Archeologist Leyla Badr

Dr. Leyla Badre has been the first endowed personality honored by the Romaïan Cultural Society. The latter started, in 2016, the tradition of handing a shield of honor to endowed Romaïan persons in a solemn ceremony held on the anniversary of its founding day.

Dr. Badre was born in 1943 and raised in a conservative Romaïan Orthodox family of Latakian origins. She received her primary and secondary education at the Latin Our Lady of Nazareth School, in Beirut. She, then, studied archeology at the American University of Beirut, and moved to Paris to obtain, in 1976, a PhD in Archeology from the famous Sorbonne University. The title of her doctoral thesis was “Anthropoid figurines in Bronze Age Syria”.

Leyla Badre began her research in archeology in 1968, and was affiliated to several academic and research institutions such as the American University of Beirut, the French Institute of Middle Eastern Archaeology (IFAPO), the Lebanese University, the Institute of the Arab World in Paris, the University of Balamand in Lebanon, and the University of Dijon in France, and she lectured in many well-known scientific institutions and societies.

Dr. Leyla Badre was appointed Director of the American University of Beirut Museum in 1980, in which she achieved a great renewal, reorganizing it and acquiring important artefacts. She gathered around this museum a large constellation of friends who provided her with aid and money.

Dr. Leyla Badre conducted several archaeological excavations in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and the Emirate of Dubai, and made great archaeological discoveries. Among the most prominent places in which she has led her research are Tell al-Ghassil, Sarafand, Tyre, and downtown Beirut in Lebanon, Ugarit, Tell Kazell and Ibn Hani in Syria, and the city of Shabwa in the Hadramout region of southern Yemen. Her role reached its peak in the center of Beirut, where she succeeded in discovering the ancient site of Byrôth that was mentioned in the letters of Tell Amarna, which date back to the fourteenth century BC.

Dr. Leyla Badre enriched the Romaïan culture by the discoveries she made at the Monastery of Our Lady of Kaftoun in the Koura region of Northern Lebanon, where the church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, dating back to the sixth century AD, is located. Dr. Leyla Badre also supervised the excavations that took place in the grounds of St. George’s Cathedral in Beirut, which resulted in the discovery of three successive churches under the cathedral, dating back to successive eras since the fourth century when the cathedral was called the Church of the Resurrection. Dr. Badre is credited with establishing, in the crypt, the cathedral’s museum to gather the discoveries collected during this excavation.

Dr. Badre has published several articles and books in local and international journals, in both French and English languages, and is considered one of the most prominent archeologists in the Middle East. Therefore, the Honoring Commission of the Romaïan Cultural Society, headed by Professor Jacques Mokhbat, chose her, in 2016, to be the first endowed person who deserved permanent homage in the Levantine Romaïan community. The President of the Society, Professor Negib Geahchan, accompanied by all the members of the Administrative Board, handed her the honorary shield in a grand ceremony held on the 25th of January 2016.

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