The UN High Commissioner for Refugees noted the piloting of a plane with American actor Tom Cruise by 23-year-old Syrian pilot Maya Ghazal, who took refuge in the UK in 2015.
The UNHCR posted on its Twitter account a photo of Gazelle and Cruz gathered on the sidelines of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. In its commentary, UNHCR said Ghazal was the first Syrian refugee to become a pilot and his message was “Paradise for everyone”.
On her Instagram account, Gazal posted another photo of her next to Lewis Hamilton’s car and thanked the Mercedes team for the invitation. In 2015, Maya Ghazal was forced to leave Damascus, leaving home, plans and dreams: “But thanks to her determination, hope and determination, she started a new life in the UK, studying aeronautical engineering at Brunel University.” In 2020, Ghazal received her pilot’s license, becoming the first female Syrian refugee pilot.
Ghazal was chosen as a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She has received the Princess Diana Legacy Award and is a prominent refugee rights advocate and supporter of UNHCR since 2017. Maya also supported UNHCR during World Refugee Day by attending events including the UNHCR reception at the Palace of Westminster through the media and social media.
And in 2019, Maya delivered an inspiring and touching TEDxPalaisDesNationsWomen talk where she corrected stereotypes and offered five solutions to better understand refugees and why we should invest in their limitless potential.
Ghazal said in an interview with British Vogue in June 2021: “I would like to get a commercial license. Then one day I want to be able to land a plane in Syria.” She added: “Now I am a British citizen, this is the place where my dreams and ambitions came true and I will be eternally grateful for that, but I will never give up my Syrian citizenship. I’m very proud of myself.”
Ghazal, a refugee rights activist, pointed out that only 77 percent of primary school children have access to education. In her interview, she also called on countries to invest in refugees and give them their basic rights, including health care, clean water and education.