Zahi Hawass (Arabic: زاهي حواس; born 28 May 1947) is an Egyptian archaeologist, an Egyptologist, who is Egypt's Minister of Antiquities. He has also worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley.
Hawass was born in Damietta, Egypt. He originally intended to become a lawyer, but then studied Greek and Roman archaeology at Alexandria University, where he obtained a B.Sc. degree. He obtained a diploma in Egyptology at the University of Cairo. In 1987, he received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied as a Fulbright Fellow.
After 1988, he taught Egyptian archaeology, history and culture, mostly at the American University in Cairo and the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1993, Hawass left his position as Chief Inspector of the Giza Pyramid Plateau. According to Hawass, he resigned; others claim, however, that he was fired because a valuable ancient "statue" under the custody of Hawass was stolen from Giza. He was reinstated as Chief Inspector in early 1994. In 1998, he was appointed as director of the Giza Plateau. In 2002 he was appointed Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. In 2009, when U.S. President Barack Obama was in Cairo, Hawass gave him personal tours of the sights of ancient Egypt. At the end of 2009, Dr. Hawass was promoted personally by President Hosni Mubarak to the post of Vice Minister of Culture. He was appointed Minister of Antiquities, a newly created cabinet post, by President Hosni Mubarak on January 31, 2011 as part of a cabinet shakeup during the 2011 Egyptian protests.