Yacoub granted highest award
PRESIDENT Hosni Mubarak awarded prominent cardiac surgeon Magdi Yacoub the Grand Order of the Nile, the highest award in Egypt usually given to heads of state, for his contribution in the field of medicine and humanitarian work.
The celebration was held on Tuesday in the Heliopolis Presidential Palace and was attended by Mrs Suzanne Mubarak and top state officials, among them Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, speaker of the People's Assembly Fathi Sorour and Shura Council Speaker Safwat El-Sherif, in addition to several ministers and leading political, media and cultural figures.
The ceremony began with an address delivered by President Mubarak who called on the government and private sector to support Egypt's eminent surgeon Yacoub in his humanitarian effort. "I look forward to the opening of the Aswan Centre for Heart Disease Studies and for it to become the surgical centre of the medical world," Mubarak said, praising the initiative undertaken by Yacoub in creating in 1995 the international charity series Hope Association to take care of children suffering cardiac disease in the developing world.
Mubarak's address was followed by the presentation of the Grand Order of the Nile to Yacoub who expressed his gratitude to the president for the award. "I am honoured to receive this award, yet I believe that this recognition is not directed at only me but to the whole team working at the Aswan Heart Centre."
Yacoub, widely regarded as one of the best cardiac surgeons in the world, was born in 1935 in Assiut governorate to a Coptic family. He settled in the United Kingdom where Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1992. He is referred to by the British press as the "King of Hearts".