If you have ever watched a television production about Ancient Egypt on the National Geographic Channel or the History Channel then you are aware of Zahi Hawass. You may not know his name but his face and trademark fedora are unmistakable.
According to his curriculum vitae, Dr. Hawass completed his Ph.D. in Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. He returned to Egypt and began teaching Archaeology in 1988 at Alexandria University, the same university he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967. In 1989 Hawass became the Director of Restoration, Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza and in 1991 he became the Director of Restoration of the interior of the Pyramid of Unas at Saqqara while simultaneously implementing the site management program for the Giza Plateau. In 2002, Hawass was appointed to the position of Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and in 2011 Dr. Hawass was appointed as the Minister of State for Antiquities, a post he held for a brief time during the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
Dr. Hawass is described as narcissistic but his ego has proved to many his ability to stand on equal footing with the West and he has helped “liberate Egypt from a posture of humility”. However, Dr. Hawass’ greatest efforts have been his tireless efforts to have the cultural treasures of Egypt returned to their appropriate places. Hawass has relentlessly pressed upon the governments of Britain, France, Germany, and the United States to return to Egypt its iconic treasures, whether they were procured legally and illegally; the Rosetta Stone, the bust of Nefertiti, the Dendera zodiac, and the bust of Ankhaf to name a few. But has his fame and triumphs created the same despotic leadership the Egyptian people have fought so hard to force out? In the 2010 two-part series in Spiegel, Hawass’ employees refer to him as “a greedy guy, and a tyrant, who prefers to surround himself with bootlickers” but the major Egyptologists are more reticent with their criticism out of the concern of losing their licenses to work in Egypt.
While Hawass may certainly be the “savior” and promoter of Egyptian antiquities, like his friend Mubarak, he appears to have let the power of his position overshadow any humility he may possess and his luster has begun to fade. Fired, rehired, and resignation has left Hawass no longer in a position of authority within the nascent Egyptian government. Hawass is quoted as saying, “Over 4,000 years ago, a king ruled Egypt at the age of 8 and stayed in power until the age of 98. When he became old, his power decreased, and the power of his cronies increased. This is what happened with Mubarak as well.” Of course, Hawass could be describing his own situation.
Now that Egypt has lost its savior, who will be the champion of Egypt’s lost cultures? ~TB
 Matthias Schulz, Zahi Hawass: Egypt’s Avenger of the Pharaohs, 05 28, 2010, http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/zahi-hawass-egypt-s-avenger-of-the-pharaohs-a-697174.html (accessed 04 26, 2013).
 Deena Adel, History catches up to famous Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, 10 22, 2011, http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/111021/history-catches-famous-egyptologist-zahi-hawass (accessed 04 27, 2013).