Ambassadors “pass the torch” as the Games go from Abu Dhabi to Berlin; highlight Special Olympics’ success to promote inclusion worldwide
Washington, D.C. (16 May 2023) – Highlighting the global impact of Special Olympics to promote inclusion and opportunity for people with intellectual disabilities, the ambassadors of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Federal Republic of Germany co-hosted an event in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the upcoming Special Olympics World Games, taking place in Berlin, Germany from 17-25 June.
The Berlin Games come four years after the most recent World Games, which were held in Abu Dhabi, UAE in 2019.
UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba reflected on the UAE’s long-standing partnership with Special Olympics. “Four years ago, we committed to make the Abu Dhabi Games the most inclusive event in the 50-year history of Special Olympics. Tonight, it is my honor to pass on the torch of the Special Olympics World Games to our German friends.
“Today, the UAE remains deeply committed to its partnership with Special Olympics and shares the organization’s passion for the inclusion and integration of people with intellectual disabilities around the globe, who we honor in the UAE as ‘people of determination.’”
In her remarks, German Ambassador Emily Haber said that Germany was looking forward to welcoming 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners from approximately 170 countries to compete in 24 sports. “It is an honor for us to host these incredible games and watch athletes from all over the world competing with each other for joy, success and for more social participation.”
Ambassador Haber also noted: “Germany’s connection with the Special Olympics has always had a strong German-American element. This is in part due to Berlin and Germany’s unique and powerful connection to John F. Kennedy, whose sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the Special Olympics.”
The program also featured remarks by Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chair of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics International.
Dr. Shriver stated: “We at Special Olympics are so incredibly excited for the upcoming Berlin Games. Using the Abu Dhabi World Games as our guidepost for success, Berlin is set to host the largest and most inclusive global sporting event in 2023, serving as a symbol of hope and promise for millions of people with intellectual disabilities around the globe.”
Also in attendance were more than two dozen ambassadors and other high-level diplomats, current and former US government officials, and representatives from the United Nations and the World Bank.