On Friday, July the 4th, 2008, Haigazian University graduated a record number of 157 students, in the First Armenian Evangelical Church courtyard, Beirut.
The ceremony honored 150 students from the faculties of Business Administration and Economics, Humanities, Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences with the BA and BS degrees, and 7 students with the Masters degree.
Among the 1200 invitees, were present Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Khaled Kabbani representing the President of the Republic, Minister of Administrative Affairs, Jean Oghassabian representing the Prime Minister, and MP. Hagop Pakradounian presenting the Speaker of the Parliament, in addition to deputies Pierre Daccache and Dr. Yeghia Jerejian, the Armenian Ambassador to Lebanon, H.E. Roupen Kharazian, university representatives, diplomats, clergy, members of the Board of Trustees, parents, relatives, and fellow students.
The ceremony started as Faculty and Graduates marched through the crowd of parents, relatives and friends in a remarkable processional march "Pomp and Circumstance" by Sir Edward Elgar, followed by the Lebanese National Anthem, and the Invocation by Rev. Robert Sarkissian, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.
The University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian welcomed the audience and acknowledged the special guests on the stage. In his trilingual speech, Haidostian stressed on the role Haigazian University and its sister institutions are playing to counter the negative tides of our days. "Key words in our world include development, advancement, openness, inclusiveness and globalization. And yet, loneliness, stress, lack of trust, racism, violence, disorientation, injustice and dissatisfaction characterize the modern human situation...The young generations deserve all the chances, all the support, and all the guidance we could give," Haidostian said.
Haidostian reiterated the role of education, and its direct effect on the quality of peoples' lives. "All people in the world realize how important it is to prepare young people who not only have received formal education, but also informally enjoy a positive sense of mission, a dynamic that builds, uplifts, shares, and harmonizes. After all, quality of life and quality of education are inseparable," Haidostian noted.
The guest speaker of the ceremony was the Minister of Economy and Trade, Mr. Sami Haddad, who tackled the issue of the human capital of Lebanon. "Lebanon's great wealth is its people, or what economists refer to as human capital. And it is the noble role of enhancing the knowledge of our youth, sharpening their skills and challenging their intelligence that our elite educational institutions, such as Haigazian University, are fulfilling so well," Haddad explained.
Talking of economy, Haddad highlighted the important sectors of the Lebanese economy, such as the banking sector, the medical services, the educational system, and the agricultural and industrial sectors. "The future of the Lebanese economy lies in high value added industries and not ordinary 'staple' products that can only compete on the basis of price. High value added industries tend to employ large numbers of qualified people like the students who are graduating today from this esteemed university," Haddad elaborated.
Afterwards, Registrar Roubina Artinian and Deans Fadi Asrawi and Arda Ekmekji presented the graduates who received their degrees from President Haidostian.
In their valedictorian addresses, Nayiri Kalajian, speaking in English, considered that the aim of education should not only be knowledge, but action. "Let us serve our community purposefully, for it is through our service that we will realize our strengths to face the challenges that will confront us," Kalayjian said. Whereas valedictorian Mirvat Al Ammouri, speaking in Arabic, considered that the aim of education is to raise the standard of living of people, thus improving the status of humanity in general.
After singing the Alma Mater, the ceremony concluded with the Benediction given by the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev. Meguerdich Karageozian.
The class of 2008, threw their caps and walked heads high with a unique recessional, "Trumpet Tune in C", by Henry Purcell, while celebratory balloons flew high in the skies.
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