Elmorsy E. Hegazy has overcome his share of challenges during his long and distinguished academic career, but none may be as difficult as the one he is facing now.
Hegazy, who received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Connecticut in 1985, was recently appointed as the Minister of Finance for Egypt’s new government.
As finance minister, Hegazy faces the daunting task of both stabilizing and reviving Egypt’s crippled economy as the country emerges from the throes of revolution. Much of the unrest that has rocked newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi’s administration in recent weeks has been attributed to people’s anger over the economy, where unemployment hovers around 12 percent, commodities are expensive and foreign reserves have evaporated.
Hegazy was unavailable for an interview. But those who know him say they are confident he is up to the task.
“He is very well educated and highly knowledgeable,” says Ismail Gomaa, a dean at Alexandria University where Hegazy most recently served as a member of the university’s Faculty of Commerce. “He has written many books, and his expertise is in public economics and public finance. He is particularly knowledgeable about Islamic economics. I am sure he can meet this challenge.”
While at Alexandria University, Hegazy assumed several positions including chairman of the Department of Public Finance and member of the Board of Directors of the Center of Business Studies and Research. He has served as a member of the Central Promotion Committee at the Supreme Council of Universities in Egypt. Hegazy holds a visiting professorship at the College of Economics and Management, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia. He also served as chairman of the Department of Public Finance, and Dean of the College of Commerce at the Arab University of Beirut.
Hegazy has written extensively about public economics and supervised more than 20 Ph.D. dissertations and master’s theses at Alexandria University. He also has participated as an external examiner for doctoral dissertations and master’s theses at Eim Shams University, Tanta University, the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, and Farahat Abbas University in Algeria.
Gomaa says Hegazy specializes in macroeconomics, and his knowledge will be critical to helping Egypt emerge from its current financial crisis.
“Dr. Hegazy received a good education at UConn,” says Gomaa. “This is his area of specialty; I wish him luck.”
Professor Reda A. Ammar, head of UConn’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, knows Hegazy well. The two came to UConn together as part of a group of five Egyptian graduate students on scholarship. Ammar says he will never forget the January day the group arrived in Connecticut, which happened to coincide with the arrival of a major New England snowstorm.
Ammar said he and Hegazy each had a room in UConn’s graduate dorms. Ammar remembers Hegazy as a natural leader, who played soccer in his free time at Storrs and led other students in the Muslim community in prayer.