Shafik was born in the Heliopolis district of Cairo on 25 November 1941. His parents were prominent members of Egyptian society with his father Mohamed Shafiq Zaki serving as an Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Irrigation and his mother Naja Alwi was the daughter of a noted ophthalmologist. After completing his schooling at the Heliopolis Secondary School, he attended the Egyptian Air Academy from where he graduated in 1961 at the age of 20 and became a member of the Egyptian Air Force (EAF). Later in his career, he gained a master's degree in military science; a Fellowship of High War College from Nasser Military Academy; a Fellowship of Combined Arms from the High War College in Paris; a Fellowship of the National Defense College from Nasser Military Academy; and a Ph.D. in "The National Strategy of Outer-Space". Air Marshal Ahmed Shafik received the highest medals and merits during his service.
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