ABU DHABI, Guided by the vision of respect and compassion of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE's enduring commitment to inclusion has been recognised with the 2019 Chaillot Prize for this year's Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi.

The emirate successfully hosted the Middle East's first Special Olympics World Games during the 50th anniversary and showcased the UAE's support for people of determination.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed opened the World Games in Abu Dhabi and stated, "We sent a message to the world that nothing is impossible when there is determination. Only a strong will can make a difference. A very warm greeting to all the people of determination for their strong will and determination to climb to the top. I also greet the athletes on the playground today for their bravery in representing their countries and for being a source of inspiration to everyone."

The Chaillot Prize was launched in 2008 and honours the endeavour of civil society organisations and public or private institutions in promoting awareness of human rights and the rights of vulnerable groups throughout the GCC.

The Higher Committee for the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 were announced as joint winners by the Delegation of the European Union to the UAE, in cooperation with the Delegation of the EU in Riyadh, the Delegation of the EU in Kuwait, and the European External Action Service.

The prize, which takes its name from the Palais de Chaillot in Paris where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly, was also shared with the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children. This year marks the first time the prestigious recognition has been awarded to Emirati organisations.

The Higher Committee for the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 was recognised for successfully delivering a ground-breaking event that promoted a spirit of inclusion.

Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement that uses sport to help end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Some 7000-plus athletes from more than 192 countries participated in the week-long games.

The theme of the Special Olympics resonates strongly with the UAE's Year of Tolerance national campaign. Following the conclusion of the games, a series of inspiring social initiatives have been introduced to establish a lasting legacy that will benefit communities across the UAE, the region and beyond for years to come.

These include the establishment of Unified Champion Schools, a nationwide programme that pairs public school students with and without disabilities to take part in sports and other activities, and the launch of the UAE Mothers of Determination Association, which supports the needs of families of children with intellectual disabilities and helps them achieve their full potential through education and training.

Source: Emirates News Agency