• HH Sheikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan witnessed the MoU signing between Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017
  • The MoU states that Austria’s local organizing committee will partner with the Abu Dhabi 2019 local organizing committee to share knowledge and best practices ahead of the World Games 2019
  • Abu Dhabi is set to be the first Middle East host of the flagship global sports and humanitarian event in 2019

UAE, Abu Dhabi, 16 October 2017: His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and H.E. Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Regional Minister for Economy, Tourism, Europe, Science and Research, Austria, attended the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two local organizing committees for Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017, today. The event was held at ADNOC headquarters, and attended by HE Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State in the United Arab Emirates, the Director-General and CEO of ADNOC, the first company to commit its sponsorship to the Special Olympics World Games 2019 and HE Jaber Mohamad Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court.

His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and Jurgen Winter, Chairman of Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017, put pen to paper and signed the agreement ensuring both countries will work together to advance the emotional and social impact of the games, thus continuing to create a more inclusive environment for all.

The signing of the MOU, witnessed by key dignitaries and board members from Abu Dhabi, Austria and the Special Olympics Committee, further reinforces the key beliefs of the Special Olympics and sees Austria, host of the Special Olympics World Winter Games, pledge to work with the Abu Dhabi 2019 local organizing committee to share knowledge and best practices.

His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “The global partnership between the UAE committee organizing the Special Olympics World Games 2019 in Abu Dhabi and the Austrian Committee from the World Special Olympics Winter Games Austria 2017 reflects the noble foundations of the UAE and the nation’s open-heartedness towards the world by hosting the first Special Olympics games in the Middle East.”

His Highness also confirmed that the great support and attention for the development in the UAE across all sectors offered by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler Emirate of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is a reflection the UAE’s position as a global leader and its pioneering role in planning and vision utilizing existing advancements and expertise, preparing for an outstanding experience at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, which will welcome 7,000 athletes from 170 countries in one of the largest sport and humanitarian events hosted for the first time in the Middle East.

His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, said: "The Special Olympics World Winter Games held in the State of Styria was a huge success. It is wonderful to sit down with Governor Schützenhöfer, Jurgen Winter and Markus Pichler, the CEO of Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 and hear their stories from the Games. We are incredibly grateful for the local organizing committee’s support and look forward to soaking up their knowledge and working together to put on the most unified Games in history."

HH Sheikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, HE Dr. Sultan Al Jaber and HE Mohamed Abdulla Al Junaibi all attended the closing ceremony of the Special Olympics Winter Games in Austria earlier this year, and participated in the official handover of the Special Olympics flag to the UAE capital.

H.E. Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Regional Minister for Economy, Tourism, Europe, Science and Research, Austria, said: "It is a great honor to be here in Abu Dhabi today to meet with the Special Olympics local organizing committee and hear their plans for the Games in 2019. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding shows the cooperation between Austria and Abu Dhabi and reinforces one of the key messages of the Special Olympics Committee – working together to create a more inclusive environment for all."

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About the 2019 Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi (AD2019)
The 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, scheduled for March 14-21, will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world, with 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing more than 170 countries. The World Games will be an unprecedented display of the spirit, joy, courage and skill that are hallmarks of the Special Olympics movement. The largest single event ever held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the first Special Olympics World Games in the Middle East, the World Games features 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports in venues throughout Abu Dhabi. The spectacular Opening Ceremony on March 14 is expected to attract 45,000 spectators while being viewed by millions worldwide via global broadcast partners ESPN and Abu Dhabi Media.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the 2019 World Games will be the most unified Special Olympics competition in history, with inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of the event. The Games are the most visible component of a planned series of initiatives by Abu Dhabi and the UAE to expand opportunity for people with disabilities, and to promote inclusion and understanding throughout the emirate, nation, and region. Plans for operation of the World Games include leaving a legacy of improved health, education, and inclusion that will benefit the UAE long after the event is over.