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Special Olympics Fourth Global Youth Summit To Be Held During World Summer Games in Shanghai

2007-06-19 10:18 999

Event promotes acceptance and understanding of people with intellectual disabilities among youth around the world, as participants pledge not to use the "R" word

WASHINGTON, June 19 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Special Olympics International today announced it will bring together 60 students from 16 countries to Shanghai, China, as part of a Global Youth Summit on intellectual disabilities, which will be held during the 2007 World Summer Games from 2-11 October 2007.

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Summit participants, ranging in age from 12 to 18, will pledge to work with their peers around the world to share the Special Olympics message of inclusion and acceptance. The summit includes young people both with and without intellectual disabilities who are friends and attend the same school or live in the same community, and the activities will include a televised forum and Webinars linking schools and youth programs internationally. During their time in Shanghai, the students will also write blogs, develop podcasts and write stories that will be published on Web sites and in hometown newspapers. They will also challenge their peers to volunteer and help raise funds for Special Olympics and pledge to stop using the "R word"-- retard -- in any context.

"Special Olympics provides one of the greatest platforms in the world for acceptance and inclusion, and the young people participating in the 2007 Youth Summit will play an important role as we work to eliminate stereotypes and change views about the capabilities and gifts of people with intellectual disabilities," said Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver. "

"This youth summit will give us the chance to change opinions about people with intellectual disabilities so that they will understand, support and accept them," said Asanda Stofile, a Special Olympics athlete from South Africa who will serve as a delegate to the Global Youth Summit. "When we participate in Special Olympics it proves that even though we are challenged, we can achieve our goals."

The 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games will bring together nearly 7,500 athletes from more than 160 countries to Shanghai to compete in 25 Olympic-type and demonstration sports in what will be the largest humanitarian and sports event this year.

Following the Youth Summit and leading up to the 2009 World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, the Shanghai summit participants will serve on the Special Olympics Global Youth Advisory Council, where they will recruit peers to join the Special Olympics movement; offer an ongoing youth perspective ensuring that movement messages and tactics are relevant to them; share information, ideas and motivation via Webcasts, e-mail, chat rooms, Web sites and blogs; and serve as Special Olympics "spokesteens."

For more information on the 2007 World Summer Games, including the Global Youth Summit, visit www.specialolympics.org.

Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition to 2.5 million adults and children with intellectual disabilities across 165 countries. The Special Olympics movement offers one of the world's greatest platforms for acceptance and inclusion for all people -- regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or cultural differences. Find out how you can become involved at http://www.specialolympics.org .

Source: Special Olympics International
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