To promote the social inclusion of people of determination

Memorandum of Understanding between Emirates Foundation and Special Olympics UAE

Ahmed Al Shamsi, CEO of Emirates Foundation, and Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, have signed a year-long Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote and organise a series of events across the UAE as part of Special Olympics UAE's Unified Champions Schools programme.

The MoU coincides with the finals of the UAE Special Olympics Unified Sports League at the 321st Sports Village on Hudayriyat Island.

The Unified Champions Schools Programme is an integrated initiative for schools from kindergarten to university, which aims to promote the social inclusion of students of determination and develop an open and accepting school environment, using three main elements: unified sports, inclusive youth leadership, and active participation within the school community. This strategy unites all students, whether people of determination or others, using sports to achieve social inclusion and bring about positive change in student behavior.

Emirates Foundation supports the Unified Champions Schools Programme as a leader in volunteerism and social impact in the UAE through a year-long interactive volunteering programme to support and facilitate the UAE-wide Unified Champions Schools programme, including Unified Sports and Unified Robotics.

Ahmed Al Shamsi, CEO of Emirates Foundation, said: "Emirates Foundation has always placed great emphasis on supporting Special Olympics activities since playing a pivotal role in the Special Olympics World Games in 2019. Activities to enhance the quality of life of people of determination are a top priority for the organization. We are delighted to be working with Special Olympics to establish an ongoing and sustainable partnership that will bring happiness and inclusion to school students across the country and engage the diverse talent of our volunteers in an important program that makes a positive difference in people's lives."

Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, said: "We are delighted to collaborate and partner with the Emirates Foundation and its positive role in supporting the Special Olympics programs and activities for the next phase, specifically the Unified Champions Schools Programme and its great importance in promoting community inclusion in an inclusive environment."

He added: "The partnership represents an important extension of the Special Olympics journey and its constant keenness to promote fruitful partnerships that are in the interest of our ambitious plans for social inclusion, harnessing all means for people of determination, promoting a positive pattern in behaviors and the quality of services provided to them through an integrated set of initiatives and working to employ sport as an active element in our strategy to create an active and influential environment in their lives."

Al Hashemi also expressed his pride in this distinguished partnership with the Emirates Foundation, which pays great attention and important support to Special Olympics programs, praising its sincere efforts and keenness to support the goals of Special Olympics UAE in the coming period.

As an initial kick-off to this partnership, 92 volunteers dedicated their time and talents to supporting the Unified Sports League finals from May 15 to 16, where 240 students from the Emirates Schools Establishment, People of Determination and others, met to compete for two days in futsal and badminton at Sports Village 321 in Abu Dhabi.