55 Years of Unwavering Service for Many Generations, and Always in the Heart of the People
In the heart of the Mediterranean city of Beirut and in the hearts of current and former students all around the globe lies Haigazian University. Located in a prime business and social area of the Lebanese capital, this jewel has shined for the past 55 years as the only university with an Armenian identity in the entire Armenian Diaspora.
The loving family atmosphere, the exceptional quality and standard of education, and the dedicated faculty and staff make Haigazian a warm and nurturing second home for the hundreds of students passing through its gates every day. Haigazian is open to all students who are academically qualified regardless of race, nationality, or creed, and it has become renowned for graduating open-minded and dedicated young men and women that actively serve their community.
It all began on Oct. 17, 1955, when the Union of Armenian Churches in the Near East (UAECNE) and the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) established Haigazian as a liberal arts college to educate future teachers and pastors. Named in honor of the highly respected pastor, educator, philosopher, and a martyr of the Armenian Genocide, Dr. Armenag Haigazian, the university with its single building first opened its doors to 43 bright and eager young minds.
Haigazian University has prospered and grown over the years, transforming into an exemplary educational institution which this year serves a record number of 800 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a fully qualified faculty of around 100 and a staff of 50. The academic standards of Haigazian are among the top in the country, with a total of 30 undergraduate and 13 graduate majors offered in the faculties of business administration and economics, sciences, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. Haigazian University today occupies six buildings over an area of 6,500 sq. meters in a central district of Beirut. The recent acquisition of the Heritage building, which is a preserved architectural edifice, is another aspect of the university’s continued growth and serves a dual administrative and academic purpose.
As a liberal arts university, Haigazian focuses on providing its students with a well-rounded education, respecting a balance between academic and extracurricular activities with the help of its numerous clubs, teams, and societies. Haigazian promotes these clubs on the basis that they build self-esteem, help students acquire new skills, strengthen their character, cultivate their creativity and spirituality, and in general prepare them to become future leaders in their communities.
At Haigazian, every student counts. With an average of 20 students per class, the best personal care and attention is offered to each individual. One-on-one personal relations between faculty and students ensure that students get the most out of their educational experience, a unique aspect of Haigazian, rarely found in other universities in Lebanon.
The highly active student life at Haigazian includes a large variety of clubs that cater to different interests. The Arts and Crafts Club and the Photography Club are there for those with artistic inclinations, showing their works in exhibitions annually. The Actors Club and the Dance Club each put on a major production once a year. For those who want to serve the community, the Desert Streams Club is a philanthropic group of students that helps those in need, and the Environmental Club is dedicated to making the world a greener, healthier place to live in. The Social Activities Club plans social events where students get to know each other and establish friendships. Haigazian has its own student newspaper, the Herald, which is a place for students to express their views. The athletic program includes basketball, football, table tennis, tennis, swimming, martial arts, extreme sports, and chess. All these activities help students feel more connected to their university. Haigazian is proud of its 3,000 distinguished alumni spread all over the world and holding major positions in the private and public sectors, in the various fields of business, education, and media, among others.
Haigazian University contributes to the broader Lebanese and Armenian communities by publishing various books in Armenian, English, and Arabic, and by increasingly acting as a central community hub in organizing and sponsoring academic, cultural, and social events, extending its efforts all the way to Armenia. On the occasion of its 55th anniversary, the university is organizing a series of conferences throughout the year, covering topics from education to information technology, to real estate market and hospitality services in Lebanon. The series will culminate with an Armenological symposium, jointly organized with the Yerevan State University.
Another vital aspect of Haigazian’s growth is related to its budget and ever growing financial needs. Haigazian operates on a yearly budget of $5.5 million. Additionally, it grants a total of $1.2 million in financial aid programs. These scholarships are the tangible reality of the fundraising efforts and donations carried out by the AMAA, the Stephen Philibosian Foundation, and various other foundations such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Fund, the Robert Boghossian and Sons Foundation, the Lincy Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation, the Common Global Ministries Board, Armenian Patriotic Unions, the USAID, the Board of Trustees, the Women’s Auxiliary, and friends of the university.
Through these aid programs, students with financial difficulties who otherwise could not receive a higher education have the opportunity to go to university, receive their diploma and become well prepared to start out their lives in the real world.
The most recent program is the USAP (University Students Assistance Program) $7.4 million grant, primarily funded by the USAID (United States Agency for International Development). This aid program extended over a period of five years will choose students from the public schools of all the 26 districts of Lebanon and cover all their expenses from the time they prepare to enter Haigazian until they graduate, including tuition, dorms, books, and petty cash. This project is just one of the ways in which the university benefits from cooperating with other organizations. Haigazian University has signed memoranda of understanding with many other institutions, such as the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) in the U.S. Through this agreement, Haigazian will yearly sponsor the full tuition and stay of two students from Karabagh and Javakhk region each. With the Hrant Dink Foundation in Istanbul, Haigazian will soon publish Hrant Dink’s book in Arabic. The university has also signed agreement with the Lebanese University for faculty exchange, with Vivacell-MTS, the leading telecom company in Armenia, for students internships, the AUA (American University of Armenia), and the Yerevan State University.
Haigazian University has been setting an example in the field of higher education for the past 55 years, applying its motto of truth, freedom, and service. It aspires to continue to shine brightly, serving the community and nurturing the minds and hearts of future generations for many years to come.