To commemorate the second anniversary of the death of Pope Shenouda III (1923 – 2012), the annual prize in his name—the Wisdom Prize—was handed to this year’s winners by Pope Tawadros II in a ceremony held at the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Centre in Cairo last Monday.
This year, the award was jointly shared by Egyptian engineers Ibrahim Samak and Hani Azer who have to their credit exceptional achievements in their respective fields, many of which are in Germany.
Dr Samak is a member of the European Solar Power and has set up the solar systems which power the lighting of several State buildings in Germany, among which is the German Parliament (Reichstag) building in Berlin. He also carried out many projects in Egypt and was involved in the project for the restoration of the ancient Alexandria Lighthouse; this project was planned during the Mubarak time before the January 2011 Revolution which led him to step down, and never saw light.
Dr Samak earned a degree in engineering from Assiut University in Egypt in 1962, and left to Germany in 1976 where he married a German and established with her a small engineering company in Stuttgart. The company later turned its investment to solar power. In 2007, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Mr Azer, an Egyptian civil engineer born in Tanta, Egypt, in 1948 earned an engineering degree from Ain Shams University in Cairo and did post-graduate work in Civil Engineering in Bochum, Germany.
Azer was in charge of the construction of the tunnel beneath Berlin’s Tiergarten in 1994, and later became the Chief Engineer of Europe’s largest train station, the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The station is a modernistic structure which cost USD700 million, and has a roof built almost entirely of glass blocks. Berliners voted Azer 13th among the top 50 Berliners of the year in 2006, and he was honoured by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2006 at the inauguration of the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. He was also later honoured by the then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. On 1 October 2006, Azer received one of Berlin##s most respected distinctions: the Verdienstorden des Landes Berlin (Merit of the State of Berlin), for outstanding service to the State.
Last year’s prize—the first Pope Shenouda III prize, went to Dr Martin Schreiber MD of Cleveland Clinic who for years supervised the treatment of Pope Shenouda. Dr Schrieiber has behind him 33 years of experience in Internal Medicine and Nephrology.
19 March 2014