Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini was appointed the youngest ever UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in April 2017. She advocates for refugees globally through sharing her own inspiring story and has become a 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.
In April 2018 Yusra travelled with UNHCR to meet refugees in Sicily who had taken similar desperate journeys to her own to escape conflict and reach safety. Yusra reflected on her trip in a takeover of the official UNHCR Instagram account and wrote the foreword for our Desperate Journeys report focused on children and young people.
She was selected to compete at Rio 2016 as part of the first ever Refugee Olympic Team. She was catapulted on to the world’s stage and subsequently went on to address world leaders at the UN General Assembly, meet the Pope and be honoured with several awards. Yusra has written a book about her story which is also being turned into a film, scheduled for release in 2019.
Using her new platform, together with UNHCR, Yusra is determined to continue to use her own experience of flight to help focus the attention of the world on refugee issues.
Additional media materials on Yusra are available here.
Previous support and field visits
In September 2019 Yusra returned to the Middle East for the first time since fleeing her home. She travelled to Jordan with UNHCR to spend time with fellow Syrians living in Zaatari Refugee Camp. She met with a group of young girls involved in an informal education and empowerment project at a UNHCR supported community centre, hearing their stories and encouraging them to pursue their dreams.
In April 2018 Yusra travelled with UNHCR to meet refugees in Sicily who had undertaken similar journeys to her own to escape conflict and reach safety. Yusra reflected on her trip in a takeover of the official UNHCR Instagram account.
In August 2017 Yusra travelled with UNHCR to Japan to undertake a series of high level meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Governor of Tokyo, the President and staff at the Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee amongst others. She also gave an inspirational speech at a school and undertook several media interviews and a Facebook Live with fellow UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Miyavi.