Press Release
Subject: Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian as guest speaker at Haigazian
University Commencement
Mira Yardemian
Public Relations Director
Haigazian University
Beirut Lebanon
tel: 961 1 349230/1 ext:365

Haigazian University Jubilee Commencement Ceremonies
Oskanian: The Jubilee class has much to give to Lebanon and Armenia

On Friday, July the 1st, 2005, Haigazian University graduated a record
number of 121 students, in the grandiose "Pavillon Royal" hall, of the Biel
center in Beirut.

The ceremony honored 108 students from the faculties of Business
Administration and Economics, Humanities, Sciences, and Social and
Behavioral Sciences with the BA and BS degrees, and 13 students with the
Masters degree.

Among the 1500 invitees, were present Minister of Energy, Bassam Yammine
representing the President of the Republic, Minister of Health, Mohammad
Jawad Khalife representing the Prime Minister, and MP. Hagop Pakradouni
presenting the House Speaker, in addition to a number of deputies, former
ministers, university presidents, diplomats, guests from Armenia, Canada,
Iran, Cyprus and Syria, and members of the Board of Trustees who came
specially from the USA, to take part in the central celebrations of the
50th Anniversary.

The ceremony started as Faculty and Graduates marched through the crowd of
parents, relatives and friends in a remarkable processional march
"Tannhauser" played live by the Beirut Chamber Orchestra with Maestro
Harout Fazlian.

Everyone was standing for the National Anthem, sung live by the "Armiss"
Choir, accompanied by the Orchestra, followed by the Invocation by Rev.
Nishan Bakalian.

President Haidostian welcomed the audience and acknowledged the special
guests on the stage. In his trilingual speech, Haidostian explained the
very purpose of the founding of Haigazian University 50 years earlier.
"In this ceremony, we have the special privilege of honoring our special
role in this world. Having been born just a few decades after the Armenian
Genocide as a resilient institutional response to death and dispersement, I
stand in awe before the memory of a million and a half martyrs of our
nation, among whom Armenag Haigazian himself.
As faithful descendants of a victimized nation, our parents and
grandparents chose life, and with hope they built all that they could in
Armenian, the Near East, the USA and elsewhere. An Armenian population (and
within it the Armenian Evangelical Church) that prided itself in dozens of
institutions of higher learning in our Cilician Armenian homeland less than
a century ago, today witnesses the increasing pride in this one Armenian
owned university in the Diaspora. Haigazian University stands not like an
orphan, however, but as a living monument, as a memorial fountain of
life. Through God's grace we exist.
Haigazian, therefore, enjoys the heavy and joyful responsibility of
representing the best that Armenian identity could bring to the whole
Diaspora", noted Haidostian.
As to the Lebanese heritage, Haidostian pointed out that "the rich heritage
of Lebanon, its diverse communal life, its openness to the world, and its
bridging character of antiquity and modernity have made the Haigazian
reality possible".
Finally, Haidostian concluded, "let history record, Haigazian University
has brought the Armenians to the heights of life, in lands of Arab
humanity, with values of American education".

Many people took part in the ceremony, delivering their greetings:
Founding President of Haigazian University, Dr. John Markarian advised the
graduates that the real challenge is for life and not for death.
The President of the Yervan State University, Dr. Radig Mardirossian,
praised Haigazian for offering to the communities of the world hundreds of
teachers, psychologists, public servants and many other specialists in
different fields. He noted also the university's role in preserving the
Armenian identity, education and culture, and he concluded that Haigazian
University has succeeded to become a pivotal center of learning and
education in the region.
In his turn, the Director General of Higher Education, Dr. Ahmad Al Jammal,
representing the Minister of Education and Higher Learning, congratulated
the fresh graduates, and stressed on the role Haigazian University has
always played in investing in and building the ideal human being, socially,
morally and intellectually. He advised the university to always keep track
with novelties and technology, in order to retain the reputable place it
has acquired through the past fifty years.

The jubilee year's distinguished guest speaker, was the Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Vartan Oskanian, who was granted by
the shield of service from President Haidostian, for his services to
Armenia and the Diaspora.

In his speech, Oskanian eloquently presented the commonalities of the two
great countries, Lebanon and Armenia. Historically, Armenia has suffered
from wars, genocide and deportation, just as Lebanon has reached its
present state after so many wars and political instabilities. He discussed
the plurality, multiculturism, and openness of Lebanon, these
particularities that make this country so different among its neighbours,
and enable it to be as hospitable as it was 90 years ago when it embraced
the Armenians after the Genocide.
To the graduates, Oskanian asked them to eagerly participate in the
rebuilding of Lebanon, yet not forgetting their mother land Armenia, thus
being a partner in the mutual prosperity of the two countries.
Finally, Oskanian congratulated Haigazian University and wished it long
years of service.

After a choral and orchestral interlude, "The Spacious Firmament on High",
Registrar Mrs. Roubina Artinian and Deans Dr. Fadi Asrawi and Dr. Arda
Ekmekji presented the graduates to receive their degrees from President
Haidostian, joined by Minister Oskanian.

In their valedictorian addresses, Cynthia Hanna, speaking in English,
thanked everyone in the university who helped the students to reach their
current status, and Kevork Kevorkian, speaking in Arabic, said that this
university has taught him to accept others' differences and to be led by
faith and positive thinking.

After singing the Alma Mater, the ceremony was concluded with the
Benediction given by the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical
Churches in the Near East, Rev. Meguerdich Karageozian.

The Jubilee class of 2005, threw their caps and walked heads high with a
unique recessional, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee", also played by the
orchestra and the Armiss Choir, conducted by Maestro Harout Fazlian.