UAE female fighter pilot receives Game Changer Award at UN

Al Mansouri served the army in various capacities before starting in-flight training.
Mariam Al Mansouri, an F-16 fighter pilot of the UAE Air Force, on Wednesday received the Asia Game Changer Award at a function at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York.

Al Mansouri, who is among nine awardees, is a role model for women throughout the Arab world for battling stereotypes and terror, from the air, said the Asia Society, organisers of the Game Changer Awards.

Al Mansouri served the army in various capacities before starting in-flight training.

As a fully qualified, highly trained, combat-ready pilot and wing leader in the UAE Air Force and Air Defence, Al Mansouri was an active member of the UAE air force team participating in the airstrikes conducted by the Global Coalition to Combat Daesh against the terror organisation in Syria. She received the Mohammed bin Rashid Pride of the Emirates medal for excellence in her field.


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Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to the UN, attended the awards ceremony along with representatives of states, senior UN officials, and members of the diplomatic community at the UN. Nusseibeh congratulated Al Mansouri for the award, saying the recognition is an honour for all Emirati women, who always seek excellence scientifically and practically in all fields whether locally, regionally and internationally.

She lauded the general policy adopted by the Government of the UAE as a key priority to ensure that women leaders were provided real opportunities for empowerment.

She noted that Al Mansouri, the first squadron leader in the UAE Air Force, has set a living example of the role of the woman in a moderate, tolerant Muslim country like the UAE.

The Asia Society said that the Asia Game Changers Awards are given in recognition of making a transformative and positive difference to the future of Asia and the world.

Awardees are selected through a global survey of more than 1,000 thought leaders. The 2015 awardees are:

1. Asia Game Changer of the Year: Manny Pacquiao (The Philippines) Humanitarian, world-famous boxing champion, and member of the Philippines House of Representatives

“for using his sport, and his star power, as sources for good”.

2. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and 3. Shuji Nakamura (Japan/US) 2014 Nobel Laureates in Physics and inventors of a new energy-efficient light source – the blue LED

“for lighting our world in a groundbreaking and sustainable way”.

4. Chanda Kochhar (India) CEO of ICICI Bank and the first woman to head an Indian bank “for breaking the glass ceiling, transforming an industry, and empowering the masses”

5. Lei Jun (China) Founder & CEO of Xiaomi, China’s leading smartphone vendor “for changing the game of communication in China and beyond”

6. Li Cunxin (Australia/China), Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet, known as “Mao’s Last Dancer” “for his art, his courage, and his cultural diplomacy”

7. Aasif Mandvi (US/India) Comedian, activist and powerful spokesperson for Muslims and Asian Americans “for using comedy to challenge perceptions, and work for good”.

8. Mariam Al Mansouri (UAE) Fighter pilot, UAE Air Force and role model for women throughout the Arab world “for battling stereotypes, and terror, from the air”.

9. Kiran Bir Sethi (India) Founder, Design for Change and The Riverside School, and champion of youth volunteerism “for empowering children to change the world”.

Asia Society is the leading educational organisation dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.

Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, the Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future.

Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution with headquarters in New York, centers in Hong Kong and Houston, and offices in Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, and Washington, DC. – Wam

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