The former and current Egyptian Ministers of Antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass and Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty, were awarded on Monday, 22nd June 2015, the Golden Memorial Medal of the Charles University in Prague in an official ceremony held in the afternoon of the opening day of the Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2015 Conference.
The Golden Memorial Medal is the Charles University’s highest award and is granted to distinguished scholars and prominent figures of politics and culture for their eminent merits in science, culture and mutual cooperation between nations, especially in connection to the University and the Czech Republic. In the recent past, the medal was awarded to the former Secretary General of the United Nations, the former president of Germany and many worldwide acknowledged scholars and chief experts for their lifelong endeavour in science, scientific discoveries, efforts in challenging diseases or new approaches in education.
The ceremony was attended by Czech and Egyptian authorities, including the Czech Minister of Culture, Mgr. Daniel Herman, the Vice-Rector of the Charles University, Prof. Martin Kovář, and the Egyptian Ambassador to the Czech Republic, H.E. Mrs. Amany Fahmy.
The medal was assigned to the two scholars for their long-lasting support for the Egyptian activities of the Czech Institute of Egyptology of the Charles University and for all they have done for international science and the Czech-Egyptian scientific cooperation.
Prof. Miroslav Verner, renowned Egyptologist and former Director of the Czech Institute of Egyptology, provided during the ceremony a brief assessment of Zahi Hawass’ many “achievements and outstanding services to the exploration and protection of ancient Egyptian antiquities.” He mentioned how his many discoveries “have literally changed our view of Egyptian history [and] have substantially added to our better understanding of the history of Ancient Egypt.” Prof. Verner praised also Dr. Hawass’ substantial contribution, through his numerous lectures and television documentaries, “to the popularization of Egyptian antiquities and the cultural heritage of Ancient Egypt.”
Dr. Miroslav Bárta, current Director of the Czech Institute of Egyptology, remarked upon Zahi Hawass’ “long-term campaign back in the 1990s that led to a complete re-design of the Egyptian antiquities organisation. He created a new system that is still efficient and will not be forgotten, and that is serving all of us working in Egypt, be it Egyptians or foreigners.” He added how “Prof. Hawass and Prof. Eldamaty have always been outstanding keepers and defenders of Egyptian heritage, both in Egyptian territory and abroad.”
Dr Eldamaty and Dr Hawass expressed their most sincere gratitude to the Charles University for the award and for the highly successful archaeological work conducted for more than 50 years in Egypt, especially at the site of Abusir. They also thanked the University for its fundamental role as the institution that trained the exceptional new generation of Egyptian archaeologists. As highlighted by Dr Hawass, these young Egyptologists became essential members of the team that helped him realise his vision for Egyptian antiquities, after his appointment as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in 2002.
Watch a video-recording of the whole ceremony:
On the occasion of his visit to Prague, Dr Zahi Hawass was also interviewed on Czech TV show Hyde Park Civilizace. Watch his interview at: