Zahi Hawass (Arabic: زاهي حواس; born May 28, 1947) is an Egyptian archaeologist, an Egyptologist, and former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs. He has also worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley.
Hawass was born in a small village near Damietta, Egypt. Although he originally dreamed of becoming an attorney, he obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Greek and Roman Archaeology from Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt in 1967. In 1979, Hawass earned a diploma in Egyptology from Cairo University. Hawass then worked at the Great Pyramids as an inspector—a combination of administrator and archaeologist. When he was 33 years old, Hawass was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to attend the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to study Egyptology, earning a master of arts degree in Egyptology and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology in 1983, and his PhD in Egyptology in 1987 from the Graduate Group in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World (AAMW), concentrating on "The Funerary Establishments of Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura During the Old Kingdom."