With a sense of pride and renewed hope, Haigazian University celebrated its 68th Founders’ Day, hosting the Co-National Director of A Rocha-Lebanon, Dr. Guillaume Augustin de Vaulx as guest speaker. The auspicious ceremony honored the named organization, in recognition of its remarkable projects in environmental education and preservation, at an event that took place on Monday 16 October 2023, in the hall of the First Armenian Evangelical Church, adjacent to University campus, in the presence of community representatives, board members, faculty, staff, students and guests.
In his keynote address Dr. Guillaume Augustin de Vaulx shared with the audience the principle on which A Rocha is built, and that is “creation care”. Dr. De Vaulx’s talk came after a documentary featuring A Rocha’s large span of activities and projects in preserving and protecting the environment.
“Creation care is the protection of the environment as a sacred activity”, said De Vaulx putting the concept of “care” in a religious context. “Nature is sacred and deserves that we pray God for its existence … pray for the infinity of living forms we can externally observe and for the miracle of life that we inwardly experiment as being ourselves alive,” De Vaulx noted.
De Vaulx also put particular emphasis on the challenges of “creation care”, explaining how nature is getting destroyed by the industrialization factor that has direct consequences on climatic consequences, as well as the notion of “digitalization”, whereby people are not in direct touch or contact with other beings. “We just touch screens. No one can give care online,” said De Vaulx.
For his part, University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian expressed his gratitude to the founders, the Armenian Evangelical Church and the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), as well as all the foundations, namely the Philibosian Foundation for their continuous support and generosity.
Haidostian shared one of the most crucial mission of the University, that of shaping minds, skills, attitudes and values. “Attitude towards creation is of critical importance, and in this regard, we need increasing awareness, deeper education, and changing habits,” Haidostian noted. Within the same context, Haidosian added “we have always aspired to have graduates, staff and faculty who are known for their civic consciousness, awareness of their general environment, friendship, servanthood, warmth and gentleness. Our focus on our natural environment this year is part of the same value system.”
Haidostian concluded his speech with a message of hope for a year of new learning saying, “let us imagine, plan, pray and work to turn calamities into experiences of learning and service.”
The ceremony started with a prayer of invocation offered by the Campus Minister, Rev. Wilbert Van Saane. Students Lory Gulumian and Arman Derbedrossian, accompanied by Arine Markarian on the piano, performed two songs “Artsakh” and “What a Wonderful World” respectively. For her part, Student Dania Al Boukhari, winner of the Best Essay competition, shared her essay on the “Environment” with the audience.
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