Keynote speaker Sarkis D. Yoghourtdjian: Human relations – be they personal or professional – should not be zero sum games
On Friday, June 28, 2013, 156students proudly earned their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, at Haigazian University’s 53rd commencement exercises, amidst a mixed atmosphere of cheer and emotion, thus marking the end of yet another successful academic year.
Government Minister General PanosManjian represented the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Parliament, and the President of the Council of Ministers. Mr. Mohammad Al Mashnouk was there to represent the newly appointed Prime Minister, Mr. Tammam Salam. Among the attendees were also Minister VrejSabounjian, MPs SebouhKalpakian and Shant Chinchinian, the representative of the Commander of the Army, the first secretary of the Armenian Embassy, VartanAtamian, the President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon, Rev. SelimSahyouni, former ministers and MPs, clergy, members of the Board of Trustees, parents, relatives and friends.
A celebratory processional march by faculty and students, led by Chief Marshall Dr. DavidTawil, followed by the Lebanese National Anthem and the prayer of invocation offered by Campus Minister, Rev. Bruce Schoup, opened the auspicious ceremony.
“Higher education is meant to help us look outside our window, while also looking into a mirror,” said University President Paul Haidostian to the class of 2013.
Emphasizing more on its sociopolitical and global framework, Haidostian considered that higher education faces new manifestations: “A world of over-integration in which one is to integrate everything into one reality, one method, be it religious, political, economic, or cultural, and a world of disintegration with the feeling that everything is falling apart, with no sense of authority, respect, or civility, a world where localized terror seems to be the globalized threat.”
Regarding over-integration, Haidostian reiterated on the fact that it’s the education’s mission to “show that life comes in shades of various colors, realities of various shapes, and that humility regarding our own method and our knowledge is a key to learning and goodness,” and as to disintegration, the education’s missions lies in “keeping hope alive, and the promise of life being where we get free and connected with each other.”
He then introduced keynote speaker, Sarkis D. Yoghourtdjian, Assistant Director of the Banking Supervision and Regulation, of the Federal Reserve System at Washington DC.
An international banker, and a sought-after consultant for global banking issues, Yoghourtjian is the recipient of the prestigious AnaniaShirakatsi Medal, bestowed on him in 2012 by the President of the Republic of the Armenia, for his notable services in the establishment and modernization of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia. Also, in November 2012, Mr. Yoghourtdjian was honored as the Man of the Year by the Union or Arab Banks during its annual gathering in Beirut. He is the first Lebanese-Armenian to be conferred such an honor.
“I have found no greater satisfaction than achieving success through honest dealings and strict adherence to the view that for you to gain,those you deal with should gain as well. Human relations – be they personal or professional – should not be zero sum games.” With these words Yoghourtdjian summed up his advice to the fresh graduates, as they get ready to embark into a new phase of their lives.
Talking from his personal experience and sharing his humble beginnings as a Lebanese-Armenian, Yoghourtdjian credited his success to “immeasurable perseverance, will-power, and hard work.”
He also focused on the notion of horizons and perspectives, and in this respect Yoghourtdjian said, “I believe that my efforts throughout my life to expand my horizons and to keep a broad perspective have helped better meet the challenges that have come my way. At the same time, because I appreciate the role of chance and contingency in human events, I try to be appropriately realistic about my own capabilities.”
He finally concluded to be always driven by love, affirming that, “a career decision based only on money and not on love of the work or desire to make a difference, is a recipe for unhappiness.”
Two students delivered speeches before their fellow classmates.
Valedictorian RayanBatlouni, a candidate for a Bachelor degree in Social Work, hailed Haigazian University for its diversity and safe environment. “This mixture of cultures – especially the Armenian and the Lebanese – gives this university its uniqueness and richness”, Batlouni noted.
She further underlined three values that have marked her journey at Haigazian University: Freedom of expression, passion for knowledge, responsibility and commitment.
Quoting Russian novelist Maxime Gorky, “every human being is born twice: the first is the physiological delivery, and the second is the intellectual, ethical and scientific birth of the human being”, Batlouni gratefully thanked all parents and Haigazian University.
For her part, NanorParseghian, a candidate for Bachelor degree in Business Administration, appreciated the unwavering efforts of the University administration and faculty body for arming them with virtues, knowledge and confidence, thus making them ready for life’s challenges.
As she goes separate ways with her friends, Parseghian urged her fellow classmates to act and work towards the fulfillment of their dreams, always bearing in mind to be at the service and bring pride to their country, Lebanon.
Upon the benediction offered by the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev. Megrdich Karageozian, graduates threw their caps high into the air, as colorful balloons flew overhead.