Fayza Haikal Receives Special Award of Excellence from International Association of Egyptologists
The International Association of Egyptologists awarded Fayza Haikal, professor of Egyptology at AUC, an Honorary Membership — the association's highest accolade — "for a lifetime of brilliant scholarly contributions to Egyptology." Only four other people have ever been recognized with this honor since the establishment of the association in the early 1970s.
Previously, Haikal was honored by the British-based Egypt Exploration Society and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities for her illustrious career in Egyptology.
Reflecting on her time at AUC, Haikal noted, "I was hired by AUC to create a major in Egyptology. It was done, and thanks to my colleagues — and here I have to mention the dynamism they all put in to build up its reputation, particularly Professor Salima Ikram — I believe that today, it is a well-established, well-famed program for undergraduates as well as graduates."
Haikal is a leading female figure in Egyptology in Egypt. She was the first Egyptian woman to earn a PhD in Egyptology and the first female president of the International Association of Egyptologists. Haikal was also the first Egyptian woman to work in Nubia during the salvage of monuments threatened by the building of the Aswan High Dam and organized a project to protect archeological sites during the construction of the Peace Canal in northern Sinai.
Emphasizing the distinctiveness of studying Egyptology at AUC, Haikal affirmed, "Our students have the privilege to study Egyptology in Egypt where they can not only access archeological sites in addition to museums, but can meet international scholars from all the archeological institutes based in Egypt and excavating in Egypt. They can also attend lectures on the most recent discoveries and other related topics almost every day, in addition to their regular curriculum. I have been teaching at AUC for 35 years and can say that, today, most of them have completed PhDs at the best universities in Europe and the United States or at least pursued a master's degree at AUC and contributed to many projects by the Ministry of Antiquities. I am indeed very proud of them."
Haikal received her bachelor's in Egyptology from Cairo University and her PhD in Egyptology from Oxford University in England. Her international career in academia has included posts as a visiting professor at Charles University in Prague (2000) and La Sapienza in Roma (1994). Furthermore, she has lectured extensively in North and South America, Europe, the Far East and Africa. In 2006 - 2007, Haikal was the Blaise Pascal Chair of Research, offered by The Fondation de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure and hosted by the Sorbonne, for researching and lecturing.
Words of advice from Haikal? "Love your work and work hard. One will never know enough!"