Beijing – 24 September 2011. Special Olympics today announced the appointment of Ms. Yang Lan, one of China's most prominent media entrepreneurs, talk show host and chairperson of Sun Culture Foundation, as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador. The celebration took place at Haidian Special School in Beijing on September 24 to mark the second annual global Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) Day in honor of the spirit and legacy of Special Olympics’ late founder.
“As a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics I will focus on two things,” said Yang Lan. “The first is to bring more support and encouragement to the millions of families in China and around the world who have family members with intellectual disabilities. The second is to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion in our society so people with disabilities will be more active and visible in Chinese society and around the world. This benefits and strengthens entire communities, not only those with intellectual disabilities,” she said.
Yang’s connection with Special Olympics began in 2006 when the city of Shanghai was preparing to host the 12th Special Olympics World Summer Games. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Mrs. Shriver and I was so touched by her genuine smile when I saw her with the Special Olympics athletes; it was very heartwarming,” said Yang. “I also hosted a forum for families from around the world where they shared their extraordinary stories of love, and the courage that these kids have as they are out there competing - and winning. My emotional connection with Special Olympics started then.”
Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, extended his warm congratulations and welcome to Yang Lan’s appointment. “There is no one I would feel more proud to entrust with this important task. As a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, we believe you can lead us in the 21st century, a century filled with expectations and opportunities, hope and potential. Yang Lan, we welcome you to this great Movement and look forward to working closely with you, and your foundation, to promote inclusion, joy and acceptance in China and around the world.”
Yang today also announced the launch of the Special Olympics Outstanding Volunteer Talent Plan, a new initiative that will see Yang’s Sun Culture Foundation partnering with Special Olympics to develop a culture and spirit of volunteerism among China’s young people. The program will recruit students from Chinese universities, offer them volunteer training and encourage them to volunteer for 50 hours or more each year for Special Olympics activities in their communities. Participating universities will oversee the volunteers and track their hours of service. One hundred outstanding volunteers will be chosen by Special Olympics East Asia (SOEA) and the Sun Culture Foundation to receive a scholarship of RMB 2000. The pilot phase of the initiative will begin in Beijing and will be extended to more Chinese cities in the future. Demonstrating early enthusiasm for the program, today’s event was attended by 70 students from five universities in Beijing including Tsinghua University, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing Sports University, Capital University of Physical Education and Sports and Beijing Union University.
Since its founding in 1968, Special Olympics has received the generous support of many outstanding leaders in the fields of sports, politics, entertainment, culture and business. Global Ambassadors from China include Ms. Yang Lan, basketball star Yao Ming and renowned actress Zhang Ziyi.