Ghalia comes to the tiny Connecticut hamlet of Centerbrook from Beirut via Buffalo. She has taken both rather significant geographic transitions in stride.

A native of Lebanon’s largest city, Ghalia followed her lifelong passion and graduated from American University of Beirut with a bachelor’s degree in studio arts.

“I was always known as an artist as a child. To this day, anything related to art is an interest.”

Ghalia’s professional path within the broad world of art narrowed when she visited the International Fair of Tripoli. Designed by famed architect Oscar Niemeyer, the project was abandoned when the Lebanese civil war broke out in 1975. Today the deserted 15-building complex of geometric forms is an unofficial museum for individuals drawn to architecture.

“When I went there I knew I wanted to become an architect. It was amazing.”

With a new direction, Ghalia came to the U.S. to concentrate her education and find a career in architecture. She attained a master’s degree in architecture from the State University of New York at Buffalo and subsequently joined Centerbrook as an intern.

While she has a sister that hopes to follow a similar path, Ghalia is the first to relocate to the U.S. from the family home in Lebanon. On both continents, she has strove to sustain her religious beliefs while letting her natural creativity flourish.

“I try to prove that I am conservative in one way and liberal in another.”

Sometimes considered a paradoxical combination in her native land, Ghalia believes those conflicting characteristics and Middle Eastern upbringing are ultimately what will set her work apart.