Ahmed Zewail, Farouk El-Baz, and Sameera Moussa; these are just a few of the many Egyptian figures, whose names have resonated in history as some of the greatest minds in the world of science. In the neighbouring field of civil engineering, an equally extraordinary role model also exists, by the name of Hany Azer. Today, we proudly celebrate our Tanta-born hero, who has just been awarded the Order of Merit of Berlin, the highest award of the German State of Berlin, to recognise his outstanding contributions to the German capital.
Let’s start with the obvious question: “Who is Eng. Hany Azer?” He was born in 1948 in the city of Tanta to a Coptic family. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1973 from Ain Shams University, he moved to Germany to pursue his post-graduate studies in Bochum, the country’s sixth largest city. According to the Ain Shams University website, he sold newspapers at 4 am in Bochum and worked as a waiter to afford his studies abroad. Since then, his resume has been writing itself.
Amongst many achievements, Azer built the Dortmund metro tunnel in the late 1970s, and was chosen as one of the 50 most famous figures in Germany after he became the Chief Engineer of Germany’s fourth largest train station, the Berlin Railway Station. Also known as the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, it was completed in 2006 and was awarded the “Station of the Year”. Needless to say, he has received many accolades before today, from notable figures, including former President Hosni Mubarak, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Pope Tawadros II.
His newest recognition is the “Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany”, which he received last Friday in Germany. According to Sada El-Balad English (SEE), many prominent Egyptian and German officials were in attendance, including the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Walter Steinmeier; Minister of Immigration, Nabila Makram; the first Governor of the city of Dortmund, Ulrich Serau, who handed him the award, and other political figures. Watani quoted Azer’s speech, where he said, “This award represents a shield of merit for my country and the Egyptian people”, and went on to thank the Egyptian president and Prime Minister.
After nearly 40 years in Germany, he now lives in Egypt as a member of the Egyptian Scientist Board. He follows up on projects in Egypt, mainly the National Road project, in addition to laying the foundation for the new Suez Canal tunnels and the general development of the Egyptian railway network.
Hany Azer is considered one of the top tunnelling and bridges engineers on a global level and, after our extensive research, we now know why!