Hassan Al Kontar
Hassan Al Kontar was raised in a prosperous Syrian home, the middle child of a mechanical engineer and nurse. He worked in marketing in the UAE before the war. Now a permanent resident of Canada based in Vancouver, he advocates for refugees around the world.
When civil war broke out in his home country in 2011, Hassan Al Kontar was a young Syrian living and working in the UAE. A conscientious objector by faith and temperament, he refused to return to Syria for compulsory military service and lived illegally before being deported to Malaysia in 2018. Unable to obtain a visa for any other country, he became trapped in the arrivals zone at Kuala Lumpur Airport. Exiled by war and trapped by geopolitics, Al Kontar used social media and humour to tell his story to the world, becoming an international celebrity and ultimately finding refuge in Canada.