GENEVA / UNHCR YUSRA MARDINI

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27-Apr-2017 00:03:09
Yusra Mardini, a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer, was appointed Thursday as Goodwill Ambassador for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). UNTV CH / FILE

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STORY: GENEVA / UNHCR YUSRA MARDINI
TRT: 03:09
SOURCE: UNTV CH
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 27 APRIL 2017 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior, Flag alley of the Palais des Nations in Geneva
2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Kelly T. Clements, Deputy High Commissioner, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“This is a great day for UNHCR, it’s a great day for Refugees. Yusra Mardini, as of today, is UNHCR’s new goodwill ambassador and she is also proud, I think, to be the youngest goodwill ambassador that the organization has had in its long history. We met last August during the closing of the Olympic Games. She was a proud member of the Refugee Olympic Team and competed, inspiring literally millions of people. We have in the world 21.3 million refugees and over half are children, children under the age of 18.”
4. Wide shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Kelly T. Clements, Deputy High Commissioner, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“I think about a lot of words when I think about Yusra: resilience, hope, strength, courage and she will tell you her story but what is so important about her joining our team – the UNHCR team – that she will provide a voice for so many refugees around the world. And that is a powerful message, and a powerful message of hope.”
6. Med shot, audience
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Yusra Mardini, Olympic Athlete and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“I am now trying to speak out loud, in Germany also, to spread more the story, so I can reach the people and I can let the idea come to their mind that refugees are actually humans and normal people also who can do a lot of stuff like them.”
8. Med shot, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Yusra Mardini, Olympic Athlete and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“It was a really good idea and all of us had actually the chance to speak out and a lot of people now know us, what we did and how we competed at the Olympics. And it was a really great idea, and, of course, we wish that we will be there again in Tokyo, that the team will stay. Maybe, of course, we don’t want to say forever, because we wish that there are no refugees anymore, but till this (refugee) issue is done.”
10. Wide shot, podium
11. Various shots, Yusra Mardini leaving the room

FILE – UNCHR –JUNE 2016

12. Wide shot, Yusar looking at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium
13. Various shots, Yusra swimming

FILE – UNHCR – 02 AUGUST 2016, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

14. Wide shot, athletes walking in for the press conference
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Yusra Mardini, Refugee Oympic Athlete:
“I want to tell everyone that I really miss Damascus, in the beginning. I am going to go back one day and I miss everything there and I want them to not like to give up, I want everyone to remember me, because there are a lot of people who know me there. I want everyone to think of their dreams because a lot of people forgot their dreams and I hope that everyone will follow their dreams to achieve something good in the future.”
16. Wide shot, athletes photo op

STORYLINE:

Yusra Mardini, a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer, was appointed Thursday as Goodwill Ambassador for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

Speaking to reporters today (27 Apr) in Geneva, UNHCR’s Deputy High Commissioner Kelly T. Clements said, “This is a great day for UNHCR, it’s a great day for Refugees,” adding “Yusra Mardini, as of today, is UNHCR’s new goodwill ambassador and she is also proud, I think, to be the youngest goodwill ambassador that the organization has had in its long history. We met last August during the closing of the Olympic Games. She was a proud member of the Refugee Olympic Team and competed, inspiring literally millions of people. We have in the world 21.3 million refugees and over half are children, children under the age of 18.”

On her long journey to escape war-torn Damascus in 2015, Yusra’s overloaded boat broke down between Turkey and the coast of Lesvos. Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped into the sea to pull the boat for hours to safety.

UNHCR’s Deputy High Commissioner commended Yusra’s strength and courage. She said “I think about a lot of words when I think about Yusra: resilience, hope, strength, courage and she will tell you her story but what is so important about her joining our team – the UNHCR team – that she will provide a voice for so many refugees around the world. And that is a powerful message, and a powerful message of hope.”

Yusra’s strong swimming skills were recognized by the International Olympic Committee and she became a team member, swimming on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year. Since then Yusra has worked closely with UNHCR, discussing refugees' challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

Speaking about the first-ever refugee Olympic Team and the wider global refugee crisis, Mardini said “it was a really good idea and all of us had actually the chance to speak out and a lot of people now know us, what we did and how we competed at the Olympics. And it was a really great idea, and, of course, we wish that we will be there again in Tokyo, that the team will stay. Maybe, of course, we don’t want to say forever, because we wish that there are no refugees anymore, but till this (refugee) issue is done.”

Yusra continues to train in the hope of competing at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 while studying full time in Berlin, Germany. Her extended family is still living in the Syrian capital Damascus. About her new role as Goodwill Ambassador 19- year-old Yusra said, “I am now trying to speak out loud, in Germany also, to spread more the story, so I can reach the people and I can let the idea come to their mind that refugees are actually humans and normal people also who can do a lot of stuff like them.”
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