• Attended by Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Special Olympics UAE, 99 Unified Champion Schools were honored yesterday by Special Olympics UAE in a celebration held at New York University Abu Dhabi
• The ceremony was held alongside a global event titled ‘Towards a Globally Unified Education System’ that is taking place in Abu Dhabi from January 21-28 and organized by the Special Olympics International Global Center for Inclusion in Education.
• International participants will make interactive visits to UCS schools across the UAE to learn more about the level of response to the Unified Champions Schools program and the challenges facing its implementation
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 26, 2023
Special Olympics UAE organized a recognition ceremony to celebrate 99 Unified Champions Schools. The ceremony took place at New York University Abu Dhabi and was attended by Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Special Olympics UAE, Special Olympics UAE’s leadership and representatives of the UCS schools who showcased the inclusive initiatives they had undertaken to promote inclusion. The wider event, organized by the Special Olympics International Global Center for Inclusion in Education, saw participation from 17 countries.
Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Special Olympics UAE, said about the event: 'We are inspired by today’s event, organized by the Global Center for Inclusion in Education, which supports inclusion in school communities on a global scale. Inclusion not only enhances the academic experience of students of determination and their united partners, but also promotes a culture of diversity and acceptance of differences, which has always been a feature of Emirati society. The event will help in spreading the successful Emirati experience with inclusion in education globally, especially that the Special Olympics International Global Center for Inclusion in Education is headquartered in Abu Dhabi,”
Her Excellency added: “Today, we honor 99 schools for their outstanding efforts in creating inclusive school environments. We appreciate our teachers, administrators, unified partners, parents, and caregivers, for their dedication and collaboration with the Special Olympics UAE to help them empower People of Determination, which has propelled the UAE to a leadership position in inclusion in education. It is great that we are hosting international participants from 17 countries to the UAE.”
Unified Schools of Champions: Change starts at schools
The Unified Champions Schools program is one of the largest and most successful Special Olympics UAE’s initiatives, which aims to achieve inclusion in education and increase the participation of People of Determination with their Unified Partners in schools. The program was launched in 2019 with a focus on consolidating the achievements and legacy of the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, which was hosted for the first time in the region.
The program strives to achieve inclusion in society as a whole and not only within schools. To achieve this goal, the Unified Champions Schools Program provides comprehensive training and development resources for teachers and school administrators to enable them to successfully organize unified sports activities. During the last academic year, 255 schools achieved the Unified School status, and the number of active participants in UCS across the UAE surpassed 400 schools and 20,000 students.
The Unified Champions Schools program has three main pillars: Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and the Whole School Engagement. A school must demonstrate its success in creating an inclusive school environment, by leveraging these three pillars, in order to achieve the Unified Champions School’s status.