Abu Dhabi, UAE, 24 January 2018: Today, the Higher Committee of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 announced a partnership agreement with the Abu Dhabi Youth Council (ADYC), during the National Youth Agenda which took place at the ADNOC building in Abu Dhabi.

The aim of the partnership is engage and empower young people to play an active role in the planning and delivery of Special Olympics IX MENA Games 2018 (14 – 21 March) and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Various initiatives will be rolled out ahead of and during the Games in order to promote unity and inclusion amongst young people with and without intellectual disabilities.

The Abu Dhabi Youth Council, which formed in 2016 in line with the National Youth Agenda, seeks to empower young people to play a leading role in the country’s economy by providing them with education and leadership opportunities. The National Youth Agenda is attended by several ministers and young leaders annually.

His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, commented: “We are proud to partner with the Abu Dhabi Youth Council, who are aligned with our mission of enriching the youth of the nation and empowering those with intellectual disabilities. We are dedicated to helping raise awareness about the importance of unity and inclusiveness with young people across the region, and this partnership will help us in bringing exciting initiatives suitable for all youth”.

Special Olympics IX MENA Games 2018 will take place from 14 - 21 March 2018 during which over 1,200 athletes of all abilities will visit Abu Dhabi to take part in the Games, the first major sporting event ahead of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Athletes will participate in 16 sports, which will be hosted in eight different venues including ADNEC, Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, NYUAD, Officer’s Club, Mubadala IPC Arena, Al Jazira Sports Club and Al Forsan Club.

Special Olympics IX MENA Games and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people of determination into everyday 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.

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About the 2019 Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi (AD2019)
Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, 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 and North Africa, 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.