Special Honorees: Late journalist Ghassan Tueni and late photojournalist Harry Koundakjian
On October 13, 2014, under the high patronage of the Minister of Information, Ramzi Joreige, Haigazian University celebrated its Founders’ Day, in the presence of a host of political, diplomatic, social and academic figures, faculty and staff, representatives of sister institutions and foundations, and a large crowd of students. Among the dignitaries were, Armenian Ambassador Ashot Kocharian and Consul Ashot Vartanian, Members of Parliament Jean Oghasabian, Hagop Pakradouni, Sepouh Kalpakian, Serge Toursarkissian, and Shant Chinchinian, and Mayor Antranig Messerlian.
This commemorative celebration, which also marked the official launch of the University’s 60th Anniversary, honored the late journalist, MP. Ghassan Tueni, and the late Photojournalist Harry Koundakjian.
A processional march inaugurated the auspicious ceremony, followed by the Lebanese National Anthem, and a prayer of invocation offered by the new campus minister, Rev. Wilbert Van Saane.
In his inspiring speech, President Haidostian placed particular emphasis on Haigazian University’s value system, especially the value of merit, explaining the difficult beginnings of the founders. “The founders and donors had not inherited much from their parents but had turned tragedy into creative life… We are founded on values that focus on hard work, overcoming obstacles, openness towards others, and valuing all forms of life, knowing well that it is in the depth of the God-given soul that human and social diamonds are shaped,” Haidostian noted.
Quoting the University’s motto, “Truth, Freedom and Service”, Haidostian went further to list the virtues of the two honorees by saying, “Ghassan Tueini’s and Harry Koundakjian’s proven talent, dedication, selflessness, and hard work, combined with a passion for sharing the truth with others, are the recipe for greatness and lasting merit in this world. The pen was for Tueini what the lens was for Koundakjian. And the simple truth was exposed to the global audience.”
Engaging students, the leaders of the future, to get inspired by personalities such as Tueni and Koundakjian, Haidostian concluded his words saying, “indeed, Lebanon and the world will continue to need sharp yet tolerant minds, strong, yet enlightening words of Tueni. Lebanon and the world will need shocking yet truthful images of reality out there, as photojournalist like Koundakjian did.”
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Joreige proudly acknowledged the positive role Haigazian University plays in service of the Lebanese youth, maintaining its high standard and excellent reputation amidst a mass of universities in the country. “The future of Lebanon is ensured only through the preservation of its strong academic system, in promoting universal values of openness, dialogue and coexistence,” Joreige noted.
In his congratulatory note on the honorees, Joreige, who was a close friend of Ghassan Tueni, considered this latter an exceptional personality, a giant in politics, diplomacy, reform, academia and journalism. On Koundakjian, Minister Joreige listed the various world events covered by the photojournalist, highlighting the Haigazian Rocket Society experiments, which constitute a rich national heritage to Lebanon.
The ceremony featured two visual presentations; “The Image of 60 years” paid tribute to the visionary founders, and traced the early beginnings of the University till its most recent achievements, underlining campus development, and student life. The rich and professional life experience of both honorees, were also revealed to the audience through a slide of photos which summarized their work course.
Awards of appreciation were granted on this occasion; first to the Minister, acknowledging the continuous cooperation of the Ministry of Information with Haigazian University, and in honor of Ghassan Tueni and Harry Koundakjian, received respectively by his widow Chadia Tueni, and the Head of the Union of the Lebanese Photojournalists, Karim El Hage.
On this special event, HU student clubs were honored, and certificates of recognition to club representatives were announce by Student Life Director Razmig Kaprielian, and handed by Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mr. John Sagherian, and Dean Asrawi and Dean Ekmekji respectively. Pianist and alumna, Annie Balabanian, brought her contribution with a musical interlude, graciously playing a piece from Sergei Rachmaninov.
To conclude, everyone rose to sing the Alma Mater, led by vocalist, student Nejteh Bodrumian, accompanied on the piano by student John Hatem.
The event was capped with a reception in the Mugar Hall.
Public Relations Director