The Syrian Mardini sisters among the Time's 100 Most Influential People 2023

Ahram Online , Thursday 27 Apr 2023

Syrian sisters Sara and Yusra Mardini, who inspired the Netflix popular drama The Swimmers, were listed among Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2023.

The Swimmers


Sara and Yusra were listed in the category Icons, one of six segments of the ‘Most Influential People’ along with Artists, Pioneers, Leaders, Titans and Innovators.

Both sisters attended the Time 100 Gala 2023 held in New York City this week, which featured all the awardees as well as big names in the entertainment industry.

"We are honoured to be part of this incredible group," the sisters wrote on Instagram following the Gala.

The travails and achievements of the Mardini sisters inspired the 2022 Netflix film The Swimmers,  directed and co-written by Egyptian-Welsh director Sally El-Hosaini.

The film featured Lebanese sisters Manal and Nathalie Issa playing sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini; Egyptian actor Ahmed Malek; Syrian actress Kinda Alloush; as well as Matthias Schweighöfer (Germany); Ali Suleiman (Palestine), and James Krishna Floyd (UK). 

According to Reuters, the film is "a dramatisation of a true story of two sisters who fled their home and endured a harrowing journey before rebuilding their lives and, for one of them, making it to the Olympics."

The Swimmers premiered at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

It had its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) premiere at the 44th Cairo International Film Festival last November.

The film was screened across numerous international festivals, garnering several awards.

Meanwhile, Time magazine posted a note written by actress Cate Blanchett in praise of the sisters:

“In 2015, sisters and competitive swimmers Yusra and Sara Mardini fled Syria because of conflict. During the dangerous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece, their dinghy’s engine failed. The sisters were among those who jumped into the water to guide the overcrowded boat to safety, saving the lives of all on board,” wrote the two-time Oscars winner.

The Mardini sisters' story and its emphasis through the film “brought the human reality of what it means to be displaced to a mass audience. That story continues as both Yusra and Sara fiercely advocate for everyone’s right to seek safety. Whoever. Wherever. Whenever," added Blanchett.

Short link: