Mostafa El-Abbadi

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Mostafa El-Abbadi
مصطفى العبادي
Mostafa El-Abbadi - Image from last interview with Dr. Ashraf Ezzat before Abbadi's departure .jpg
El-Abbadi in Alexandria, 2016
Mostafa Abdel-Hamid El-Abbadi

(1928-10-10)10 October 1928
Cairo, Egypt
Died13 February 2017(2017-02-13) (aged 88)
Alexandria, Egypt
Alma mater
Scientific career
ThesisThe Alexandrians: From the Foundation of the City to the Arab Conquest (1960)
Doctoral advisorA. H. M. Jones

Mostafa Abdel-Hamid el-Abbadi (Arabic: مصطفى العبادي; 10 October 1928 – 13 February 2017) was a prominent Egyptian historian, public intellectual and professor specialized in Greco-Roman studies.[1] He died on 13 February 2017, at the age of 88, in Alexandria.[2][3]


El-Abbadi was educated in Egypt and the United Kingdom. He completed his undergraduate BA at Alexandria University. At age 22, he was awarded a scholarship from the Egyptian government to study at the University of Cambridge.[4] He graduated with special BA and PhD in ancient history at Cambridge.[4] He received an honorary doctorate from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).[5]


After graduation, El-Abbadi became a lecturer and then a professor in Greco-Roman studies at the University of Alexandria.[4] Ismail Serageldin credited him with initially proposing the revival of the ancient library of Alexandria.[6] The project was embraced by UNESCO in 1986, and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was completed in 2003,[1][5][7] but he was not invited to the opening.[8][9] He was critical of some of aspects of the project as realized by the Egyptian government, telling the New York Times that the library was at risk of becoming "a cultural center" rather than fulfilling its "promise as a world-class research center."[10] He authored the Library of Alexandria entry in the Encyclopædia Britannica.[3]

El-Abbadi was a member of Egypt's Supreme Council of Culture (SCC), Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and l'Institut d'Égypte. He served as president of the Archaeological Society of Alexandria and was an advisor to UNESCO.

Personal life[edit]

Mostafa El-Abbadi was married to the literary critic and scholar Azza Kararah, who died in 2015.[3] His father, Abdel-Hamid El-Abbadi, was a historian and founding dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alexandria. He had two children, a son, the computer scientist Amr El Abbadi and a daughter, Dr Mohga El-Abbadi.[3]


El-Abbadi was a recipient of the Order of the Nile.[11][3] On 10 October 2022, he was celebrated online with a Google Doodle.[3][4][12]

Selected works[edit]

  • What happened to the ancient Library of Alexandria? Leiden: Brill (2008).
  • The Life and Fate of the Ancient Library of Alexandria. Paris: UNESCO (1990, 1992, 1999).
  • "The Alexandrian Citizenship," Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (1962).


  1. ^ a b "Mostafa El-Abbadi". Academics Without Borders Canada. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Mostafa el-Abbadi, Champion of Alexandria's Resurrected Library, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Who is Mostafa El-Abbadi? Google Doodle celebrates Egyptian historian". Evening Standard. 10 October 2022. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d "Mostafa El-Abbadi: Who is today's Google Doodle? Historian who campaigned for Library of Alexandria's revival". Scotsman. 10 October 2022. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  5. ^ a b Doyon, Frédérique (18 October 2005). "Mostafa El-Abbadi - Un humaniste derrière la Bibliothèque d'Alexandrie" (in French). Le Devoir. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  6. ^ Zahran, Mohsen (2007). "The New Bibliotheca Alexandrina – reflections on a journey of achievements" (PDF). Retrieved 21 November 2022. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Murphy, Caryle. "The Library of Alexandria." Archived 2013-09-20 at the Wayback Machine The Carnegie Reporter Vol. 5 No. 1 (2010)
  8. ^ "Obituary: Mostafa el-Abbadi died on February 13th". The Economist. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  9. ^ Nelson, Alex (10 October 2022). "Mostafa El-Abbadi: Library of Alexandria scholar and Bibliotheca Alexandrina founder marked by Google Doodle". NationalWorld. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  10. ^ Wakin, Daniel (17 October 2002). "Successor to Ancient Alexandria Library Dedicated". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Mourad, Mary. "Egypt State Awards recognizes Hegazi, Hijab, Amin and Abdel-Sayed" Al Ahram 26 August 2013
  12. ^ "Mostafa El-Abbadi's 94th birthday". Google. 10 October 2022.

External links[edit]