The Embassy of the UAE Honors Athletes Participating in Special Olympics

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba of the United Arab Emirates along with his wife, Abeer, recently expressed congratulations to the Special Olympics organization. It celebrated its 50th birthday on July 10, 2018. For five decades, Special Olympians have engaged in competitive sports events. The organization provides opportunities for developmentally disabled athletes to receive public recognition and acclaim.

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba observed the organization reached a historic marker on July 10th. He praised the Special Olympics for promoting a more inclusive and tolerant environment in the field of sports. He also expressed pride in the UAE’s role in hosting the next annual Special Olympic World Games. The international gathering will occur in Abu Dhabi during 2019.

Hosting The 2019 Special Olympics World Games
The UAE holds the honor of becoming the very first nation in the region to provide a venue for world level Special Olympics competitions. Some 170 different nations will send representatives to compete in 24 separate athletic events during the 2019 Special Olympic World Games. Organizers anticipate the participation of approximately 7,000 young athletes.

Dana Al Marashi of the UAE Embassy’s Heritage and Social Affairs section noted that the United Arab Emirates currently serves as a residence for people drawn from over 200 nations. She explained the UAE shares the value of cultural diversity with the United States. The 2019 Special Olympics World Games will provide a forum for athletes from many different places around the world to meet and form ties of friendship and mutual respect.

A Smithsonian Exhibit
Between July 10, 2018, and June 2019, the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. will display an exhibit celebrating the past five decades of the history of the Special Olympics. Entitled “Special Olympics at 50” it endeavors to educate the public about stigma encountered by developmentally disabled people during 1960. It traces the histories of four talented athletes who have competed in Special Olympics events in the past.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver helped found the Special Olympics organization in 1960 as a way of promoting greater inclusion in society for people with intellectual disabilities. Today her son, Dr. Tim Shriver, serves as Chairman of the Special Olympics. He joined several other speakers in opening the new Smithsonian exhibit at the Museum of American History on Washington D.C. recently.