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Newly Appointed UN Ambassador Zahi Hawass Plans to Save the Middle East’s War-Stricken Monuments

2 May, 2017
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Former Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass has revealed his plans to direct efforts to save historical monuments from conflict areas, namely in Syria, Libya and Iraq.

Hawass made the declaration during a ceremony where the United Nations International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development appointed him as its official Ambassador for Culture and Antiquities for his role in protecting heritage globally.

"I would work in cooperation with the Arab League, archaeologists from all over the world, as well as American institutions to save these endangered archaeological monuments," Hawass said, reported Al-Ahram Online.

Hawass stated that Egypt has plans underway to take part in the restoration of destroyed antiquities in the region.

“We aim to train the archaeologists and museum curators of these countries on how to save their monuments in archaeological sites, and on efficient methods for protecting treasured collections,” he stated.

He added that the damaged monuments are not only part of their countries' heritage, but part of the whole world, ensuring that he will work through the different cultural organizations of the United Nations and the Arab League, in addition to the world museums, to preserve archeological heritage from further destruction.

Hawass also announced his plan to launch a database for the monuments of Arab countries, which are currently facing threats of terrorist attacks, in order to track and restore them if stolen. The data collection will be carried out in collaboration with the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anany.

Transferring these damaged monuments from countries in the midst of civil wars and terrorist attacks to any European countries is not in the question, held Hawass, saying that he will discuss ways to guarantee the safety of these monuments.

Hawass’ appointment ceremony, which took place on April 19 at the UN headquarters in New York City, was attended by a large number of ambassadors of foreign countries, diplomats, media personalities, and over 200 public figures, including Egyptian scientist Farouk al-Baz.

Born in 1947, the Egyptologist and archaeologist has a long history in the field. Graduating from the school of arts in Alexandria University in 1967 after studying Greek and Roman Archaeology, he worked at several archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley.

At 33, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Egyptology and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1987, he finished his PhD in Egyptology from the Graduate Group in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World (AAMW), concentrating on the Funerary Establishments of Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura during the Old Kingdom.

Hawass taught Egyptian archaeology, history and culture at the American University in Cairo and the University of California. He held the position of Egypt’s Antiquities Minister from January 2011 to July of the same year.

“I’m so happy to accept this position and ensure the value of Egypt’s civilization in the world,” Hawass said in a press statement.

Tags ISIS Zahi Hawass archaeology heritage monuments