Haidostian Lectures on “The Armenian Contribution to Lebanon: Challenges and Lessons”
On January 19, 2016, Haigazian University hosted the British Lebanese Business Group (BLBG), around a lecture entitled: “The Armenian Contribution to Lebanon: Challenges and Lessons”, delivered by University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian.
Chairman of the Group, Graham Ball, welcomed the audience composed of a rich mix of Lebanese and British professionals, thanking the kind gesture of Haigazian University for hosting their inaugural meeting of the year 2016.
In his inspiring presentation, Haidostian explained the strong affinity of all Armenians to Lebanon, the characteristics of a unique ethnic community and the contributions of the Lebanese Armenians to this multi-cultural country from a historical perspective, in addition to the introduction of the heritage of prominent Armenian figures who have had a pioneering impact on the Lebanese cultural, political and scientific arenas.
Through the aid of visual materials, Haidostian further explained the historical relations and existence of Armenians in Lebanon and the region, dating back from King Tigran the Great in the 1st century BC, to the first Armenian pilgrims to the Holy Land of Jerusalem in the earliest centuries of Christianity, to the Armenian Catholic presence in the region of Keserwan and the foundation of the Bzommar Monastery in 1771, until the post-Genocide mass migration of Armenians during the World War I.
Haidostian also shared the success story of Haigazian University, as the only Armenian-owned University in the Armenian Diaspora, highlighting the critical and peaceful role it has played over 60 plus years in preparing and shaping the future of the Lebanese youth in a conciliatory atmosphere. He gave the example of the Haigazian Rocket Society established by the visionary Mathematics Professor, Manoug Manougian and his students in the early 1960s as an internal science project, which then was advanced further by the joint efforts of the Lebanese Army, to become a national project named the Lebanese Rocket Society.
To name a few successful Armenians form a long list who had a strong impact on the collective heritage of the country, Haidostian shared the example of renowned psychiatrist, Lebanese Member of Parliament, Dr. Antranig Manougian, who was appointed as the first Lebanese Director of the Asfouriyye mental asylum. Also on the list were two famous architects, Haroutune Kalayan, known for his expertise in the restoration of the ancient ruins of Baalbeck and Anjar, and Mardiros Altounian for designing, among many other important structures, the Lebanese Parliament building in 1931, and the Abed Clock Tower in 1934.
Haidostian concluded his speech by reiterating the fact that Armenians in the Diaspora in general, and in Lebanon in particular, have shown a high degree of loyalty, eagerness to create and work in an atmosphere of freedom and entrepreneurship. They continue to serve as a live example of a nation that has turned tragedy into energy and opportunity for hard work, and while fully joining the socio-political and national life of Lebanon, the Lebanese-Armenian community has always taken pride in preserving a strong sense of a multifaceted identity, and promoted its rich cultural heritage and the strength of its memory in the service of Lebanon.
After an interactive Q & A session, and while enjoying the reception prepared for them, the guests continued networking and discussing while listening to live music presented by Haigazian students.
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