The story of a refugee child uprooted with his family from their home in Jaffa
The exodus of Palestinians from their homes during the 1948 war—the Nakba, or catastrophe—is the starting point for this memoir by Samir Toubassy. But it is his trek to excel, while wrestling with his roots and identity as a Palestinian in the shadow of his family’s expulsion that is at the heart of his story.
Global business leader, philanthropist, and educator, Samir Toubassy left Jaffa with his family when he was nine, seeking refuge from the fighting that had engulfed their city. Amid never-ending turbulence, we accompany him from Jaffa to Tripoli, to Beirut where he becomes a student of business and politics, to Riyadh, London and finally to the US, as he seeks to raise a family and build an international business career, most prominently with the noted Olayan Group and its rags-to-riches founder Sulaiman Olayan. After a long career in international business, Samir embarks on a new path, as a Harvard Advanced Leadership Senior Fellow, seeking to apply his experience to global education in the developing world.
Toubassy shatters glass ceilings that hold Palestinians back over lifetimes and generations. But his race to achieve and to succeed is always inseparably tied to, and tempered by, the fate of his homeland. Searching to regain what is lost, his memoir My Nakba offers unique perspective, encouragement, and cherished lessons learned from the aspirations of a refugee.
Samir Toubassy is a global business leader, philanthropist, and educator. After a long career in international business, Samir embarks on a new path, as a Harvard Advanced Leadership Senior Fellow, seeking to apply his experience to global education in the developing world.
“Samir Toubbasy lived a life rich in valor and achievements. His memoir—a beautiful narrative full of emotions, events, and valuable historical information—will leave an indelible mark on its readers.” —Prof. Fawaz Tuqan, American University of Beirut
"Toubassy's story is firmly situated within the Palestinian exodus, even if representing only a small sliver of that experience: the Nakba of the educated urbanites ' Although it would be easy to read this memoir as a road map to achieving economic success, I do not think this is where the book's spirit points us. Gratitude, not grief or an unbending forward gaze is the lesson I will take with me."
"In this well-written memoir, Samir Toubassy traces his life from his family's hasty departure from Jaffa under the impact of Zionist attack when he was nine years old, to his education in Lebanon, and successful career in non-profits and business in Beirut, Saudi Arabia, London and the US ' Toubassy's account of his ancestors paints a fascinating picture of life in the last days of the Ottoman Empire and the interwar period in what became Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, illustrating the organic connection between these areas."
"The autobiographical story of a refugee child who was uprooted with his family from their home in Jaffa, Palestine... My Nakba: A Palestinian's Odyssey of Love and Hope offers unique perspective, encouragement, and cherished lessons learned from the aspirations of a refugee ' An inherently interesting and impressively detailed account, My Nakba is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to personal, community and academic library."
“Toubassy’s engaging memoir explains how al-Nakba impacted his life. Filled with nostalgia for the Jaffa neighborhood of his childhood, My Nakba serves as a love letter to Middle Eastern culture, testifying to the strong bonds between family and the strength of connection forged by tragedy … Heartfelt details and sincere love for family, friends and country fill the memoir and give glimpses into the life of a refugee trying to make sense of a world marked by suffering. Recommended for anyone interested in learning more about Palestinian history from individual experiences.”