President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has sworn in numerous new provincial governors, but Manal Awad Mikhail is the one the media is talking about. In fact, she is the first-ever Coptic Christian woman to hold the position.
Manal Mikhail, the brilliant Egyptian scientist
Manal Awad Mikhail, 51, was appointed governor of the coastal city of Damietta, a former bishopric and present multiple Catholic titular see, 15 km from the Mediterranean Sea and about 200 km north of Cairo. Mikhail was deputy governor of Giza, home to the world-famous pyramids.
The first-ever Christian woman to hold such a position in Egypt, Mikhail was born in 1967. She graduated with a degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Benha. She also has a Master’s degree and a PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Alexandria in 1999.
Mikhail served as a member of the Egyptian Poultry Medical Association, the International Poultry Veterinary Association, the Egyptian Society for Immunology and the Veterinary Society. In 2007, she won the “State Encouragement Award” in the science category, thanks to her studies into the immune systems of livestock and the impact of specific strains of viruses and infections. This has led her to some media coverage and solicitations from some political parties.
A UNESCO Learning City Award winner
In 2015, Mikhail made her debut in politics when she joined the Ministry of Agriculture’s Institute of Veterinary Serums and Vaccines for Research and Studies. Just a few months later, Mikhail was appointed deputy governor of Giza, where she worked to improve economic opportunities and social conditions of disadvantaged communities in the Giza governorate. Her efforts saw her receiving a UNESCO Learning City Award last year.
Egypt’s current cabinet includes 8 female ministers, the highest in the modern Egyptian history.
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