Salim Khalaf the founder of Encyclopedia phoeniciana, By Bearta Al-chakar Powell

                             Salim Khalaf  the founder of Encyclopedia phoeniciana   

Salim George Khalaf left a worn torn town of Souk El-Gharb, Lebanon in 1985 for a more hopeful and secure future. With a tourist visa in hand, he ventured into the unknown leaving behind loved ones, much like many Lebanese people that year. He finished his undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Business Administration in Lebanon. The war had prevented him from continuing his education, so he set out to finish his masters in Ancient History the US.

He settled in Chapel Hill, North Carolina because some cousins and related were already established in the state.

In the Lebanese education system, the origin and history of the Lebanese people is seriously flawed and trivialized. Yet, we are proud of our entrepreneurship, our ability to see trading and business opportunities, and our adventurous spirit that we often claim we inherited from our Phoenicians ancestors. Yet, very little had been written about the Phoenicians worldwide but specifically in the Lebanese education system. Many important historical discoveries are relevant to our culture today, for instance music and lyrics and the relations to Hymn to the Moon Goddess or current mathematics and Pythagoras described as the first real mathematician and respectively.

Yet very little is known about the Phoenicians’ contribution to the progress and world history.

At the dawn of the internet over 18 years ago, Salim saw the potential of building a website to use as a research hub dedicated to Phoenician studies.  Through his website he was able to contact researchers worldwide and received encouraging responses mainly form Europeans and Latin America. Their intellectual contributions were overwhelming and encouraged Salim to reach farther and continue his quest, however the lack of response from the Lebanese themselves disappointed him as it is the Lebanese heritage and Lebanese history and they must be researched and preserved.

His website  is a rich encyclopedia with thousands of research articles and news about preserving Phoenicians’ artifacts and books.  Over 25 years of self-funded and dedicated research and catalogued collection, website and search engine optimization related to literature on Phoenicians makes him an expert in every sense of the word. has become the largest collection of studies about the Phoenicians on the web and number one in most search engines.

In 2008, received the “Superior Cedars Award” from the World Lebanese Cultural Union, World Council (WLCU) (LINK TO as a token of admiration and support.   

WLCU’s own Dr. Nick Kahwaji noticed and appreciated Salim’s work. In 2009, Salim Khalaf, Dr. Nick Kahwaji, and Dr. George Haddy formed Phoenician International Research Center Inc. (PIRC) with Dr. Habib Chamoun as president of the center and Salim Khalaf as CEO. This is how this group formed a not-for-profit official body of international scholars, researchers and Lebanese immigrants to bring Phoenicians’ history to the modern world.  Located in Chapel Hill, NC PIRC is a non-profit organization .

PIRC’s goals main goals are:

  1. To help protect archaeological sites, ruins, treasures, and artifacts.
  2. Have the largest data base on Phoenicians.
  3. Encourage research.
  4. Digitize out-of-print books
  5. Educating the public about Phoenicians and preventing the sale of plundered treasures.

Salim Khalaf, Dr. Kahwaji, and Dr. Chamoun ask the Lebanese community worldwide to join together and support the Lebanese history and heritage by educating the world about the important discoveries and contributions of the Phoenicians.

Our efforts and sacrifices today will serve as corner stone for generations to come.

Read more about Salim’s work:  

Bearta Al-chacar Powell

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