UAE, 3rd November 2017: Staff and volunteers gathered at Special Olympics Abu Dhabi HQ to celebrate UAE Flag Day 2017, yesterday morning. The raising of the flag was especially meaningful for the team working on the upcoming Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 as Flag Day represents justice, tolerance, and determination – all of which are key themes for the Games.

Athletes and people of determination from the organization’s legacy partner, SEDRA Foundation, also attended the event. Mr. Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Board Member of the Higher Committee of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi, and Butti Al Sheezawi, a Special Olympics UAE athlete and Chair of Athlete Committee of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi helped raise the flag.

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The flag raising ceremony follows the launch of the Special Olympics volunteer program. Registration to volunteer for the Special Olympics IX Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Games 2018 and the Abu Dhabi World Games 2019 officially opened on Wednesday. A total of 23,000 volunteers are needed to cover both the MENA Games and the World Games. People from across the UAE will have the unprecedented opportunity to be a part of something truly extraordinary at Special Olympics as the Games come to the Middle East for the first time ever.

The MENA Games and World Games are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people with disabilities into society. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most ‘unified’ games in history and promise to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.

To register to volunteer, visit: http://www.abudhabi2019.org/volunteers

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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 8-22, 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 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.