The newspaper of Imperial College London
 Issue 125, 15 January 2003
The future starts here«
Knighthood for head of surgery«
Proud Ravinder knighted«
Sparks across the park«
Taking LEAD with seven point plan«
Advanced Civil Engineering Education Initiative«
Britain's earliest TB victim«
Professor Peter Hills«
Academic training courses«
Optimising performance«
Shining a new light on the eye«
Imperial College Volunteer Centre«
New look gym at Wye«
In brief«
Media spotlight«
What's onů«

Knighthood for head of surgery

THE letter announcing Ara Darzi, Imperial College London's professor of surgery at St Mary's Hospital, has been made honorary KBE by The Queen, now has pride of place on his living room wall.

Professor Ara Darzi

It nearly didn't make it. An over-zealous son, keen to impress his parents with his tidying up skills on Christmas Day, earmarked it for the wastepaper basket. "It was binned with the wrapping paper," Professor Darzi recalls. "Fortunately, we rescued it in time and had it framed."

Honorary knighthoods, conferred on the advice of the Foreign Secretary, are given to foreign nationals who have made an important contribution to relations between their country and Britain.

The professor received his letter shortly before Christmas. "Her Majesty The Queen has been pleased to appoint you to be an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE)," it announced.

"This honour is conferred on you by Her Majesty in recognition of your services to medicine and surgery."

An Irish national, the 42-year-old pioneer in the use of minimally invasive (keyhole) techniques in surgery and robotics in the UK, joins a distinguished list of honorary KBEs including musician Bob Geldof and film director Stephen Spielberg.

A member of the Department of Health's Modernisation Board, Chairman of the London regional Board and the Government's Adviser for Surgery, his department's work was recognised in 2001, when Imperial College London was awarded a second Queen's Anniversary Prize for higher education.

"I really think it's an honour for the department and the colleagues I work with at St Mary's and Imperial College," added Professor Darzi. "Following on from the Queen's Award, I feel our efforts to make academic surgery as cutting edge as possible have really reached the public arena.

"My daughter was also impressed. When she heard someone refer to me as 'Sir' Ara, she commented; 'Daddy, are you going to become a school teacher?' "

St Mary's NHS Trust Chairman Lady Hanham admitted to being 'thrilled' at the professor's award.

"He is a dedicated forward-looking surgeon, teacher and researcher, and someone fully deserving of this honour. Everyone at St Mary's is delighted for him."

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, principal of the faculty of medicine concluded: "Ara Darzi has made outstanding contributions to Imperial College and to the technological development of surgical expertise in the UK.

"Throughout his career he has supported the NHS and the need to deliver patient care in the setting of new technological advances.

He is in excellent company of those to have received honorary knighthoods, and I am delighted to see him recognised in this way."

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