US Ambassador visits Unified event in Serbia

Special Olympics Serbia welcomed US Ambassador Michael D. Kirby to a two-day seminar in Pancevo, Serbia

'Inclusion for All' Project

Mr. Vladimir Grbic (left), Olympic champion and friend of Special Olympics, talks to US Ambassador Michael D. Kirby (center). Photo courtesy of Special Olympics Serbia

Special Olympics Serbia welcomed US Ambassador Michael D. Kirby to a seminar in Pancevo that was organized as part of the “Inclusion for All” project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The two-day seminar consisting of theoretical and practical sessions was held on 23-24 February, 2013.

Ambassador Kirby attended the seminar’s Special Olympics Unified Sports® volleyball demonstration for youths with and without intellectual disabilities that was organized at local mainstream school on 23 February.

The Ambassador was joined by members of local government, Mr. Predrag Zovkovic, President of the City Assembly, and Mr. Aleksandar Farkas, Member of the City Assembly in Charge of Youth and Sports. During his remarks to participants, the Ambassador stressed that inclusion in sports is just as important as inclusion in schools, a primary goal of the “Inclusion for All” project that promotes equality for people with intellectual disabilities. He also praised the work of Special Olympics on the ground.  Another guest, Olympic volleyball champion and a friend of Special Olympics, Mr. Vladimir “Vanja” Grbic, came to support the players and give some much-valued tips.

Twenty-three participants took part in the seminar. Most were physical education teachers from mainstream schools. They were joined by family members, athletes, Special Olympics coaches and volunteers.
The 18-month “Inclusion for All” project being implemented in Serbia and Montenegro promotes democratic principles, gender equality and active citizenship which advance the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities.

Project activities include a series of seminars, such as the one in Pancevo, that give the local community an overview of the capacities of people with intellectual disabilities, particularly youth, while stimulating discussion on strategies to encourage their inclusion into society. In addition to the seminars, new youth Unified are being developed. The seminar was reported in local newspapers and on local television.