First-ever Special Olympics athlete-led panel convened at United Nations

A group of athletes close together posing with thumbs up and the peace sign; athletes are wearing red and white Adidas football uniforms.

On Monday, June 10th, Special Olympics International, in partnership with the United Nations (UN) Division for Inclusive Social Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations hosted a panel discussion at the United Nations in conjunction with the 12th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Meet the six Special Olympics athlete leaders (pictured below) from Zimbabwe, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Florida, Missouri and California who led a panel discussion promoting the need for inclusive policies and programs for people with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations gave opening remarks, with Mr. Dustin Plunkett, Special Olympics Athlete and Manager of Outreach and Athlete Leadership, Special Olympics Southern California moderating the panel.

“There are approximately two hundred million people with ID in the world who consistently face exclusion, for the very first time, people with ID truly have a seat at the table to help influence inclusive actions and policies. I hope attendees walk away from this panel and think about how they can be more inclusive in their governments and in their countries. We all must choose inclusion and create a more inclusive world for everyone.”
Mr. Dustin Plunkett, Athlete, Special Olympics Southern California

View the full press release of the event.

The Revolution is Inclusion: Sport as a Catalyst for Social Inclusion

COSP12 Side Event10 Jun 2019 - Side event at the 12th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Read the full description. View the event flyer.

Speaker Biographies
Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations
Athlete, Special Olympics Southern California
Athlete, Special Olympics Zimbabwe
Special Olympics Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger
Athlete, Special Olympics Brazil
Special Olympics Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger
Athlete, Special Olympics Florida
Athlete, Special Olympics United Arab Emirates
Athlete, Special Olympics Missouri
As we move forward, we need to know you’re with us. Be a revolutionary and help end discrimination against people with Intellectual Disabilities.