YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND WHY?
I think the greatest accomplishment of mine is the major site management program for the pharaonic, Coptic, jewish and Islamic sites in Egypt from 2022 to 2011; this included the training of the young people in the excavation tehcniques and museum management.
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SETBACK OR TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED, HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT, AND THE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON YOU?
I think the tragedy that I faced when the Egyptian government decided to build the ring road on the South of the Great Pyramid. At that time the Head of Antiquities and Head of Ancient Egyptian Egyptian authorities agreed to the construction of that road. I confronted them and I objected to the construction of the road, because it would damage the Giza plateau. At that time, I found that everyone was against me except UNESCO which supported me and my claim. I was ready to resign from antiquities, however, due to the pressure. Suddenly, the chief editor of Akhbar newspaper asked former President Mubarak, in Morocco in a conference “What do you think about the ring road project?” The president said that the government would stop any construction near the pyramid. It was a kind of a dream at the time.
DO YOU SET ASIDE “ME-TIME” IN YOUR CALENDAR, AND WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME TO RELAX?
I have an assortment of activities and hobbies, I still enjoy reading, working out, watching films and meeting friends for dinners.
WHAT’S THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE YOU’VE DISCOVERED WHERE YOU CAN GO TO CHILL OUT?
The most relaxing place we have discovered was Bahareya. There, I worked on excavating the golden mummies. It’s a fabulous spot which is quiet and incredibly beautiful. Anyone who goes there also has a chance to visit thewhite desert in the evening.
DOES PHILANTHROPY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR LIFE, TO WHAT EXTENT AND HOW?
Initially, to fund the construction of the Child Museum in Heliopolis, I started selling my hat. Then, when construction finished, I continued selling my hat in order to raise funds for the Hospital 57357, which is dedicated to curing children stricken with cancer. For that same cause, I fundraise through giving lectures in the USA and I do also go to rotary clubs to fundraise for certain charitable projects.
WHO IS ON THE GUEST LIST FOR YOUR IDEAL DINNER PARTY, PRESENT OR PAST?
My beloved friend Omar Sherif, and many Egyptian movie stars who are also good friends of mine. I have a friend who is a business man and owner of Al Masry Al youm newspaper who is great fun to have at a dinner party as well.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY WORDS OF WISDOM FOR OUR READERS?
Passion, if you have passion small, you make it big. The road is never easy, not matter which one you choose, so you must feel passion for the career and the projects you choose for yourself. If you pursue this passion relentlessly, it will reward you in time. I had it for archeology, so I was able to give it all the time of the world.