Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Has revolution dimmed star power of Hawass?

Until recently Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s antiquities minister, was a global symbol of Egyptian national pride, says the New York Times. But has the revolution dimmed his star power?

The upheaval has also drawn attention to the ways he has increased his profile over the years, often with the help of organizations and companies with which he has done business as a government official.

There is, says the newspaper, an honorarium estimated at $200,000 from National Geographic to be an explorer-in-residence even as he controls access to the ancient sites it often features in its reports.

He has relationships with two American companies that do business in Egypt.  One, Arts and Exhibitions International, secured Hawass’s permission to take so the artifacts of King Tut, on a world tour; its top executives recently started a separate venture to market a Zahi Hawass line of clothing.

A second company, Exhibit Merchandising, has been selling replicas of Mr Hawass’s hat for several years. Last year that company was hired to operate a new store in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

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