Ambassador of Japan Oka Hiroshi awarded the prestigious Decoration of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, on behalf of the Government of Japan, to Dr Hany Helal, former Minister of Higher Education and State for Scientific Research in a ceremony held at his residence in Cairo on Tuesday night.
The ambassador said that this decoration, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star is a high decoration bestowed by the Emperor of Japan, in recognition and deep appreciation of the outstanding achievement and continued contribution of Dr Helal to strengthening the friendly relations between Japan and Egypt through promoting educational co-operation and scientific research exchanges over many years.
Ambassador Oka said that the educational cooperation under the framework of the Egypt Japan Educational Partnership launched on the occasion of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Japan in 2016.
“This is based on the shared recognition of the two leaders that human capacity development is the crucial key for successful nation building. Since then, thanks to the unwavering support of President Sisi, the close partnership in education has been developed in a comprehensive manner covering both basic and higher education,” he said.
The ceremony was attended by a host of high-ranking officials including Reda Hegazy, Education and Technical Education Minister, Mohamed Ayman Ashour, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Fayza Aboulnaga, Advisor to the President for National Security Affairs.
Helal made educational cooperation a successful pillar of cooperation between Egypt and Japan, the ambassador said.
In 2009, Helal has supported the establishment of the Egypt Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) in Borg el-Arab city of Alexandria as a symbol of pioneering partnership, by firstly signing the agreement to establish it as then Minister of Higher Education and State for Scientific Research, together with Fayza Aboulnaga, then Minister of International Cooperation.
“About 4,000 students from Egypt as well as from Africa and the Middle East study at E-JUST,” the ambassador said.
“E-JUST has been catapulted into among top ranking universities in Egypt and awarded as the top contributor to IP by the Prime Minister, thus contributing to both academic prowess and technological and industrial development of this country.”
In 2019, after Helal retired from ministry, he was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees of E-JUST. “He has continued to contribute to this day to the innovative management of E-JUST.”
Furthermore, the ambassador pointed out that Helal has been the central figure for promoting Egyptian Japanese schools (EJS) in his capacity as Secretary General of Steering Committee of Educational Partnership by designing a system for instance to ensure quality of Tokkatsu teaching throughout the country in a sustainable manner.
“More than 11,000 Egyptian students have been learning in EJS,” the ambassador noted, adding that the Egyptian government has an ultimate objective of spreading Tokkatsu to public schools all over Egypt, including those in the areas of the national initiative of Haya Karima.
Ambassador Oka went on to say that Helal’s achievement goes beyond the scope of education. He mentioned the recent discovery of a corridor inside the Great Pyramids of Giza (Khufu), which was made by Helal and his team of Scan Pyramids project.
“The entire world was surprised at the announcement of a discovery of this space within the Kufu pyramid. The presence of this empty space was ascertained by a team of Japanese scientists through cosmic ray Muons by using a fiberscope,” Oka said.
“I am extremely happy to see Japanese scientists contribute to deciphering the mysteries of the ancient Egyptian civilisation under the leadership of Dr Helal,” he added.
For his part, Helal thanked the Japanese government for this appreciation. He spoke to the attendees about his educational, professional and research career, saying he was grateful for his parents, family and his professors about what he had achieved.
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