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The logo for the Special Olympics Global Center for Inclusion in Education is shown on a green background, next to a photo of a group of schoolchildren.
The Global Center for Inclusion in Education serves as a hub for global thought leadership for inclusive education through research, policy, and programming. Its mission is dedicated to the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in academic, sport, social, and community activities.

Our Work

His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan smiles with a group a young children
About the Global Center
Founded in 2019, the Global Center exists thanks to the vision and generosity of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Global Center is located in Abu Dhabi, UAE in the international finance center, the Abu Dhabi Global Market.
Student athletes in Bharat (India) run along the edge of a playing field
Unified Champion Schools
In 2019, the UAE became the first country to commit to bringing the Unified Champion Schools® (UCS) model to all government schools. His Highness also committed to supporting the Center in bringing the UCS model to a growing number of schools in Argentina, Bharat (India), Egypt, Pakistan, Romania, and Rwanda.

Each of these 6 Special Olympics Programs is working to become a Regional Hub of Excellence by 2023. At that point, each will be responsible for supporting the expansion of UCS programming within their Region. This status is achieved when a Program significantly expands partnerships, reach, capacity, and involvement of local educators and youth. The expansion Programs include Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay, Botswana, and Poland.
The opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi in 2019
Special Olympics World Games
In 2019, under His Highness' leadership, Abu Dhabi hosted the largest Special Olympics World Games in history. Over 7,000 athletes from 200 nations competed in 24 sports. In Abu Dhabi, what had once been a dream became a reality. His Highness declared that people with intellectual disabilities should be seen and valued for who they are—People of Determination—and, to that end, he offered to support the establishment of the Global Center.
Photo showing three people at a convening for the Global Center for Inclusion in Education
Research
Research is essential to learn how to foster inclusive mindsets and behaviors, and unlock the formula for spreading inclusion. Our research partnerships deepen our knowledge of the barriers and bridges to inclusion through evaluation of inclusive sport, education, and youth development programming worldwide.
The Global Center publishes research and policy briefs that illuminate our work on inclusion in education, along with case studies showcasing the exemplary work of Special Olympics staff, coaches, volunteers, athletes, and youth.

Stories From Our Schools

100 schools in Romania come together to spread awareness about Down Syndrome and intellectual disabilities.
3 Min Read
A team of Special Olympics athletes in Argentina are the leaders of a new digital magazine.
2 Min Read
A youth leader in Lebanon shares how a lifelong involvement with Special Olympics shaped her life and why she wants youth of all abilities to participate in inclusive activities.
3 Min Read
Recent Briefs and Case Studies
The Global Center for Inclusion in Education publishes research and policy briefs that illuminate our work on inclusion in education, along with case studies showcasing the exemplary work of Special Olympics staff, coaches, volunteers, athletes, and youth.

Meet the Research Collaborative Steering Committee

Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development, Director of EASEL Lab, Harvard University
Assistant Professor of Psychology, NYU Abu Dhabi
Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, NYU Steinhardt
Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disabilities, Ulster University

Partnerships for Inclusion

Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy logo

Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy
Middle East Institute logo

Middle East Institute

NYU Abu Dhabi