Tuesday, 7 May 2013

New Minister of Antiquities in Egypt

Ahmed Eissa has been appointed new Minister of Antiquities in Egypt in a second cabinet reshuffle in the Morsi government. According to Al Ahram, the new minister's biography reads as follows:
born in 1960 in Gerga city in Upper Egypt's Sohag Governorate. Eissa graduated from Assiut University, also in Upper Egypt, in 1982 with a bachelor’s in Islamic antiquities. In 1989 he took a master’s degree from Cairo University, specialising in Coptic architecture, and later gained a doctoral degree from Assuit University, focusing on the Islamic effects on the architecture of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the governorates of Qena and Aswan from the Ottoman period up to the rule of Mohamed Ali’s dynasty. His first job was an antiquities inspector in Islamic and Coptic antiquities at the Egyptian antiquities authority. Eissa became a teaching assistant in 1993, then started as an instructor at South Valley University. He became the dean of the antiquities faculty at South Valley University in 2011. He is reportedly a member of the moderate Islamist Wasat party.

UPDATE 10.05.13

Nevine El-Aref , 'New antiquities minister aims to 'preserve, protect' Egypt heritage', Al Ahram 9 May 2013

"Eissa is the fifth antiquities minister since Egypt's January 2011 revolution and the first to be specialised in Coptic and Islamic archaeology since 1992. All previous antiquities ministers were specialised in ancient Egyptian antiquities".
"My goal is to work with ministry employees to preserve and protect Egypt's heritage – be it ancient Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Coptic or Islamic – while putting existing archaeological works in order, rejuvenating projects that have been put on hold, and upgrading the skills of archaeologists and curators," Eissa said [...] One of his first priorities, he explained, was to tighten security at archaeological sites countrywide in order to halt encroachments on them made over the last two years. "This can be achieved in collaboration with Egypt's tourism and antiquities police by providing better-trained and better-armed security guards at all archaeological sites and museums, and by training ministry personnel in the use of state-of-the-art security equipment in order to thwart attempts to violate archaeological sites," the newly-appointed minister said. He went on to assert that the current lack of security "not only harms our heritage, but also impedes ongoing archaeological work and stops tourists from visiting Egypt."
So, basically doing pretty much the same as the others intended to do. Let's see with what success.

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