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Celebrating 100 Years of Relations between Egypt and the U.S.: Featuring Ambassador of Egypt to the U.S. Amb. Motaz Zahran

  • 10 May 2022
  • 5:30 PM
  • Downtown Phoenix


Celebrating 100 Years of Relations between Egypt and the U.S.

Featuring Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the U.S. Ambassador Motaz Zahran

Professor Thomas Volgy and Professor Sharon Megdal

The Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations and the University of Arizona welcome you to join us for a special discussion with Ambassador Motaz Zahran of the Arab Republic of Egypt. As the United States and Egypt celebrate 100 years of diplomatic relations, Ambassador Zahran will share his insights on the relationship’s successes so far and how bilateral ties can be further strengthened in many sectors. The Ambassador will also discuss the unique parallels between Egypt and Arizona, including similar efforts to address climate and water issues as they manage being on the front lines of a changing global environmental situation.

Introductory remarks will be provided by Prof. Anne Betteridge, Director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. The event will feature a fireside chat between Amb. Zahran and Prof. Thomas Volgy of the University of Arizona’s School of Government and Public Policy, followed by a discussion of climate and water issues between the Ambassador and Prof. Sharon Megdal, Director of the University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center and Professor and Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science.


PCFR Members

Registration is included with your membership




Tuesday, May 10, 2022

5:30 PM Reception

6:00 PM Program


Hybrid Event

Downtown Phoenix

Specific location will be shared in registration confirmation email.

Please bring your ID to check in.


Ambassador Motaz Zahran

Motaz Zahran is the current Ambassador of Egypt to the United States. He formerly served as the Assistant Foreign Minister and Chief of Cabinet at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arab Republic of Egypt. He was the Ambassador of Egypt to Canada, and had held numerous positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister, and previously as Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the Middle East Peace Process, Palestine, Israel and Egypt’s relations with the United States of America. He had also served at the Embassy of Egypt in Washington DC (2007-2011), as a Political Counselor and Congressional Affairs Officer, and Chargé d’Affaires.

During his diplomatic career he had served three times in the Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Arab, Asian as well as the Disarmament and International Security Desks. From 2001 to 2005, he served at the Embassy of Egypt in New Delhi, India. Motaz Zahran had also worked in the Office of the Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and Middle Eastern Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the League of Arab States in Cairo as well as the United Nations in New York.

His primary field of multi-lateral expertise, essentially acquired before and enriched during his tenure in New York, is in the disarmament, non-proliferation and international security domain, where he held the post of Rapporteur of the First Committee, later on to be deployed during his position as Egypt’s Sous-Sherpa to the Nuclear Security Summit process inaugurated in Washington DC in 2010. He is currently a member on the UNSG’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (ABDM), as well as a member on the Board of Trustees, UNIDIR.

As a graduate of Law School, holding a degree from University Mohamed V in Rabat, Morocco, and prior to joining Foreign Service, he practiced law in Cairo, Egypt.

Born in Cairo, Motaz Zahran is married with three children. He speaks his native Arabic, and fluent in both English and French.


Professor Thomas Volgy

Thomas J. Volgy was born in Budapest, Hungary. His parents escaped during the Hungarian revolution and emigrated to the United States. He received his BA from Oakland University, and his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota in Political Science. He moved to Tucson to take a position at the University of Arizona, where he is a professor of political science, specializing in international politics, democratic processes, and domestic public policy. He is served for twenty years as the executive director of the International Studies Association, the largest association of its kind focusing on international politics, with a membership of over 7,000 scholars from 110 countries. He is also co-owner of a firm, called Magellan International, LLC., which does business both in the United States and overseas, involving business consultation, political consultation, and international trade. He served in public office from 1977 through 1991 as a member of the Tucson city council, and then as Mayor of Tucson.

He has published dozens of articles in professional journals, and is the author and/or co-author of several books, including Major Powers and the Quest for Status in International Politics (2011), Mapping the New World Order (2009), International Politics and State Strength (2003), Politics in the Trenches: Experimenting with Democracy in America (2001), and The Forgotten Americans (1992).

He has also been honored by the University of Arizona with awards for teaching and distinguished public service.

Volgy ran successfully for local office, both on the Tucson City Council and as Mayor of Tucson, and served for fourteen years in elected office. During that time, he accepted as well a national leadership role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, and was invited on numerous occasions to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the National Governors Council on key urban public policy issues facing the nation. He has served as a delegate to two national Democratic conventions, including his role on the DNC’s rules committee. 

After leaving public office, Volgy has been actively involved through the U.S. government with the training of government officials overseas in the areas of democratic political development and public policy. He has conducted such training in Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Hungary, Romania, and Guyana. In addition, he was part of the international team that monitored Hungary’s first democratic elections in the post-Cold War environment. He also served as a member of the U.S. State Department delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe conference in Prague, and has lectured on international politics and transatlantic relations for the State Department in Europe.

After leaving office, Volgy has been active as well in the private sector. He is co-owner of Magellan International, a firm providing consulting services and assistance domestically and internationally. Through his firm, his projects have included working with litigators to pick juries, conducting survey research for both political campaigns and private sector market surveys, consulting on telecommunications issues in the marketplace, consulting on Congressional and mayoral campaigns, and providing assistance with international trade in Europe and Asia.

Professor Sharon Megdal

Sharon B. Megdal, Ph.D. is Director of The University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center (WRRC), a Cooperative Extension center and a research unit in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Other primary titles are Professor and Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, C.W. & Modene Neely Endowed Professor, and Distinguished Outreach Professor.

Sharon Megdal aims to bridge the academic, practitioner, and civil society communities through water policy and management research, education, and engagement programs. The geographic scope of Dr. Megdal’s work ranges from local to international. Applied research projects include analysis of water management, policy, and governance in water-scarce regions, groundwater recharge, and transboundary aquifer assessment. Key engagement initiatives are Indigenous Water Dialogues and Diversifying Voices in Water Resources.

She is the lead editor of the book, Shared Borders, Shared Waters: Israeli-Palestinian and Colorado River Basin Water Challenges and she has guest edited several special journal issues. Her policy columns and Reflections essays can be found here. Dr. Megdal teaches the multi-disciplinary graduate course “Water Policy in Arizona and Semi-arid Regions”. In 2020, she was awarded the Warren A. Hall Medal for lifetime achievement in water resources research and education by the Universities Council on Water Resources.

Sharon Megdal serves as on the Board of the American Water Resources Association and is an ex officio member of the Leadership Team for the Colorado River Basin Water & Tribes Initiative. Recent professional service includes serving for 12 years as a popularly elected Director for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, also known as the Central Arizona Project (CAP), and Board President for the International Arid Lands Consortium. Dr. Megdal has served on numerous Arizona boards and commissions, including the Arizona Corporation Commission, the State Transportation Board, and the Arizona Medical Board. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Economics from Princeton University.

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