Sixty-eight year old Nobel Laureate and Zewail City founder Ahmed Zewail released a statement Tuesday from California informing the Egyptian public of his health and his desire to return to Egypt to continue his “scientific renaissance”.
Zewail, who founded Zewail City of Science and Technology, said in his statement that he was confident in the support of millions of Egyptians in Zewail City as a national project that will contribute to Egypt’s prestige.
Zewail also made various remarks about the struggles currently facing the progress of Zewail City. “I have a long way to go and a very arduous journey since I received the Nobel Prize fifteen years ago,” he said, adding that he had dealt with “ten heads of government and heads of four or systems for managing the country,” during which he was met with bureaucracy and political jealousy.
As for the allegations surrounding the land dispute with Nile University, Zewail promised that he is not trying to receive “any material or trading privileges” nor is he trying to “broker land”. The state “gave us everything” for Zewail City, he said. “It was the state that called me after the revolution of January 2011.”
Stressing the importance of Zewail City, which he called a “scientific renaissance”, Zewail noted that as soon as the doors were open for the school, “6,000 students of the highest level” applied for 300 total positions. “We are attracting the best sons of Egypt in order to build a modern scientific country,” he added.
Zewail stressed the importance of the scientific renaissance in creating a great civilisation unique to Egypt without the help of the west.
“Egypt can have a great and civilized history spanning thousands of years,” he said. “We have said this a lot, but I firmly believe that Egypt can and will rise and progress.”
Zewail City has been in discussions with Nile University over a piece of land both schools claim as their own for three years. The Administrative Court ruled in April 2013 to give Nile University students the right to the disputed lands and buildings.
The ruling contradicted a December 2012 decree from ousted President Mohamed Morsi issued, granting Zewail City apportionment of the land, which is public property, which cannot be given to a private university.
Zewail City, a non-profit, independent “learning, research and innovation” institution, was founded 11 May 2011. It also features a university, which specializes in “state of the art science and engineering.”