Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012

Ahram Weekly

Host of hope

Al-Ahram Weekly

For the first time, the American University in Cairo (AUC) hosted the Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) Special Olympics Day. The event is in commemoration of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a leader in the global struggle to improve and enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
A group of 75 Special Olympics athletes arrived on campus and were escorted in a parade to Bartlett Plaza, where they performed a musical piece. The parade then moved to the AUC Sports Centre, where the guests played soccer, basketball and table tennis with the University sports teams. The event, which is a joint collaboration between AUC and Special Olympics Egypt, was followed by a reception during which AUC President Lisa Anderson distributed medals to the winning teams.
“Sports builds bridges of understanding and connects people,” said Mohamed Taher, director of athletics at AUC. “We want to encourage people with intellectual disabilities to become more socially engaged through playing sports and competing in matches. Through inclusive sports, people forget about their differences.”
The annual event is celebrated in different parts of the world, where Special Olympics athletes take part in sports activities focused on inclusion. The theme of this year’s celebration is Play Unified to Live Unified  
Established in 1968, Special Olympics is an international organisation that focuses on athletes with intellectual disabilities. The initiative started with the individual efforts of Shriver, who held summer camps for people with intellectual disabilities in her backyard in the 1960s, but the founder’s vision eventually grew to become the global Special Olympics. The organisation holds year-round sports training and competitions for both child and adult Special Olympics athletes. Local branches of the organisation work on the country level to implement its goals through bringing together volunteers and athletes.
“Today, on the third annual global Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day, our movement comes together on playing fields all around the world and we invite everyone to join in by playing unified,” Ayman Abdel-Wahab, SO Middle East and North Africa president and managing director, said. “Just as Eunice tackled injustice with sport, community and friendship, so too we are using these tools to spread a powerful message about the dignity that belongs to every person, regardless of her or his ability.
Amal Mobada, SO Egypt national director, thanked AUC Cairo for hosting such an event. “Special Olympics athletes have celebrated the day by competing in a number of sports which they enjoyed. Such events offer a golden opportunity for Special Olympics athletes to feel included in society and increases the awareness of people with mental disabilities.”

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