Irish Examiner View: Suaad Alshleh an example of a refugee success story

Honouring refugee contributions
Irish Examiner View: Suaad Alshleh an example of a refugee success story

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) mentioned Dublin-based medical student Suaad Alshleh as an example of how Europe could build a future by harnessing the skills, energy and talents of refugees. Image: AP/Francisco Seco)

Dublin-based medical student Suaad Alshleh got a taste of unexpected celebrity yesterday when EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned her as an example of how Europe could build a future by harnessing the skills, energy and talents of refugees.

Von der Leyen explained that the teenage Syrian refugee had arrived in Ireland dreaming of being a doctor and, just three years later, had been awarded a prestigious scholarship from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

A delighted and surprised Suaad Alshleh spoke of spending a difficult first year in Direct Provision with her mother, but then going on to study medicine. 

She said she hopes her story will inspire others to dream big, no matter what kind of barriers they face.

Let’s hope that her story will also help EU member states to see the 12,000 migrants left homeless after their camp was destroyed by fire on the Greek island of Lesbos as people with talents, skills and potential who have a lot to contribute to any country far-sighted enough to offer them refuge.

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