Leading for Inclusion: Ioana, Lavinia, Anda

The following post was written by Ioana, Lavinia, and Anda, 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit Participants from Romania. Check out their experience at the Summit, and how they plan to#innovateforinclusion in their community!

This is how our story begins: Together for a Better Future. This was also the title of our project, in which we addressed the problems that people with intellectual disabilities in Romania face. We believe the key for a better future is the unification and inclusion of all. By participating at the Global Youth Leadership Summit, we wanted to learn more about how to lead through inclusion and bring the information we learned back to Romania. We will use the knowledge we gained at the Summit to spread the mission of Special Olympics and lead the Unified Generation.

The Summit was a great event that brought people together from all around the world. This event trained youth to become the best leaders they could be to lead the Unified Generation. During the Summit, we had the chance to meet a lot of amazing, influential people from around the world. We listened to their stories and about the importance of inclusion in Unified Sports for people with and without intellectual disabilities.

We also had the opportunity to meet and listen to Timothy Shriver, who is a great inspiration for us as youth leaders. There were other great presenters, including Iptihaj Muhammad and Stephanie McMahon. They made us believe that we could achieve anything. Another great thing that happened at the Summit was making new friends from around the world. Even though it has been one month since we returned home, we still keep in touch and speak with the other participants almost daily.

Overall, we had an amazing experience at the Global Youth Leadership Summit. We learned so many new things from our fellow youth leaders and mentors in Abu Dhabi.

The most important thing that we learned is that Unified Sports is the answer for making inclusion possible. Through Unified Sports events, we can bring people with and without intellectual disabilities together and help fight for the same goal: inclusion. The power of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi was an inspiration for all. The Games proved that people with intellectual disabilities can conquer the world and can make any dream a reality.

We want to thank the Special Olympics staff for their hard work and dedication. We really appreciate the experience of being in Abu Dhabi during the Summit. We know the memories we made there will last forever.

The 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit was supported through partnerships with The Lane Family, Kantar, the Lions Clubs International Foundation, The Samuel Family Foundation, and the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education. Learn more about the other participants of the Global Youth Leadership Summit atsogyls2019ad.org/participants.

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