CULTURAL OLYMPIAD WILL BLEND SPORT, CULTURE AND EDUCATION AT SPECIAL OLYMPICS WORLD GAMES ABU DHABI 2019

UAE, 9 March 2019: A variety of entertaining and educational activities and events promoting an inclusive society will be a part of the Cultural Olympiad that will take place alongside Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 this March.

Hosted by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), the Cultural Olympiad is a significant addition to the World Games and features a series of non-sporting events aimed at creating long-term positive change for People of Determination within the community. The events will educate spectators on the key values of the Special Olympics movement and encourage interaction and engagement with athletes with the aim of changing perceptions.

Tala Al Ramahi, Chief Strategy Officer of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, says: “Our hope is that the World Games will start a mass movement and accelerate social change across the UAE and beyond. The Cultural Olympiad has been carefully curated to create a series of events that not only entertains, but also engages and educates the thousands of people in attendance, and in turn leaves a legacy long after the Closing Ceremony of the Games.”

A Global Youth Leadership Summit, Inclusive Art Exhibition, Unified Sports® zones and a Special Olympics Festival will form part of the Cultural Olympiad – ensuring that the thousands of athletes coaches, families and spectators are not short of activities to participate in alongside watching the sporting competitions.

Special Olympics Festival

Special Olympics Festival areas will be located at three of the Games’ main venues and will play host to a series of activations, games, arts and crafts activities and much more.

The Special Olympics Festival will be held across ADNEC, Zayed Sports City and Hamdan Sports Complex. Activations at the Festival will include a virtual reality digital zone with CreatorUp, kinetic energy-powered games with the Department of Energy, the opportunity to purchase Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 merchandise from noon, monopoly games with Aldar Properties, and trampolining sessions with Bounce.

A number of F&B partners, including Coca Cola, Inner Seed and LuLu Supermarket will also have a presence at the festival.

For people traveling from afar for the Games, Etihad Airways will be on site to help with phone-related queries and Nirvana Travel & Tourism will provide visitors with the opportunity to book tours and safaris.

Inclusive Art Exhibition  

The Inclusive Art Exhibition will be open for visitors and will take place from 16 - 28 March. Seven inspiring and eye-catching paintings, which have been painted by recognized artists, in collaboration with People of Determination, will be on display.

Play and Live Unified

From 15 – 20 March, Play and Live Unified Zones will be located throughout several Games venues.  Dedicated Play and Live Unified fields of play featuring 7-a-side football clinics will take place on competition days along with friendly matches with athletes, honoured guests, VIPs and sponsors.  

As part of the Cultural Olympiad, there will also be 16 Unified Sports experiences across five Games venues in Abu Dhabi (the full schedule can be found below), this will include matches, races, tournaments and team competitions. A series of community events, demonstrations and clinics will also take place across Abu Dhabi.

Play and Live Unified will break down societal barriers and encourage people with and without intellectual disabilities to play team sports together in a friendly environment. The LOC has held many successful Unified events in the build-up to the Games, including the hugely popular Walk Unified. The Cultural Olympiad will allow regional and international athletes and spectators to enjoy the experience.

Mother of the Nation Festival

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will also coincide with Mother of the Nation Festival from 12 – 23 March. Now in its fourth edition, the Festival celebrates the UAE’s growth as a progressive and forward-thinking nation with deep rooted values and traditions. At the Festival, the athletes, coaches, families and visitors can join the UAE community and take part in a series of diverse activities. Alongside the entertainment, people will also have the chance to watch the athletes receive their medals during many award ceremonies that will take place.

Global Youth Leadership Summit

As part of the Cultural Olympiad, a Global Youth Leadership Summit will be held from 14 – 18 March. The summit will see over 150 youth leaders from 37 countries come together to learn, share best practices and develop plans to implement the inclusive vision of Special Olympics in their home communities across the globe.

Stand up for Inclusion Concert

For music fans, Abu Dhabi Festival, in partnership with Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi and Special Arts Festival Korea, will host a unique concert at Emirates Palace Auditorium on Saturday 16 March, featuring a wide and eclectic selection of performances from the worlds of classical and pop music. A specially selected group of Korean musicians and singers with intellectual disabilities will be joined by Grammy Award-winning soprano, Sumi Jo, for a 90-minute concert that will be free for anyone to attend. In line with Abu Dhabi Festival’s chosen theme for this year – the Culture of Determination – this concert will deliver a message of joy and hope for everyone, in an unmistakable spirit of inclusion.

Sharan Sunner