Ara Darzi, Outstanding Surgeon, the First Armenian in the House of Lords

Imperial College London

The British elite is largely conservative and not just anyone can become a part of it. However, Ara Darzi, one of the distinguished surgeons in the world, who also has been the first Armenian in the house of Lords, did become one. 

When it comes to using robots in surgery Lord Ara Darzi, the leading British surgeon’s name comes first, reports. His real name is Ara Wardkes Terzyan and he was born in Bagdad in 1960 in a family that survived the Armenian Genocide. His ancestors came from Erzurum. His father was a carpenter and his mother pediatrician. At the age of 17 he made up his mind to leave for Dublin obsessed by the dream of a good medical education. Initially, he studied at the Royal College of Surgeons. This was followed by a degree from Trinity College of Dublin.

It was in Dublin where he got his nickname. “Ara” is similar to the common Irish first name “Dara”. “Darzi” is like the very common Irish surname “Darcy”. So, people started calling me Dara Darcy,” he told once.

After 14 years in Dublin Darzi moved to Great Britain in 1990. He started his surgical career which soon led him to become the head of the Institute of Cancer Research. He was knighted by the Queen for services to medicine and surgery in 2002 when he was just 42. This way he came to become a member of the House of Lords. 

According to, once in the House of Lords one of the speakers suffered a heart attack during a speech. Dr. Darzi saved his life right on the floor of the House of Lords using a defibrillator and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 

“I remember John Sentamu, Archbishop of York attending the House of Lords that day, praying for that person’s life. After I made his heart work with the defibrillator I turned to Sentamu and told him, “I think I left you behind, archbishop.” Sentamu smiled at me and said, “I think we share the victory.”

In June 2007, prime minister Gordon Braun appointed Ara Darzi deputy minister of health care of Great Britain. He was the first Armenian in the history of Great Britain to become a member of the British Cabinet. In the course of two years, he made a lot of reforms in the field of health care. In July 2009 Darzi resigned. He went back to clinical and scientific work. The same year Darzi became a member of the Queen’s Privy Council. He also holds honorary positions in all significant medical organizations in Britain.