From March 14-21, 2019, over 7,000 Special Olympics athletes representing over 170 countries from around the world will participate in the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
Abu Dhabi has been at the forefront of the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in a region, the Middle East, which has lagged behind in comparison to other areas of the world.
For more than 20 years, the UAE has put social inclusion at the forefront of its national priorities. It is an integral part of the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda. We continue to develop policies aimed at improving the quality of life of people with special needs. We continue to foster collaborations between various governmental and non-governmental partners to increase public awareness around the cause.
By hosting the 2019 Special Olympics World Games, we are demonstrating that we have moved up to the next level. We are ready to show the entire Middle East and North Africa region, a population of over 350 million people, that we recognize it is time that our natural inclination to accept and value all who live here should be cultivated, formalized, and expanded to ensure inclusiveness for the future.
The World Games have provided us with a strong platform for effecting dramatic, necessary change.
Our commitment: We will take full advantage of the opportunities these Games will provide, opportunities to promote inclusion, educate our people and institutions about the value of people with ID in our communities; formalize our laws and programs to ensure a future that promotes and supports a better life for them and their families; and, perhaps most significantly, serve as a beacon of hope, joy, and tolerance that will inspire our neighbors to follow our lead.