To help commemorate International Women’s Day 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) welcomed Captain Shaesta Waiz to Montreal yesterday as part of a series of ceremonies commemorating her adventurous plans for a 2016 round the world solo flight.
ICAO was made aware of the Dreams Soar campaign through earlier contact established between its courageous pilot and Captain Aysha Alhameli, the first woman pilot from the United Arab Emirates and that nation’s current Representative on the ICAO Council.
Born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan and, driven by a passion for aviation, Shaesta Waiz eventually went on to become that country’s first certified civilian female pilot.
To help inspire a new generation of women towards careers in aviation, the 28 year-old graduate of Embry-Riddle University will be embarking on an ambitious “Dreams Soar” round the world solo flight later this year, helping to raise awareness of the need for greater global access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for women and youth.
If successful, Waiz will become the youngest pilot in history to complete a global solo flight.
“I have a very strong passion for aviation that I want to share. But it’s more than that. I want to show women that they can succeed in anything – including flying around the world,” she commented. “My aviation dreams have had a huge impact in making me the pilot and the woman I am today and I’m very grateful for ICAO’s recognition and support as I embark on this incredible voyage for STEM.”
“It is very important for our global sector, as we seek to foster the next generation of skilled aviation professionals, that we continue to inspire and attract the best and brightest,” remarked ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “Women professionals and leaders will be critical to how effectively aviation responds to the challenges ahead, and Shaesta and her journey are an inspiration to them all.”
“International Women’s Day is a time to call for change and to celebrate the acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Shaesta is a great example of all of these qualities.” commented ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu.
“The United Nations’ goal this 8 March is to help accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5 which are directly related to women’s empowerment. We are honoured to be sporting Shaesta and her journey to raise awareness on these issues in our States and industry, and to be able to highlight the importance of greater gender parity and opportunities for women across our entire global network.”
““Flying solo” is something every woman does in her life at some point to pursue their goals. I believe Shaesta’s journey is a great opportunity to bring the world of aviation closer to all the girls out there who are just waiting to be inspired to take on the challenges,” highlighted Captain Aysha. “Supporting the next generation of aviation professionals, especially women, is a responsibility that the UAE and myself are taking very seriously. I am proud to be part of this journey and to provide all the support I can give to Shaesta and her project.”
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.