How sports empowers refugees – and builds self-reliance

Yusra Mardini

What does it take to help refugee children regain a sense of normalcy? After inspiring the world as one of the first-ever members of the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, swimmer Yusra Mardini explains how sports helped her rebuild her life and inspire other refugees around the world. She also discusses her harrowing journey fleeing war-torn Syria when she and her sister helped guide a sinking boat to safety on the shores of Greece. (This conversation is hosted by Amal Arab.)

About the Speaker

Yusra Mardini
Olympian, refugee advocate

Yusra Mardini is an Olympic swimmer, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and the subject of the critically acclaimed Netflix film The Swimmers. Born and raised in Syria, she and her sister fled the civil war in 2015. They and other refugees attempted to reach Greece by boat after traveling through Lebanon and Turkey. When the boat’s motor failed, Mardini, her sister and two other refugees swam the boat and the 20 people onboard to safety, saving everyone. She saw her dream come true when she later participated in the 2016 Olympics as a member of the Refugee Olympic Team. Since then, she’s written a memoir and created a foundation for refugees and at-risk youth to pursue their passions.