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Syrian girl who saved sinking refugees named UN Goodwill Ambassador

Friday, Apr 28, 2017,9:50 IST By joji A A A

United Nations | Yusra Mardini, a Syrian woman who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees, has been appointed by the UN agency for refugees as its new Goodwill Ambassador.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Mardini’s actions saved the lives of 20 refugees who were fleeing the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Mardini, 19, 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.
“The UN refugee agency does the most important and incredible work for refugees under extremely challenging circumstances, and I am proud to use my voice to support UNHCR,” Mardini said, accepting her new role.
She said through UNHCR, she is eager to continue spreading the message that “refugees are just normal people living through traumatic and devastating circumstances, who are capable of extraordinary things if only given a chance”.
When Mardini’s boat broke down between Turkey and the coast of On the last stretch of their long journey to escape war- torn Damascus, Mardini and her sister jumped into the sea to pull the boat to safety.
Mardini is currently a full time student in Germany and continues to train in the hope of competing at the next Olympic Games in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, in 2020.
Since her participation at the Rio Olympics, 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 and the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos.
She has also advocated for the refugee cause during meetings with the Pope, world leaders, influential business figures and other world leaders.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Mardini is a “deeply inspiring” young woman who has, through her powerful personal story, represented the hopes, fears and incredible potential of the more than ten million young refugees around the globe.
Welcoming the announcement, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said he hopes that through her role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Mardini will continue to inspire refugees, “reminding us that anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit.”
Goodwill Ambassadors are some of the most recognisable public faces of the UN agency. They help take its work to every corner of the world through their influence, dedication and hard work.

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