Special Olympics UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai signed a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage participation in sports among People of Determination with intellectual or developmental disabilities by facilitating the use of the Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub at Expo 2020.
Through this partnership, People of Determination will be able to experience the 5,400 SQM space with a wide range of sports activities such as, guided bicycle tours to take them across 192 country pavilions, a global fitness stage offering a range of instructor led classes, a multi-purpose sports court and a gym and fitness studio. Also, a Special Olympics UAE Unified Arts project called ‘Flowers of Hope,’ the first public artwork crafted in direct collaboration with artists who are People of Determination in the region, will go on display at the Opportunity Pavilion from December till March 31, 2022.
Flowers of Hope is made up of seven flowers representing the seven Emirates. The flowers are created from decorated palm fronds that 58 artists and their families painted and are held in place by metal bases, crafted by renowned Emirati artist and designer Azza Al Quabiasi.
The signing ceremony took place at the Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub. The agreement was signed by Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE and Mohammed Alhashmi, Chief Technology Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai. Four Special Olympics UAE Athletes were also in attendance.
“Expo 2020 Dubai has positioned itself as the most inclusive expo in history and today we are reminded of why it is delivering on this promise. Expo 2020 Dubai is quickly becoming a global platform to operationalize inclusion, in sports and in life and to make sure that People of Determination are empowered as we connect minds and create the future. We are delighted with this partnership which will bring to life unified sports events concepts that serve our respective objectives.”
Mohammed Alhashmi, Chief Technology Officer at Expo 2020 Dubai commented, “From the outset of our planning for Expo 2020 Dubai we were determined that our event could be accessed by anyone who wished to come and take part in the making of a new world. Today marks another milestone in this commitment to that inclusivity and our belief in sport as a uniting force. We have already welcomed more than 3.5 million people in our first two months; with today’s announcement we hope to encourage many more members of our wonderfully diverse community to come and experience Expo 2020.”
Special Olympics UAE will work alongside Expo 2020 Dubai to develop a calendar with different activities and training programs for children and adults of all abilities. The agreement between Special Olympics UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai will support the physical and emotional wellbeing of People of Determination, contribute to their social integration, development of communication and teamwork skills and building their confidence.