BEIRUT, Lebanon—On Wed., Jan. 25, Haigazian University held the inaugural ceremony of its Armenian Diaspora Research Center with the unveiling of a plaque in the new Heritage Building by University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian and Yercho Samuelian, whose donation made the launching of the center possible.
Established to study the diverse aspects of the Armenian Diaspora in the Middle East and throughout the world, using the most advanced research techniques, the center aims to conduct and publish primary research—while holding annual academic conferences, public lectures, and internship programs—that will further the understanding of Armenian culture.
Announced on Sept. 5, 2011, the center officially opened at Haigazian’s Conte Hall in the presence of the president of the Lebanese University, Former Minister Dr. Adnan El Sayed Hussein, the center’s benefactor, Yercho Samuelian, Archbishop Keghan Khatcherian; Armenian Ambassador Ashod Kotcharian, Members of Parliament (MP) Jean Oghasabian, Hagop Pakradouni, Bassem Shabb, and Shant Chinchinian, former MP Dr. Yeghia Jerejian, Vice Governor of the Central Bank Haroutioun Samuelian, Head of the Bourj Hammoud Municipality Antranig Messerlian, political party and cultural association leaders, media representatives, intellectuals, and Haigazian Board of Trustees, staff, and faculty members.
After welcome remarks by Dean of Arts and Sciences Arda Ekmekji, who expressed her gratitude for this long-awaited project, the president of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, outlined the significance of the Armenian Diaspora Research Center and the results that its research will undoubtedly produce.
Characterizing the diaspora as a “vast world of people, symbols, dynamics, and relationships,” Haidostian emphasized the importance of researching these communities, which will take us “deeper into revisiting what we thought we knew.”
“We present our research to the academic community so that future generations may be reconciled with their past,” he said.
Haidostian then expressed his appreciation for Samuelian’s generous financial support and announced the appointment of Dr. Antranik Dakessian as center’s director.
Hussein spoke next, and praised Haigazian’s role as a leading university in the country, and particularly its importance as a center for the Armenian Diaspora. He also emphasized the memorandum of understanding between Haigazian and the Lebanese University, and related their upcoming projects.
Dakessian then elaborated on the extended contact between Lebanon and the Armenians, which can be traced back several hundred years, but has been particularly prominent within the last century, he said. “It is the story of the intermingling of the Armenians and the local populations, and it is of immense cultural value.” Dakessian emphasized the planned collaboration of the research center “with local and international relevant centers,” and expressed his appreciation for all those who contributed to its realization.
Ambassador Kotcharian read a letter from the Armenian Minister of Diaspora, Hranoush Hagopian, who offered her congratulations to Haigazian University and its dedicated staff and faculty. She said she hopes the center tackles the challenges and issues facing Armenian communities worldwide, and greatly contributes to the cooperation between Armenians and the diaspora.