AUC Press is deeply saddened by the passing of Hani Shukrallah. He was much more than one of Egypt’s most respected journalists. He was an outspoken political scientist, a human rights advocate, an author, a consultant, a lecturer, and most of all “a man of humanity” (Yahya Qalash, the former chairman of the Journalists Syndicate).
Shukrallah (1950–2019) was the founder and editor-in-chief of the state-owned Ahram Online, Egypt’s largest English-language news website, and served as managing editor and later as executive editor of the English-language Al-Ahram Weekly for many years. A leftist, a liberal, and a lifelong defender of freedom of the press, Shukrallah was also a mentor to many aspiring journalists and writers, as the tributes to him on social media in the last few days have shown.
During his remarkable career he was also the executive director of the Mohamed Hassanein Heikal Foundation for Arab Press, the founder of the Egyptian daily newspaper al-Shorouk. He contributed regular columns and articles to various Egyptian and international newspapers and publications, including Egypt Today and the Guardian.
In 2011, he published Egypt, the Arabs and the World: Reflections at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century (AUC Press), later referring to it as his “mea culpa.” In a 2012 newspaper article he noted disarmingly, “I had not seen the Egyptian revolution coming–at all. And for the some odd 7000 words of my introduction I try to unravel, for myself as well as for my readers, why I had failed to do so.”
Pascale Ghazaleh, associate professor and chair of history at The American University in Cairo, said this about Shukrallah, in her moving tribute to him on social media: “Hani regarded my academic trajectory with wry affection, showing me his thesis and expressing regret at not having continued—regret that was really a way of saying he was proud of me and approved of what I was trying to do. One of the things I discovered later was that this was his superpower: the ability to see people for who they needed to become, the ability to nurture and hear tentative voices. That was what made him such a stellar mentor: his patience, the quality of the attention with which he lavished his protégés, the utterly authentic excitement that shone in his eyes when he discovered someone talented and sincere.”