For 30 days, starting mid-August, an image of Egyptologist Zahi Hawass appears on one of the largest digital billboards in Times Square, in the heart of New York City, inviting Americans to visit Egypt and enjoy its unique heritage and culture.
Hawass is one of the world’s most recognisable Egyptologists, writes Nevine El-Aref. He has served as secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and became minister of antiquities when the position was created in 2011.
An National Geographic explorer, Hawass has received multiple awards including the Egyptian State Award, first degree, for his work on the Sphinx restoration project, and
the American Academy of Achievements’ Golden Plate.
Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly the advertising campaign was the result of a collaborative initiative between Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat and a private ad company.
Times Square is visited by 80 million people during the summer vacation period.
The billboard shows Hawass wearing his signature Indiana Jones hat standing between the paws of the Sphinx, followed by an image of him with the pyramids in the background. The pictures will appear every two minutes as Hawass invites passers-by to visit Egypt to explore the wonders of the ancient Egyptian civilisation, including the Giza Pyramids, Karnak and Abu Simbel temples and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
As an Egyptologist, Hawass is best known for his work on the pyramid-builders’ cemetery at the Giza Plateau and in the valley of the golden mummies in Bahariya Oasis. He also spearheaded the royal mummies project.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 22 August, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly