The Bibliotheca Alexandrina has established a new Egyptology centre in Cairo’s Smart Village in honour of former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass.
The centre is part of the Bibliotheca’s role in documenting Egyptian scientists who have served the world through their achievements. It is one of the first projects adopted by Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Mostafa El-Feki in the light of the role played by Hawass around the world through his public lectures and writings.
In a statement, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina explained that the new centre would encompass research, education, and training departments, and organise archaeological, historical, and educational workshops, as well as offer scholarships to students working on scientific research. It will also give out Hawass Awards to the best archaeological research or archaeologist from the Ministry of Antiquities.
Egyptian actors at the ceremony (Photo: Aymen Barayez)
The centre is named after Hawass due to his efforts in the field of archaeology and the important role he has played locally, regionally and internationally.
At an event on Monday marking the opening Hawass met with children at the Giza Pyramids who are passionate about history and discuss the building of the Pyramids and other aspects of Egypt’s long history.
Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly that the centre would be a venue for young Egyptologists, as well as children and young people in general who have passion for Egypt’s heritage and history. “Through a series of lectures, workshops and events, the centre aims at raising awareness about Egypt’s cultural heritage and promotes public engagement at various historical sites,” Hawass said. He continued that it would provide a fruitful programme of events both locally and internationally.
Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany (second from right) and Tourism Minister Rania Al-Mashat (Photo: Aymen Barayez)
On the international level, the programme will include a lecture three times a month by Skype to school students in the United States, Australia and Japan. This lecture will also be available in European countries such as Italy.
An Internet training course to teach hieroglyphics online is also to be provided to children and adults, as well as another course to teach ancient Egyptian history. A series of courses on Egypt’s history, the most important discoveries that have influenced history, and the top 10 discoveries made in Egypt, such as the discovery of the golden mummies in the Bahariya Oasis and the workmen’s cemetery on the Giza Plateau, will be provided online.
Hawass said that at the local level the centre has another programme. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, art teachers in Egyptian schools will teach their pupils how to draw the hieroglyphic alphabet starting next week.
In collaboration with Nahdet Misr Publishers, a collection of books for children on the Ancient Egyptian civilisation will be printed to teach children how the Ancient Egyptians ruled with peace and justice and the greatness of their civilisation.
Among these books, Hawass said, was a book on the boy-king Tutankhamun entitled A Journey with the Boy King that would be produced in both Arabic and English.
Other books on art, science, medicine and engineering will be produced and distributed among students of universities in Egypt.
“A full schedule has been drawn up to raise the students’ awareness of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation,” Hawass pointed out, adding that this had been started with a series of lectures on history and Ancient Egyptian civilisation in the Cairo, Zagazig, Damietta, Helwan and 6 October universities.
A three-volume encyclopaedia of Ancient Egyptian civilisation is to be produced in Arabic and English to highlight topics such as love, language, and kings and queens in Ancient Egypt. “The encyclopaedia is written by renowned Egyptologists and archaeologists,” Hawass said.
During the ceremony that was held on Thursday at the Egyptian Museum to launch the new centre, the Ministry of Antiquities honoured Hawass by renaming the Saqqara Training Centre the Hawass Saqqara Training Centre.
* This story was first published under the title "Zahi Hawass Centre launched" in Al-Ahram Weekly