damascus, the most famous of them in Btaaboura is another doctor Toufic Farah. Source: Toula Village, 5.4

The engineering profession is particularly well represented in the Saad family, which migrated from Aqoura to Brummana and Toula. The most noted of its members in the profession are John Lattouf Saad, John Antoine Saad, Assia Daher, Dr Roger Estefan and Dr John Estefan. Joseph Farah, the Secretary of the museum, and Monzer Farah, the Vice President, are engaged in this profession in Sydney. Source: Toula Village, 5.2

Fadi Nicolas Jilwan is an architect who comes from Toula and is also known as a photographer.  Latifi Farah is an architect in Sydney and is a Committee Member of the museum’s committee.

Members of the village, who have migrated to Australia, the United States of America, Canada and South America, have made notable contributions to various professions, including those on the committee of the Toula Museum. The Vice Treasurer of the Museum, Antoin Dagher, is a Certified Practicing Accountant.   The Secretary and the Vice Secretary of the Museum, Joe Farah and Michael Dagher, respectively, are Senior Engineers, employed in Senior Roles, in Sydney. Source: Peter Zada.