Wael and Lama Abou-Chakra Papers
Wael Abou-Chakra, the third of four children, was born in Beirut, Lebanon in December 1968. His family fled Beirut and moved to Ammatour, Shouf, Lebanon in 1975, when Wael’s father’s employment by the Lebanese military made the family a target of violence during the Lebanese Civil War. Wael studied mechanical engineering at the Arabic University of Beirut and mathematics at the Lebanese University before joining his older brother, who had left Lebanon to attend college, in Charlotte, North Carolina, to continue his education. He moved to the United States in 1986 and obtained a BA in Translation from UNC-Charlotte. While working post-graduation at IBM, Wael began studying computer science at a nearby community college and pursued certification in networking, hardware, and security. He received an MBA in Technology Management. Wael was awarded IBM’s Inventor of the Year Award in 2008, and began a career as a Senior Release Manager and a Master Inventor for IBM in the Raleigh-Durham area.
Wael is also involved with the Lebanese-American community. He is a member of the American Druze Society and served as president of the Triangle Lebanese Association. Wael traveled to Romania in 2008 as part of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps to help nonprofit and private sector agencies integrate into the European Union. In 2011, he was chosen to be a leader for IBM’s Celebration of Service program and he has earned the President Volunteer Service Award Certificate multiple times.
Wael is married to Lama Abou-Chakra, a fellow Lebanese-American who grew up in Haldi, a suburb of Beirut, and Ammatour. Lama's parents were both natives of Ammatour and descended from a different branch of the Abou-Chakra family. Lama was born in 1976 and moved to the United States in 1995. She graduated from high school in 1993 and met Wael the following year. Lama studied at North Carolina State University and University of Massachusetts, attending part-time while working at IBM. Wael and Lama have two children, Katia and Nassim.
This collection contains documents and photographs relating to Wael Abou-Chakra’s achievements in business and community service, photographs from Lama Abou-Chakra’s childhood in Lebanon, and images from Wael and Lama’s life together. The collection also includes a restricted oral history available for on-site research.
This collection is a part of a larger collection that has been divided into more specific collections.