While public attention focuses on wars and fears, crises and disappointments, we gather here to celebrate the value of education. I celebrate with you the freedom to educate, and the freedom of the sensitive heart to learn.
Education is there to simplify things on the one hand, so that people may develop, heal and fix, find solutions and comfort. On the other hand, education is meant to complicate things and move us deeper and higher.
Higher Education, therefore, does not simply mean higher than secondary education.
Higher in education, especially in the American educational liberal arts system requires us to teach people to go beyond and above the obvious, beyond our
immediate view. It is meant to help us look outside our window, while also looking into a mirror.
In our sociopolitical and global framework, higher education faces new manifestations, as the world seems to be in a clash between two opposing poles, and much in between:
- A world of over-integration in which one is to integrate everything, even the irreconcilable into one reality, one method, be it religious, political, economic, or cultural.
- A world of disintegration where nothing fits anything. No one tolerates anyone. No one is accountable to anyone. No one sacrifices for anyone. Divisions on the maps, in the hearts, in neighborhoods, and in the minds imprint the view of the futuristic present. There is a 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.
But value is often in the in-between.
Regarding over-integration, it is our education 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.
Regarding disintegration, it is our education mission to show that what keeps hope alive, and the promise of life is to lovingly and freely connect with each other. For knowledge and work add meaning only when they join the witness, knowledge and experience of all times and all people.
Instead of a place to stand, the new world requires that we swim between these two poles while keeping the strength of our muscles, or goal, and the safety of our shores.
Higher education should mean to educate for the higher purposes, not for higher information. So, may Haigazian University bring a small share in such an educational mission.
Our distinguished speaker today is Mr. Sarkis Yoghourtdjian who comes to us from Washington, DC. He is an Advisor and Assistant Director for banking supervision and regulation at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Mr. Yoghourtdjian frequently serves as an Advisor to the IMF and a Consultant to the World Bank by taking part in technical assistance and advisory missions to a wide-range of economies around the world. Mr. Yoghourtdjian also served as Advisor to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) during Financial Stability Institute’s formative years. He is the co-chairman of the Advisory Group of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Financial Regulators Initiative as well as member of the Consultative Group of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Regulators Initiative. He joined the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in late 1989 and served in various capacities in banking regulation and supervision before his official appointment as Advisor in January of 2006. He has also taught at Gateway College in Wisconsin. Mr. Yoghourtdjian is the recipient of the University of Wisconsin’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award as well as the recipient of the Federal Reserve Board’s Special Achievement Award.
On the occasion of the 21st Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia in 2012, the President of the Republic of the Armenia bestowed upon him the prestigious AnaniaShirakatsi Medal for his notable services in the establishment and modernization of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia.
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.
Mr. Yoghourtdjian has been a speaker at a number of international conferences and gatherings around the world on global banking issues.
What an honor it is to have him address us. Please welcome Mr. Yoghourtdjian.
Rev. Paul Haidostian, Ph.D.