Youth Leadership Summits

Special Olympics Youth Leadership Summits bring together Youth Leaders with and without intellectual disabilities (ID) at the global, Regional, National and school-level. Through workshops and training, young people are given the tools and skills necessary to be leaders in their communities.

Global Impact

The Special Olympics Global Youth Leadership Summit is the highest profile youth engagement event in the Special Olympics movement. Occurring every two years alongside the Special Olympics World Games, the Global Youth Summit convenes Youth Leaders with and without intellectual disabilities from all seven of the Special Olympics Regions. These Youth Leaders – on behalf of millions of young Special Olympics participants worldwide – come together during the Summit to represent the youth voice in the ongoing movement for inclusion, engage in cross-cultural exchange and receive leadership training.

Following the Summit, the Youth Leaders return to their home countries and deploy their training by leading both structured youth-led projects to increase inclusion and structured training opportunities to develop other Youth Leaders for inclusion in their communities. Through these youth-led projects and trainings, the seeds planted at the Global Youth Summit will begin to grow as systemic change, a global Unified Generation bringing an end to discrimination by building bridges to inclusion around the world.

More than 150 youth and adult leaders with and without intellectual disabilities from over 35 countries came together in Abu Dhabi during World Games to share and develop their ideas for a more inclusive world.

The Special Olympics Global Youth Leadership Summit, held 14-18 March 2019, convened Youth Leaders from accross the world to share best practices, and develop plans to implement the inclusive vision of Special Olympics in their home communities around the world. Read more here.

From Global to Local Impact

As part of a 5-year Global Youth Leadership Project, a 'cascade' series of Special Olympics Youth Leadership Summits has been created. Beginning with the 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit, youth will be trained not only as youth leaders but as trainers of other youth leaders. These youth trained at a global level will train a cadre of Regional leaders, who will in turn train a cadre of national and local leaders. Through this system, quality youth leadership techniques will distribute to scale throughout the global Special Olympics movement, creating the human infrastructure needed to drive the global
movement for inclusion forward in the next 50 years. This worldwide network of youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities will be change makers within their schools and, with ongoing engagement, lifelong agents for inclusion

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