UN launches video on Olympic Swimmer and Refugee Yusra Mardini

Date: 
Tuesday, 20 June 2017

New York | DPI

The Department of Public Information has launched an animated video on the dramatic story of Yusra Mardini, a young refugee from conflict-torn Syria who achieved her dream to compete in the Olympics. Produced by the Department’s Education Outreach Section in support of the Together Initiative, the video will mark World Refugee Day on 20 June and highlight the advent of the International Day of Peace on 21 September. The video aims to dispel negative attitudes and discrimination toward refugees and migrants by building empathy in young people toward them, particularly the many who have faced extremely difficult circumstances in their quests to find more secure lives. The animation will be made available in all six United Nations official languages.

Nineteen-year-old Yusra Mardini was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on 27 April 2017. She swam in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as a member of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team and now lives and studies in Berlin. Yusra fled her home country of Syria with her sister, travelling through Lebanon and Turkey before trying to reach Greece by boat. When its motor failed, she and her sister jumped into the sea and swam for more than three and a half hours in open water to stop their boat from capsizing, saving the lives of 20 people.

The video coincides with the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace which this year, highlights the theme “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” honouring the spirit of TOGETHER, a United Nations initiative that seeks to reduce negative perceptions of refugees and migrants, encourage people to welcome them into their communities and combat xenophobia. In his message marking the countdown, the Secretary-General said, “Our duty as a human family is to replace fear with kindness.”

The International Day of Peace, observed annually on 21 September, was established in 1981 by the General Assembly.  The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

For more information, please visit:

International Day of Peace: un.org/peaceday and #peaceday.
Together Initiative: together.un.org and #jointogether.
World Refugee Day: unhcr.org and #withrefugees.