Renowned surgeon awarded nation’s top honor

President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday delivered the Nile Medal, the country's top honorary decoration, to prominent Egyptian heart surgeon, Magdi Yacoub.

Yacoub was selected for his medical, scientific, and humanitarian efforts, which include offering free medical services for the poor, the president said. 

Mubarak announced the news while in the Upper Egyptian province of Aswan. Provincial governor Mostafa al-Sayyid, told Mubarak during the trip that 35 feddans of Aswan's lands were set to be allocated for an international heart treatment center supervised by Yacoub.

Al-Sayyid credited Yacoub for his efforts in promoting medical care in Aswan, and for his pro bono work.

Mubarak has been observing Yacoub's initiatives over the past few months. Yacoub recently established a heart treatment center and launched Salasel al-Amal( Chains of Hope), a charitable association that provides cardiac treatment for the poor from Egypt and other Arab countries.

Magdi Yacoub, recognized as one of the most outstanding heart surgeons in the world, was born in 1935 in Assiut, Upper Egypt, to a Coptic family. He settled his career in UK, where Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1992. He is referred by the British media as the "King of Hearts."

The Nile Medal is typically given to individuals with distinguished contributions to Egyptian society. Egyptian Nobel laureates, such Mohamed ElBaradei, Ahmed Zuweil and Naguib Mahfouz, are previous recipients.

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