Ambassador from Egypt: Who Is Mohamed Tawfik?
In a sign of continuity with the pre-revolutionary regime, President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt last fall appointed a new ambassador to the U.S. who is a career diplomat in the Egyptian Foreign Service going back to 1983. Mohamed M. Tawfik, who presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on September 19, 2012, served previously in the U.S. during the 1980s. Tawfik succeeds Sameh Shoukry, who had served as Egypt’s ambassador to the United States since September 24, 2008.
Born June 5, 1956, Tawfik earned a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at Cairo University and a Master’s Degree in International Organizations Law at the University of Paris XI. He also has a Diploma of International Diplomacy from the Egyptian Institute of Diplomatic Studies and a Diploma of International Relations from the Institut International D’Administration Publique in Paris, France.
Tawfik joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in February 1983, and served as an attaché in the Ministry’s International Organizations Department from 1984 to 1985. Tawfik’s first stint at the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C., came in 1986, when he began service as third secretary and rose to second secretary before leaving in 1990 to serve as second secretary in the cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Cairo.
From 1991 to 1995, Tawfik served as first secretary at the Egyptian embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, returning to Cairo to serve as first secretary in the Ministry’s African Department from 1995 to 1997.
From 1997 to 2002, Tawfik served at Egypt’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, first as counselor, then as minister plenipotentiary and finally as deputy permanent representative. While in Geneva, Tawfik served as president of the Conference on Disarmament from January to February 2002, chairman of the Geneva Chapter of the Group of 77 from January to March 2002, and coordinator of the New Agenda Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament from December 2001 to March 2002.
Back in Cairo, Tawfik served as director of the cabinet of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2004. From 2004 to 2008, he served as ambassador to Australia and non-resident ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Marshall Islands, and from 2008 to 2011 he was director general of the Ministry’s Egyptian Building Fund Authority. In Ireland when the protests began that eventually toppled President Hosni Mubarak, Tawfik returned to Cairo in time to witness the revolution, and wrote approvingly about the protesters. He was ambassador to Lebanon from 2011 to 2012.
A member of the Egyptian Writers Union and PEN International, Tawfik has published three novels and three volumes of short stories in Arabic, and also translated his satirical thriller, Murder in the Tower of Happiness, into English himself. Tawfik is married to Amani Amin, with whom he has two children, Mostafa and Amr.
To Learn More:
Guest Blog from Cairo–Where the Youth Teach the Elders (by Mohamed Tawfik)
New Envoy Says Egypt Has Turned Page on Dictatorship (by Larry Luxner, Washington Diplomat)
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