Special Olympics World Games – A Legacy of Inclusion
In March 2019, the UAE will host the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. 7,500 athletes from 176 countries will compete at the event, and half a million spectators are expected to attend. It will be the largest humanitarian and sporting event of 2019 and the first Special Olympics World Games ever held in the Middle East and North Africa.
Through sports, Special Olympics brings fulfillment and joy to athletes’ lives and expands society’s understanding of human talents and potential. The UAE shares Special Olympics’ mission of promoting inclusion and respect for those with intellectual disabilities – now known officially in the UAE as People of Determination.
This historic 2019 World Games will have a lasting impact on the lives of People of Determination in the UAE and throughout the Middle East. The UAE has already unveiled several policies in conjunction with Special Olympics to accelerate inclusion in education and healthcare, and raise awareness of disabilities. And by demonstrating the value of social inclusion and providing a winning model in the UAE, Special Olympics has the potential to instigate change in countries across the region.