Special Olympics Global Youth Leadership Forum to Help Advance Inclusive World
More than 300 youth and adult leaders from approximately 30 countries will gather in Baku, Azerbaijan for an inclusive Global Youth Leadership Forum, 24–28 September, 2018. One of the flagship events to mark the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics, the forum will usher in a new era of youth-led social impact projects under the Special Olympics banner worldwide.
A combined 22 person delegation from the Programs in Special Olympics Africa Region will attend, including youth, athlete leaders and Unified partners such as:
Kiswendsida Kafando & Kouka Rouamba, Special Olympics Burkina Faso
Simon Ndaiga & Mohamed Mumin Mohamed, Special Olympics Kenya
Leo Peter Kanzungguze, Special Olympics Malawi
Sinalo Mkrozwana & Waki Mbutha, Special Olympics South Africa
Anniah Masenda & Leo Valarie Takunda, Special Olympics Zimbabwe
International leaders with & without intellectual disabilities promoting inclusion
The Forum will see these young leaders, joined by an additional 100 adult leaders, from around the world develop group projects to create more inclusive communities in their home countries. The youth leaders will develop projects in Baku to be implemented in their home countries in the months after the Forum.
These projects will be supported through grants from Special Olympics International. The five-day Forum is being supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan as well as Lions Clubs International, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and others.
“These young people represent the next generation of leaders, the Unified Generation, who are determined to deliver on the promise of inclusion — for the 200 million people in the world with intellectual disabilities and for everyone. In Baku, they will create the seeds of an inclusive world through their various projects, and when they return home, they will sow those seeds of inclusion throughout the world,” said Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics International.
Forum attendees will be joined and supported by adult leaders from their Special Olympics accredited programs, schools, sports clubs, and local communities. Representatives from business, government, service organisations, and international development, along with a number of high-profile sports stars committed to the Special Olympics movement, will also play a crucial part at the Forum and work to inspire the youth leaders.
One of the key objectives of the Special Olympics movement over the next 50 years will be the promotion of youth engagement through worldwide school-based initiatives — known as the Unified Schools program — and the development of the Unified Generation, in which young people with and without intellectual disability come together through inclusive sport and leadership.