Mansour Challita, the Lebanese Lord of Brazilian Words
Souvenir Fifty years of service to culture. Lebanese Culture in Brazil, where he settled without forgetting his country of origin. At a ripe old age (90 years), he has just left this world. Look at a love affair with literature, indeed, but also with writing, journalism and diplomacy.
From his residence, a meeting point for cultured and cosmopolitan society, he could see the mythical beach of Copacubana. Mansour Challita, born in Colombia in 1919, then educated in Lebanon (studying law at the USJ in Beirut and co-founding al-Akhbar Newspaper in Rio de Janeiro) and Ambassador of the League of Arab States in Brazil, dedicated his life to promoting cultural, political, and econimic exchanges between the shores of Latin America and the wide open spaces of the Arab world.
Other than articles in the press, or in magazines, the organization of festivals, conferences and competitions (including that of “Gibran and Robots” which was a milestone in Lebanese and foreign annals), first this vehement passion to publicize the work of Gibran Khalil Gibran, of which he was a zealous translator so as to communicate the essence of spirit, inspiration, originality and modernism from the Eastern Mediterranean to the New World.
Great traveler due to his multiple duties (eg, CEO of the National Council of Tourism in Lebanon in 1967), he established strong and fruitful contacts with the prestigious Lebanese emigrant communities overseas.
Humble multilinguist, he mastered both French and English as well as Arabic and Portuguese. His memory shines above all, not only because of his contributions and his effectiveness to live a fierce nationalism of the Cedar country, but also for his writings and translations, including Mosaic of the Middle East (in Portuguese with a preface by Jorge Amado), Cocktail (written in French), Kalila Wa Dimna by Ibn el-Moukkafeh, One Thousand and One Nights …
Almost a hundred works among fiction, novels, stories, translations, newspaper articles, television and radio interviews are to the credit of Challita Mansour, who also worked in compiling valuable anthologies. He gave himself completely to the genre (that he enriched with more than 17 books!) with genuine noble letters and we happily quote his remarkable publications: The Most Beautiful Pages of Lebanese Literature, The Most Beautiful Thoughts of All Time (in five volumes) …
Holder of the Machado Medal of Assis from the Brazilian Academy of Letters (among countless other awards and distinctions), Mansour Challita remains a unique and deeply promotional link between Lebanese and Arab culture and Western creativity. A place he earned with fervor, dynamism, and flair.