The Knight has his day

Two outstanding members of UAE society were awarded for their superb contributions at an Investiture by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Emirates.

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Published: Sat 27 Nov 2010, 7:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:03 PM

Sir Maurice Flanagan, Vice Chairman of Emirates Airlines and Dr Maha Barakat, the inspiration behind the Imperial College Diabetes centre in Abu Dhabi were awarded the KBE and the OBE respectively.

It is not very common for Royal Investitures to be held outside the United Kingdom and many of us who live in the UAE and know these individuals personally and have shared time with them can unabashedly bask in the reflected glory and truly exult in their honour.

For Sir Maurice’s huge fan club it was great news when the Royal honours List was announced in June and those who have seen him be integral to the airline’s success and spearhead it from those early days in 1985 to the awesomely impressive carrier it is today know this is one very well deserved tribute to his tenacity and his determination to make it work. His felicity of phrase, his ability to capture the attention of his audience across the world are legendary. He is erudite, pithy and lashes his words with delightful humour and insight. It has always been a pleasure to her him address a gathering. His hospitality and grace, whether opening his beautiful barnyard home in Manchester for a grand informal lunch or being the official host at a formal dinner have been unstinting. Sir Maurice has brought a great graciousness to the table and been a role model for not just those with a passion for aviation but even for those who work on the ground but have chanced to cross his path. To you Sir, salute and may your honours grow with your friendships.

Indeed, Dr Maha Barakat’s honour in recognition of her setting up and spearheading the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) in Abu Dhabi deserves no less an ovation. A member of the Magnificent Seven (the number of doctors from Imperial on the Queen’s 2010 Honours List) she has brought greatly needed attention to this growing regional medical condition and initiated and encouraged several programmes to generate awareness.The Diabetes Walkathon which always attracts a good deal of attention is one the fixtures aimed at getting the young to get up and go.

Dr Barakat has made it a mission to generate this sense of awareness and in doing so, has probably been able to dramatically reduce the incidence and the severity of diabetes in the country.

The Centre was set up in 2004 and has now grown into the largest treatment centre for diabetes in the UAE. In addition to treatment, ICLDC’s runs nationwide public health campaigns raising awareness of diabetes in the community, continuing medical education of local doctors, and research. Not the most high profile of people herself she has brought more than just a profile to the inspiring job she is doing…it is a passion.

Both Sir Maurice Flanagan and Dr Maha Barakat invited 20 guests to witness the special ceremony on Thursday and it is safe to say that for their friends and well wishers many thousands were present in spirit and in support of jobs well done…and still being done.

Dr Maha Barakat

is Medical & Research Director and Consultant Endocrinologist at the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Barakat has been on formal secondment since 2004 from Imperial College London where she is a Reader.

Her role at ICLDC was to establish and lead it to become the largest specialist unit for diabetes and its complications in the UAE.

In the Faculty of Medicine, Dr Maha Barakat is also recognised with an OBE for her services to medical research, training and public health in the United Arab Emirates.

Dr Barakat is the co- founder and research and medical director of the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ largest multidisciplinary diabetes facility.

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