UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2017
"Education gave me the strength to carry on. I wouldn’t be here without it. It’s important for all refugee children to have access to quality education. Giving them the knowledge and skills, we can empower them to contribute to their communities, wherever they are."
Muzoon Almellehan is a Syrian refugee and education activist. She has been campaigning for children’s education in emergencies since she was forced to flee Syria in 2013.
Muzoon began advocating for girls’ education as part of a UNICEF-supported back-to-school campaign, during which she went tent to tent, speaking with the parents of children at risk of child marriage or early labour.
Since then, Muzoon has been recognized by the BBC’s list of 100 inspirational and innovative women, Time Magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens, and Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21. In 2017, Muzoon received the Glamour Women of the Year Award.
Muzoon Almellehan's activity with UNICEF
Muzoon joined UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in a virtual intergenerational dialogue, ‘In Solidarity with Girls: Opening Up Better and Getting Girls Back to School’, with youth leaders. The event highlighted the impacts of girls being out of school due to COVID-19.
Muzoon participated in a virtual event, 'Young Women Leaders & Peacebuilders on the Frontlines of Crises', organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.
Muzoon participated in a virtual high-level event to mark the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack. That same month, she also spoke at the Multi-Faith Advisory Council to the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development's global online conference.
Muzoon travelled to Luxembourg and gave the keynote speech at the Global Issues Network Conference. She also spoke at the Skoll World Forum session on Preventing a Lost Generation of Refugee Youth, in Oxford, United Kingdom.
Muzoon travelled to Spain to speak at the Third International Conference on Safe Schools. She advocated for world leaders to reaffirm their commitments to protecting schools from indiscriminate attacks.
Muzoon travelled to Mali to raise awareness of the impact of the rising insecurity and violence on children’s education and safety. Following the visit, she helped launch the UNICEF Child Alert, Education Under Threat in West and Central Africa, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Muzoon travelled to New York to participate in various events during the United Nations General Assembly. She spoke alongside UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Muzoon participated in the opening plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative University, where she spoke alongside former US President Bill Clinton.
Muzoon spoke at the Global Conflict, Human Impact Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she advocated for refugee and migrant children. She then participated at events of the World Meeting of the Families in Dublin, Ireland.
Muzoon spoke at a high-level event in Brussels, Belgium, organized by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis.
Muzoon travelled to London to speak at the Global Citizen Parliamentary event and the Global Citizen Live concert, where she advocated for education to be prioritized for girls in emergencies.
Muzoon participated in the Global Compact on Refugees at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Muzoon delivered the keynote speech at the Women’s Forum in Paris, France.
- Muzoon travelled to Jordan to meet children who, like her, fled the Syrian conflict and were determined to go to school despite extremely challenging circumstances. It was the first time Muzoon returned to the country where she had spent three years in refugee camps.
- Muzoon represented UNICEF in various events during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
- Muzoon was the face of a campaign to highlight the 27 million out-of-school children living in conflict zones. To illustrate that heartbreaking statistic, a line of 27 empty school buses drove through the streets of New York with banners featuring phrases like 'Books not bombs'.
- Muzoon was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, marking the first time a person with official refugee status took the post.
- Muzoon represented UNICEF at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, where she raised the voices of three million people standing with refugee and migrant children.