“Appreciate the diversity and how to consider the other as a blessing for you and as an enrichment for life and society,” said Rev. Fr. Fadi Daou, Founder and President of Adyan Foundation, to the graduating class of 2016.
Fr. Daou was the guest speaker at the Baccalaureate Service of Haigazian University, which took place on Sunday, the 19th of June 2016, in the First Armenian Evangelical Church, next to University campus, in the presence of a capacity audience of graduates, along with their families and friends.
Many graduating students brought their participation in this solemn ceremony of dedication and thanksgiving; Mona Ramadan, Nicolas Al Bayeh, Nanor Kalayjian and Maria-Lena Kissoyan read passages from the Old and New Testament. Patil Dadayan reflected on her University years, sharing the values Haigazian University has taught her. The spiritual choir and band had also their performances, singing “We will Walk with God”, “Come, Bring your Burdens”, and “Blessed Be Your Name”.
Students Meghety Foudoulian and Armen Bakkalian read the pledge of the graduates: “We, the class of 2016 of Haigazian University, in receiving this light, pledge to hold high the light of truth, to defend the light of freedom, and to spread the light of service to our communities, our country and our world. With truth, freedom and service illuminating our hearts, we will challenge each other, and our world, to uphold the worth of each human being, and we will strive for the betterment of society, knowing that this is pleasing to God.”
“We too are grateful to God for you. The university did not create your abilities, but it tried to cultivate them. The university did not give birth to your life, but it meant to nurture you… It is not only the university that gave you, but you gave equally. You gave Haigazian its character of your years here”. With these words, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, President of Haigazian University, addressed the graduating class of 2016. Haidostian also underlined the meaning and importance of “exercising gratitude”, saying, “I say exercising, because thankfulness, using words and gestures, will hopefully penetrate the soul.”
In his keynote address entitled “Let the Other Lead You to Yourselves”, Rev. Fr. Fadi Daou focused on the concept of “Blessing of the Difference”, acknowledging the role of Haigazian University in teaching the youth “how to appreciate this diversity and how to consider the other as a blessing for oneself and as an enrichment for life and society”. Quoting Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, Daou invited graduates to rather look for the challenges of the current world, locally and globally, and take their part in transforming it. Daou also put particular emphasis on the virtue of “serving others” considering it as the only way to lead them to themselves and ultimately to God. He concluded his speech by encouraging graduates to “go out from their comfort zone, not to be afraid to cross boundaries, to push the frontiers of their living and go off-road and exploring the richness of life”.
Several pastors brought their share in this thanksgiving service. Rev. Wilbert Van Saane, Campus Minister of Haigazian University, offered the call to worship and the prayer of dedication, while the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev. Megrdich Karagoezian concluded the service by offering his benediction.
Finally, the graduating class of 2016 marched out of the sanctuary, each carrying the light of truth, freedom and service to the world.