A lecture was organised by the Chairman of the Special Olympics, Dr. Timothy P Shriver entitled "The School of Hearts: Sports and Group Work and the Power of Compassion," on 23rd January.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended the lecture, which commenced with a film showing the types of sports that saw the participation of special needs athletes and highlighted participation from Emirati athletes in different sporting events.
Dr. Shriver expressed his admiration for the city of Abu Dhabi, which will host the next Special Olympics in 2019.
He presented facts about the Special Olympics and its role as an international sporting event that helped to unleash special human capabilities. He also stressed the role sports can play in transforming the lives, as well as its ability to rehabilitate people with special needs.
He pointed out that in the current age, the level of openness to cultural, religious and political differences can strengthen communication and co-operation while building bridges between nations and individuals. For half a century, the Special Olympics has been working for a more open and fair world by ending discrimination through social awareness about people with special needs and their role in sports, he added.
Dr. Shriver also has raised questions on how to create more inclusion for people with special needs. This can happen by focusing on their capabilities and by celebrating and sharing their joy and happiness. The inclusion of global leaders and officials in events such as the Special Olympics can also help to spread compassion.
The lecture was also attended by Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Qaiwain; Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council, FNC; Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region; Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Sheikh Omar bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, ZHO; Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation; Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, as well as a number of ministers and sporting officials.