ABU DHABI, 25th January, 2017 (WAM) — Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council, FNC, has received Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International, and the accompanying delegation at the FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

During the meeting, Al Qubaisi and the Special Olympics officials discussed ways and mechanism to enhance mutual co-operation in various fields in order to support people with special needs. This comes in the wake of Abu Dhabi being slated as the first city in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to host the World Games Special Olympics 2019.

The meeting was also attended Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics International, Matthew Williams, Member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics International, and Egyptian Actor Hussein Fahmi.

Dr. Al Qubaisi welcomed the agreement that will enable the hosting of the Special Olympics International 2019 in Abu Dhabi. The deal reflects the increasing international status enjoyed by the UAE and the confidence of the international community in its ability to host major international events, given its state-of-the-art infrastructure.

She noted that the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and his blessing of the agreement to host the next Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi “embodies and reflects the UAE’s inherent approach to individuals with special needs. This message was felt during the signing of the agreement.”

The FNC Speaker expressed her confidence in the success of this global sporting assembly in the UAE, noting that special needs athletes have been honouring the UAE in all sporting events by winning titles and achieving their goals.

She also lauded the UAE leadership’s vision that earned the country significant international status for hosting global events, especially the hosting of the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi.

Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Shriver said, “Abu Dhabi is the perfect choice in this region in terms of location and availability of cadres to organise such sporting events, which can help transform people’s life by spreading joy and happiness.”

He stressed the importance of the parliaments’ role in supporting people with special needs, citing the co-operation between parliaments and the Special Olympics in enacting laws and regulations that preserve the rights of individuals with disability.

Shriver said the choice of Abu Dhabi to host the World Games Special Olympics 2019 was the right decision as individuals with disabilities tops the priority list of the UAE.

He said that the modern infrastructure of Abu Dhabi and its long experience in hosting some of the world’s biggest sporting events would make the occasion a historic event by all standards.