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Wafaa El Saddik (also El-Saddik, Arabic: وفاء الصديق, born 1950)[1] is an Egyptian Egyptologist, who from 2004 to 2010 was Director General of Cairo's Egyptian Museum. She was the first female director of the museum.

Wafaa El Saddik
Born1950 (age 68–69)
Nile Delta, Egypt
Years active1977-2010
Known forDirector General of the Egyptian Museum (2004-2010)

Personal lifeEdit

El Saddik was born in 1950 in the Nile Delta region of Egypt.[2] During the Suez Crisis, her family moved to Cairo.[2] She studied archaeology at Cairo University,[2] and later completed a PhD at the University of Vienna.[1][2] She lived and worked in Cologne, Germany for 15 years,[3] during which time she met her husband, an Egyptian who works as a pharmacist.[1][2] They married in 1989, and have two children.[2] Her sister has been the State Secretary for the Ministry of Water.[1]


Originally El Saddik wanted to be a journalist,[4] due to her interest in the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War.[2] She became interested in archaeology after a trip to Thebes and the Aswan Dam.[4]

She has provided historical tours to world leaders including Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, and Helmut Schmidt, as well as former Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat.[1] At the age of 27, El Saddik went to work for the Tutankhamun exhibition in New Orleans, United States.[1]

From 2004 to 2010 she was Director General of Cairo's Egyptian Museum.[2][4] She was the museum's first female director.[1][2][4] As director, El Saddik says that she received numerous politically motivated bids for funding for the museum.[1] El Saddik claimed that the museum created a daily income of around one million Egyptian pounds, but most of this money was transferred to the central government rather than being spent there.[3] In her book Protecting Pharaoh’s Treasures, El Saddik said that she had predicted the Egyptian revolution of 2011, saying that she had believed it would be similar to the Tunisian Revolution.[4] In October 2010, she was chosen by then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to select artefacts for an exhibition in Rome. Her choices were later rejected.[4] She was forced into leaving her role at the museum in December 2010, as she had reached retirement age.[1]

During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, El Saddik witnessed the looting of the Egyptian Museum and Memphis Museum. She blamed the incident on police officers and guardians of the museum.[5][6] After the revolution, El Saddik expressed concern over the preservation of Egyptian historical artefacts.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Düker, Ronald (11 July 2013). "Weltkultur in Gefahr". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ägyptens Schatzhüterin". Das Erste (in German). 29 May 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b Koldehoff, Stefan (8 February 2011). "Mubarak bekam auch Zinsen von Tutanchamun". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Kaaki, Lisa (4 December 2017). "Book Review: Dive into Egypt's glorious past". Arab News. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Plünderer zerstören Tutanchamun-Schätze". Der Spiegel (in German). 20 January 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  6. ^ Vartanian, Hrag (30 January 2011). "Former Egyptian Museum Dir Says Looting Inside Job, Memphis Mus Looted [UPDATE 40] Damaged Mummy ID'd, Sinai Antiquities Robbed". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 15 February 2019.