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Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc at AfroCannes, a conference to promote diversity and inclusion in the film industry and beyond

May 24, 2022 | #equality, #respect #diversity

Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc, the 17-year-old racing drivers were invited to speak at AfroCannes last Saturday on the subjects of diversity and inclusion in motorsport. It is a subject close to the twins’ heart since they were the target of sexist and insulting remarks by a competitor at the 2021 Dakar Rally. Ever since, they have been working to raise awareness for equality and respect in motorsport and beyond.

Aliyyah and Yasmeen come from a mixed cultural background. Their mother is from the Seychelles and Sudan, their father from the Czech Republique and Vanuatu. They were born in Dubai and have travelled the world from a very young age. They therefore gladly accepted to speak at the conference in Cannes organized by Yanibes, a boutique PR, communication and business consultancy agency founded by Prudence Kolong, on the occasion of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. AfroCannes was organized to connect films, countries and people from Africa and elsewhere and to promote inclusion and diversity in films and other areas like motorsport.

Aliyyah Koloc spoke about her experience at the conference: “It was a great event with a lot of really nice people! We spoke about diversity in our sport and beyond. With our Equality & Diversity Program we are trying to inspire the young generation to follow their dreams in motorsport and elsewhere.” Aliyyah, who has been diagnosed with Asperger added: “I rarely speak in public about non-motorsport related subjects but it is very important to spread awareness and act on it, so those less fortunate than us can have the same opportunities.”

Her sister Yasmeen Koloc explained: “The event was truly great and a wonderful experience. I got to meet and talk to some very inspiring people. I strongly believe that everybody can make a difference, and with Aliyyah and myself coming from a mixed background, we are hopefully able to pass on our experience, though we are still quite young, to help others to fight for what they want to achieve in life.”

Since the incident at the Dakar Rally, Aliyyah and Yasmeen have been wearing caps with the words #equality, #respect #diversity at all the race meetings they participate in. But they wanted to do more. So together with their team, Buggyra ZM Racing and MFT, a motorsport start-up focused on enhancing diversity in the motorsports industry, they have launched the Equality & Diversity Program last month, a campaign to raise awareness about equality, respect, and diversity in motorsports and to help young racers from unusual backgrounds to become successful in motorsports through the Buggyra ZM Academy Program.

Top photo from left to right: Ludovic Pezé (MFT), Luka Peros, Yasmeen Koloc, Jimmie Jean-Louis, Dan Sheldon, Aliyyah Koloc, Gary Dourdan

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