Syrian Refugee Pilot
1926. Maya Ghazal
Maya Ghazal, from London, is a student activist and the first female Syrian refugee pilot.
Maya fled with her family from Damascus in 2015 when she was 16, and while staying in a hotel near Heathrow, was inspired by the sight of planes to pursue a career as a pilot. Fulfilling her dream in 2020, Maya was made a Goodwill Ambassador by the UN Refugee Agency in 2021 and is now a passionate advocate for refugee inclusion, particularly for improving access to education and job opportunities. Maya has spoken at many global events about her experiences and the need to empower refugee girls, starting with a TEDx talk in 2018, followed by speaking at the Houses of Parliament, the United Nations, the WE Day youth empowerment forum, the Global Social Forum on Education, and the WISE Summit. She has also partnered with actor and UNHCR supporter Stanley Tucci for media campaigns around World Refugee Day helping to showcase the real stories behind refugees.
“It’s very important to recognise the value and impact of volunteering. This award not only is a recognition of people’s selfless acts of kindness and service to their community, but also an encouragement for others to join the volunteer community, and see that there are no limits to what one’s passion could lead to.”