Mr. Elie Haddad on “Called to Transform Societies”
“You are the ones who will be the pillars of the future. Our hope rests in you, that you will see yourselves as the ones whom God has called to transform our society,” said Mr. Elie Haddad, President of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, to the graduating class of 2017.
Mr. Haddad was the guest speaker at the Baccalaureate Service of Haigazian University, which took place on Sunday, the 18th of June 2017, 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; Sarine Jobanian, Angie Kirejian, Pamela Al Haber, and Soler Gazarian read passages from the Old and New Testament. Ely Bahhadi reflected on his University years. Spiritual Life student Armani Hera Selim graciously sang “You Raise me Up”, accompanied by Laury Bilalian on the flute and Breska Haddad on the piano.
Students Harout Agopian and Maryam Baydoun read the pledge of the graduates which states: “We, the class of 2017 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.”
President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian addressed the graduates, putting particular emphasis on the notion of “gratitude”.
“The ones who develop grateful hearts are the ones who will build up societies, families, and nations,” said Haidostian. He also underlined the meaning and importance of “approaching things right”, saying, “how you handled your weaknesses and failures will shape you as a person if you approach things right.”
In his keynote address entitled “Called to Transform Societies”, Mr. Elie Haddad focused on the concept of “transforming initiatives”, acknowledging the role of Haigazian University in teaching and equipping the youth with the intellect, skills, values and passion to be agents of transformation and hope in whichever societies they will end up living in. “As we make positive actions, the situation we are in will be transformed, the people around us will be transformed, even ourselves will be transformed. This is how societies are transformed”, said Haddad.
Several pastors brought their share in this thanksgiving service. Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical First Church, Rev. Hrayr Cholakian offered the call to worship, Haigazian University Campus Minister, Rev. Wilbert Van Saane offered 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 2017 marched out of the sanctuary, each carrying the light of truth, freedom and service to the world, and paused for the traditional group photo with President Haidostian.
The event concluded over a reception.