Egyptians were elated to learn today that the Queen’s Honours list included two Egyptians.
His Grace, Bishop Angaelos, Bishop-General of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom will be conferred the honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to International Religious Freedom by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
In response to the announcement, Bishop Angaelos said: “I am humbled by this award because I see it as my role and duty to advocate for religious freedom as part of my ministry. While I am thankful for this great honour, it comes with a sense of sadness that in the 21st century we still need to defend people’s God-given rights and freedoms in this way. I consider this an award to every person who has worked with and supported me along the way and pray that God rewards and blesses them for all they have done and all they continue to do. I must also express my sincere gratitude to Her Majesty The Queen and the Prime Minister for considering this cause worthy of such public acknowledgement.”
The other Egyptian-born figure to be honoured by the Queen is Nemat Shafik, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England who will be made a dame of the British Empire for her services in public administration and global economy. Before her appointment to this post last year, Ms Shafik, also known as Minouche, was Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. She was born in Alexandria in 1962 and was taken to the US a few months later by her family who had lost their wealth to President Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s nationalisation and socialist policy. She now holds US and UK citizenship.
For his part, the UK ambassador to Cairo John Casson said that both these figures dedicated their lives to the service of others, and have become an inspiration for British and Egyptian young people.
The formal investiture will take place in a few weeks.
13 June 2015