Haigazian Rocket Society: Lebanese Scientific Pride at Haigazian University

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, the replica sculpture of Cedar 4 was installed in the Mugar Garden of Haigazian University, in tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the Haigazian Rocket Society, and in conjunction with the documentary film being directed by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, which examines the Lebanese Rocket Society and its contribution to science.
The truck carrying the rocket sculpture, led by an escort of Lebanese security forces, left Dbaye highway in the morning, passing through Dora and Fouad Chehab highways, arriving to its final destination in Kantari, to land on its base in the Haigazian University Mugar Garden.
The directors Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, with Abbout Productions offered the sculpture of the “Cedar 4” rocket to Haigazian University, as a token of appreciation to the scientific team back then, for their pioneering role in the field of rocketery. The replica was commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation for Sharjah Biennial 2011. Cedar 4, was a three stage rocket that was launched on November 21st in 1963, reaching an altitude of 200 km and covering a distance of 600 km.
After unveiling the sculpture, in the presence of students, faculty, staff and journalists, President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, offered a short speech, thanking the directors and producers of this project. He emphasized on the pioneering role Haigazian Rocket Society played in the early 60’s, in the field of rocketry. Haidostian said that this moment is “a day of memory awakening” in the sense of the scientific advancement of human civilization, and that the Middle Eastern talent can also be put to practice in the Middle East and not only abroad, and to make our world and country a better and constantly developing home.
In their turn, both Directors Hadjithomas and Joreige emphasized on the scientific purpose of the project, which was initially aimed at promoting science and research. They shared with the audience their vision in offering this sculpture pointed towards the sky, representing faith in science and research, and hope in art and creativity in broadening our scope of imagination.
It is worth noting that Haigazian Rocket Society started in the early 60’s, under the leadership of Mathematics professor, Manoug Manouguian, and the active participation of the Haigazian College Rocket Society students. The first rocket was launched in 1961.
The scientific developments led to the expansion of this project, having the Lebanese Army with its liaison General Yousef Wehbe and various other researchers joining in, and hence leading to the establishment of the Lebanese Rocket Society.

Mira Yardemian
Public Relations Director