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What feels like the end is often the beginning!

On Friday, June the 7th, 2024, despite the challenges that Lebanon and the region are undergoing, another successful academic year came to an end by holding Haigazian University’s 64th Commencement Exercises!

Some 123 students from the various faculties of Business Administration & Economics, Humanities, Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences received their undergraduate and graduate degrees, on thus bidding farewell to their four-year educational journey.

Amidst an atmosphere of cheer and pride, sometimes mixed with moments of high emotion, a capacity audience of officials, diplomats, religious leaders, community representatives, family and friends were gathered in the courtyard of the First Armenian Evangelical Church, next to University campus, to applaud the graduating students.

For this auspicious ceremony, Haigazian University was honored to host this year Mr. Ziad Hayek, as keynote speaker. A Tech Entrepreneur and President of the World Association of Public-Private Partnership, Hayek qualified the Class of 2024 as the “real treasure of Lebanon!”

The ceremony commenced with the formal processional march on the notes of the traditional Pomp and Circumstance by Sir Edward Elgar, whereby faculty proceeded in their traditional academic regalia of caps, gown and hoods, followed by graduates. After the Lebanese National Anthem, the prayer of invocation was offered by the Campus Minister, Rev. Wilbert Van Saane.

In his welcoming address, University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian expressed his pride in the graduating class and acknowledged the unwavering efforts and dedication of the administrative and teaching body, the students and their parents during this challenging year the country and the region is facing, asking the audience to give them a hearty applause.

In his talk, Haidostian mainly tackled the notion of “lost and found” and in ways of finding balance and explanation to it.

“Focus on the deeper side of things, on the spiritual serenity of life, and on the dignified aspect of being and working,” said Haidostian as an answer to this critical topic.

Considering this generation in general, with its rich potential, and the Class of 2024 in particular, as  always being a “generation HU”, Haidostian said, “your class, as our previous classes, will distinguish itself as humanly caring, as professionally ambitious, as intellectually serious, and as spiritually reflective.”

Haidostian also put significant emphasis on the notions of “faith” and “hope” in fighting against and overcoming despair in these challenging times, as well as on the vital need of preparing a future generation driven with ethical values and principles.

“Forget the Central Bank’s gold reserves. You are the real treasure of Lebanon! You are weaving the fabric of Lebanon’s society of tomorrow. Your wings are now fully feathered and complete. Like eagles, go fly high. Soar in the sky,” said Ziad Hayek in his inspiring keynote speech, to the Class of 2024.

Hayek focused on few key perspectives, “Sustained Education”, “Entrepreneurship and Reputation” and “Passion and Courage” in response to the main concept of graduates drawing their own path in life.

“In the old days, a day like today would mark the end of your education and the beginning of your working life, but in today’s world, it marks the beginning of your education in your working life,” said Hayek putting significant importance on sustained education in non-classical formats and the love of continuous learning.

As entrepreneurship has become the norm again with the technological revolution, Hayek considered that due to social media and artificial intelligence, one’s personal brand, name and reputation have become of vital importance.

“Your entire life and friends and deeds and ratings and remarks and reputation are out there for everyone to see. Reputation will be critical again, especially reputation for diligence, for hard work, for teamwork, for leadership and most importantly reputation for ethical values,” Hayek noted.

On “passion and courage”, Hayek shared with the graduates one of his favorite quotes, “A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for!”. He urged them to find where their passion lies and to follow it by courage and diligence. “Don’t stay at the harbor, where you feel comfortable. Embrace the challenge! Go out and face the stormy sea!” Hayek concluded.

With a sense of accomplishment, valedictorian Hovig Jahizian, expressed his immense gratitude to the University for this unique opportunity and experience.

Applauding the various assets acquired during his education path, such as work ethic, motivation, perseverance, adaptability and resilience, Jahizian assured his fellow graduates that “they will climb and conquer the towering mountains of challenges”.

Pointing out to the University’s motto of “Truth, Freedom and Service”, Jahizian considered those principles and values become more critical than before. “It is imperative that we carry these words with us, because they will be our shields and weapons against the injustice, deceit, and darkness we witness around us,” he noted.

For her part, valedictorian Dana Younes, also gratefully acknowledged the determination, strong will and resilience of her fellow graduates in overcoming the political instability as well as the economic and financial challenges of the country, as they embark on a new phase of their lives.

Younes praised the sense of belonging the University has instilled in them, in addition to all the efforts pooled in providing the exemplary education, as well as building their character, skills, confidence and social responsibility.

Finally, after singing the Alma Mater, and upon the benediction offered by Former Campus Minister, Rev. Nishan Bakalian, with waves of resounding cheers graduates threw their caps high into the air!

Mira Yardemian
Public Relations Director

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