Video provided by Mohamed Abdelfattah, © 2014.
Monica Hanna - Archaeologist, Social Media Guru and Heritage Hero
Photo courtesy of Monica Hanna.
Since the beginning of the Revolution in early 2011, Egypt has witnessed several escalations in illegal excavation and looting at some of its most culturally rich and unique sites. A lack of resources that include trained site and security staff, coupled with the collapse in tourism, is having a devastating effect on the country's cultural treasures.
But one woman is leading a crusade to ensure that Egypt's cultural heritage is documented and protected for generations to come.
Using social media tools to their fullest potential, Egyptian archaeologist Monica Hanna created and maintains Egypt's Heritage Task Force (EHTF) to publicize looting at Egypt’s archaeology and heritage sites.
With over 48,000 fllowers on Twitter and nearly 6,000 on Facebook, Monica's use of social media updates audiences virtually in real time and helps to speed the recovery of stolen objects and the protection of targeted sites.
Monica is notably the sole recipient of the 2014 SAFE Beacon Award for her efforts in shedding light on the looting situation in Egypt. The US-based SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone was founded in 2003 in response to the looting of the National Museum of Iraq, and has since recognized authors, journalists, professors, law enforcement professionals, and archaeologists with SAFE Beacon awards.
But Monica credits the Egyptian people, and especially those living near antiquities sites, with the power behind her efforts and those of EHTF. “Some of them do [have a connection to their heritage] and some of them really care... We as the Egypt Heritage Task Force, we have a lot of support from a lot of people."