Haigazian University was established in 1955 in Beirut, Lebanon by the joint endeavors of the AMAA and the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East. Haigazian is home campus to students from 20 countries throughout the world. As a vital place of learning, the Centennial Campaign supports Haigazian University with a goal of $4 million toward the endowment funds which provide tuition support for students
Bear Grylls, the British adventurer and television presenter, once said, “The rules of survival never change, whether you’re in a desert or an arena.” These are words that Alik Sarian, Haigazian University freshman and HU’s Future Armenian Leadership Fund (FALF) scholarship recipient lives by. Coming straight out of war-torn Aleppo with her family last summer, Alik has emerged on campus with a clear direction and focus. Life and hope have emerged from a wilderness. In the words of the prophet, “The desert… shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” (Isaiah 35:1) But behind her sweet shyness and pleasant demeanor is an inner determination and resolution to be her best and to make an impact on society as she prepares her future to help those in greatest need.
Besides being honored on the President’s List, Fall 2017, Alik has also become a rising star as the starting point guard on the Haigazian University Women’s basketball team. Just recently she earned her personal best, with twenty-seven points in a 51-28 win against the University of Balamand, topping her twenty-three points against LAU (Byblos) only days before.
But Alik’s drive to excel is nothing new. Under constant danger in Aleppo, Alik managed to play basketball and take piano lessons while also pursuing her high school career. A stellar student, she represented the Karen Jeppe Armenian College well, winning first place in the (All) Syrian Science Olympiad four years straight. When the fighting intensified, with daily bombings in her neighbourhood, the school moved to the safer, smaller Gulbenkian Middle School, and her studies were never disrupted. With Alik’s diploma and her acceptance to Haigazian University in hand, the entire family (father, mother, and younger sister) uprooted themselves and moved to Lebanon in August, where years earlier her grandfather had wisely invested in property in Jounieh. Though safe and secure, Alik and her family’s transition and experiences have not been unaccompanied by challenges. Alik has been met with some unfounded biases: distrust, prejudice and misinterpreting her to be uneducated because of her Syrian Arabic dialect.
But true to form and undeterred, Alik keeps her eyes on the horizon. She is fascinated by science, but is more interested in entering a field where she can help people. That is why she has chosen Biology as her major, with the intent to practice medicine. Her favorite professor at Haigazian University is Dr. Nadim Hassoun, who serves as Pre-Med advisor. She is amazed at his experience, knowledge and perspective.
Alik expresses enormous gratitude for the FALF Scholarship as “simply AMAZING!” She realizes that with the scholarship, new doors have appeared and her future intentions have a chance for being realized. She could have easily received a Merit-based Scholarship or a Scholarship for Syrian students. But FALF has extra meaning in the word “Leadership.” Supporters of FALF can be rest assured that their investment in students like Alik and the 7 other recipients is a strong investment for the future.