Being a refugee should not be seen as something that limits you. It should be seen as a testament to what you have endured to get to where you are today. 

Our ‘Influential Refugees’ series aims to demonstrate not only the range of people who can find themselves in need of asylum, but also the great things that people of a refugee background can go on to achieve in their lives.


Influential Refugees: Thuan Pham


Photo of Influential Refugees Thuan Pham, CTO at uberThaun was just 10-year-old child when he was forced to flee his home in 1979 due to the Vietnam war.

He fled in a small, overcrowded boat with his mother and siblings. After being turned away from Malaysia, they lived in basic conditions on the Indonesian island of Letung for 10 months, before the family was eventually granted asylum in the US.


Growing up in America he recalls wearing donated clothes for many years, and initially struggling with his education due to the language barrier. Despite having to learn English from scratch, his determination and hard work paid off. He graduated from prestigious university MIT with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1991, and soon went on to work for a number of big technology companies. Today Pham is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at international taxi-company Uber; a company that now operates in almost 400 cities in the world, and is worth over 62 billion dollars.


Even if you lose all one day, you can build all over again if you retain your calm.” -Thuan Pham

Look out for more posts in our ‘Influential Refugees’ series coming soon!