Abu Dhabi: Special Olympics announced the next phase of global expansion of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (UCS), one of the largest initiatives for education for young people with or without intellectual disabilities, with the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.
Building over a decade of success of UCS in the United States and growing impact in more than 50 other countries around the world, Sheikh Mohammed has committed $25 million on behalf of the people of the UAE in order to spread this initiative to six countries: Argentina, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Romania and Rwanda. Special Olympics will lead the growth of UCS in these countries, empowering young leaders to create lasting social change through inclusion in education for people.
“The Special Olympics movement is being led by young leaders with and without intellectual disabilities who are emerging as the world’s greatest teachers of empathy, dignity, courage and inclusion. As we search for a more just and joyful future, we are trusting our hopes to young inclusive leaders who see beyond division and fear and show us how to heal and unite,’’ said Dr Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics.
’I am deeply grateful that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed has made an extraordinary commitment to our athletes and their Unified partners in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. His vision and generosity will empower young people around the world to break down barriers caused by injustice and intolerance, end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities and establish inclusive cultures where every human being is respected, valued and welcomed,'' Dr Shriver added.
I am deeply grateful that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed has made an extraordinary commitment to our athletes and their Unified partners in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. His vision and generosity will empower young people around the world to break down barriers caused by injustice and intolerance...
In addition to Sheikh Mohammed’s grant, the UAE has committed to bringing UCS programming to all of the country’s public schools in the coming years, making the UAE the world’s only country to make such a commitment. The accelerated growth of this grassroots initiative within the UAE and around the world will further establish the legacy of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, the first Special Olympics World Games hosted in the Middle East and North Africa region, and have a lasting, positive impact on UAE society.
“The UAE and Special Olympics have a shared vision of a world without discrimination against people of determination. Hosting the World Games in Abu Dhabi last year reinforced our commitment to build a society where people of all culture and abilities are welcomed and celebrated. The advancement of the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools initiative will spread the values of tolerance and inclusion in educational systems around the world,” said Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the UAE to the US.