By Mira Yardemian
On Tues., March 8, Haigazian University celebrated International Women’s Day by honoring four accomplished women from diverse backgrounds and experiences who had a great impact on Lebanese society. They are Helene Badaro, Asma Zein, Claudia Marshalian, and Lena Gebrane.
The event, which was organized by the joint efforts of the Haigazian University Women’s Auxiliary and the Public Relations Department, opened with welcoming words by Dean of Arts and Sciences Dr. Arda Ekmekji, who underlined the substantial importance of this occasion throughout the world. She acknowledged that the honorees have “merited and not inherited this evening’s tribute.”
Terine Hasserjian, chairwoman of the Haigazian University Women’s Auxiliary (HUWA), shared with the audience the history of this celebration, which dates back 15 years and which has recognized more than 40 women from various Lebanese denominations and regions for their achievements and breakthroughs.
Mira Yardemian, public relations director, led the audience in a “Down memory lane,” presenting the lives and major accomplishments of the honorees. Helene Badaro has spent her life serving on the committees of educational and cultural institutions, raising funds for scholarships, and preserving the Lebanese national heritage. Asma Zein is a business entrepreneur with an amassed wealth of experience and knowledge in the service industry, in addition to being an advocate of women’s rights, especially in the fields of business and entrepreneurship. Claudia Marshalian is a prolific scriptwriter, actress, and journalist whose works have allowed her to become a major player in drama in Lebanon and the Arab world. Lena Gebrane is the founder of the organization Kunhadi for road safety awareness. She has turned the tragedy of losing her only son Hadi to a car crash into a new culture of safe driving habits among the Lebanese youth.
In his remarks, Haigazian University President Paul Haidostian addressed the issue of women’s rights, saying that “it is not simply laws, religious statements, symbolic gestures, and generous compliments that can address the problem, but formal and informal education, at home, in school, university, and elsewhere. It is reform in mentality that leads to better laws and practices.”
Giving the concrete example of Haigazian, Haidostian said “every celebration of success at Haigazian is also a celebration of the potential, the skills, and the toil of women in a very real way.” Sixty-three percent of the student body is comprised of women students; 69 percent of the administrative staff and almost 50 percent of the faculty are women.
The celebration was musically animated by Dr. Reem Deeb, soprano, who enchanted the audience with the song, “Climb Every Mountain,” as well as by the talented musicians Loucine Panjarian on piano and Roubina Artinian on flute playing, “Carmen Fantasia Brilliant.”