Al Badre shares his modern immigration narrative

I’m so pleased to host Albert Nasib Badre during his WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour. I’m also pleased that his coming of age story, in his memoir, Looking West: The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant, is about immigrationThe immigration topic – the one I chose for my soon-to-be published novel, Papa’s Shoes, is as Dr. Badre says – “has become front and center in the national discourse.”

Please welcome Dr. Badre and enjoy his words about why he decided to write a memoir about his immigration experience.

The Back Story

by Albert Nasib Badre

People have been asking me, “How did you decide to write the memoirs? What motivated you?” Well, it all started after my father passed away in 2010. As I mentioned in the book, my father, Albert Youssef Badre, could not come with us to Albany the first three years of our immigration. He had work commitments in Lebanon the first year; the next two years, he lived in the (Belgian) Congo where he was the economic advisor on Congolese Economic affairs to the then UN Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold. When my father passed away at the age of ninety-eight, my sister Maria, who lived with my parents, went through his filing cabinet and found a considerable amount of papers and documents that he had accumulated over fifty years. Among these were a large collection of letters that my mother, my two brothers and myself had written to him between 1960 and 1963, our first years in the US.  The majority of the letters were to and from my mother, who wrote to him at least once a week detailing the voyage by sea and telling him about our daily life in Albany.

After I read and reread all the letters and decided to start writing, I spent many delightful and enlightening hours conversing with my mother about our life in Lebanon and our American adventure. These conversations were at times bittersweet. Every time she would start telling an anecdote involving my father, she would weep. When she’d cry, tears would fill my eyes as well. My wife, Barbara, and I explored a large trove of photos from my parents’ files and albums as well as our own collection. Also, conversations with friends mentioned in the book, and visiting the cities we had lived in triggered precious memories. It was especially helpful to visit Albany and talk with my childhood friends Lorraine and Bill.  The conversations with my mother, the photos, the friends and the cities inspired me to start writing, especially for my grandchildren and family.

The more I wrote and as the immigration narrative in recent years became front and center in the national discourse, I felt compelled to tell my story to all those interested in modern immigrant narratives. Everyone’s story is different and unique to them.  I wanted to tell what are the obstacles to assimilation, language, cultural transition, and what to do to succeed.    The result was I walked many paths but, I think, I found what I was looking for as an immigrant to America – a strong faith in the Catholic church, a career, and a family.    My paths are all connected, and none could be possible without the others.

About the Book:

In 1960, the Badre family emigrates from Beirut, Lebanon to the United States, a dream come true for fourteen-year-old Nasib.

Nasib struggles to assimilate as a teen in Albany, New York. With limited English skills, he attempts to learn new customs, make friends, and adapt to a different culture. In Beirut, the Badre family was well-known and socially privileged. In America, they are unknown nobodies. Nasib adopts his father’s name “Albert,” and to further Americanize his name, young Albert becomes “Al.”

Despite the many frustrations and difficulties, Al’s ultimate goal is to become a successful American. The new anonymity actually inspires the young man. Excited by the opportunities available to him in his new country, he determines to make a potent contribution to society.

As he strives to adapt, Al reads voraciously, becoming increasingly interested in religion and philosophy. Books become his “American friends,” and reading soon prompts him to ask deep theological questions about his family’s Lebanese Protestant roots, his mother’s conversion to Catholicism, and the contrast between the Protestant and Catholic faiths. This ultimately leads to his Catholic conversion.

Al’s search for meaning in life leads him to social activism among New York City’s poorest. And, in time, to graduate studies, where his desire is to improve the human condition through information technology.

Al Badre– like many other American immigrants–works his way through hardship to achieve a meaningful place in his adopted nation.

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: WidO Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07N6LR52T
  • ISBN: 9781947966130
  • Amazon Link:

Rhode Island Family Photography, RI Family Photography, Dimery Photography

About the Author: 

Albert Nasib Badre is an American author born in Beirut Lebanon. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1960 at the age of fourteen. His family made Albany, NY their first home in America where he attended a private Catholic high school through his Junior year. After three years in Albany, the family moved to Iowa City, Iowa, when his father accepted a professor position at the University of Iowa. He finished his senior year at Iowa City High School, then went on to the University of Iowa where he got a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies.  After college, he spent a year as a social worker in New York City. Deciding social work was not for him, he went on to pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan where he got his Ph.D. in 1973.

He spent the next thirty years at the Georgia Institute of Technology , and today he’s Professor Emeritus of Computing. During his tenure at Georgia Tech, he was an international consultant specializing in designing technology to enhance the human experience.  Dr. Badre was an early pioneer in the field of human-centric design, with some thirty years of experience in human-computer interaction, learning technologies, and human-centric e-learning. His background combines expertise in the empirical methodologies of the behavioral sciences and the design approaches of the computing sciences.

Dr. Badre authored numerous technical papers, is co-editor of the book Directions in Human Computer Interaction, and the author of the book, Shaping Web Usability: Interaction Design in Context, which was adopted in several dozen courses worldwide. His memoirs, Looking West, is the story of his coming of age immigration to America and subsequent conversion to the Catholic Church.​

Today, Dr. Badre and his wife live in Providence, RI, near his son and family, where he leads a very active volunteer life, in service to the community.

Find Albert Online:


Thank you, Dr. Badre, for visiting Choices today. I’m sure many of our readers will want to read your memoir. And we wish you huge success with it.

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