Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at UN refugee agency

Yusra Mardini, the Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees, was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

27 April 2017 | 13:30

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 27 April 2017 | 13:30

Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini who fled to Germany with her family and who is currently training with a local swimming club attends a joint press conference of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

GENEVA: The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini "represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe."

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees' challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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