The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) appointed Yusra Mardini – a Syrian refugee who together with her sister swam for three hours in the Mediterranean Sea off Turkey’s coast, pulling a capsizing boat of refugees to safety – as its new Goodwill Ambassador.
Her actions saved the lives of 20 refugees who were fleeing the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Yusra was also one of the 10 athletes who made up the historic Olympic Refugee Team and participated at the Rio Olympic Games last year. She has been a very powerful voice for the forcibly displaced across the world and an example of their resilience and determination to rebuild lives and positively contribute to host communities.
Since her participation at the Rio Olympics, Ms. Mardini has worked closely with the UN agency, drawing global attention to the plight of refugees, speaking at forums including the 2016 UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants (which adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants) and the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos.