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A group of people pose for a photo during a Youth Leadership Summit
Since 2001, our Youth Leadership Summits have brought young people with and without intellectual disabilities together to develop the tools they need to become leaders for change in their communities. These summits take place at the global, Regional, national, and local-school levels, creating a worldwide network of young people committed to a more inclusive future.

Every 2 years, young people from around the world come together for the Global Youth Leadership Summit, alongside Special Olympics World Games.

Our Summits

Voices from the Global Youth Leadership Summit

Over 1,500 young people answered the "Call to Connect" at the 2022 Virtual Global Youth Leadership Summit. Watch the video to hear Youth Leaders around the world share their stories of inclusion.
Photo of two people laughing sitting and talking

Lead to Include—Regional Youth Leadership Summits

Over the past year, more than 250 Youth Leaders with and without intellectual disabilities gathered at 6 Regional Youth Summits to build a more inclusive world—starting in their own communities.
Screen shot of participants on virtual video conference

Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Hosts First Online Youth Summit

On 22 and 25 June 2020, over 70, adult mentors, National Directors and international Special Olympics staff gathered for the first-ever Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Online Youth Summit.

2001 Global Youth Leadership Summit in Alaska

The first Global Youth Leadership Summit took place in 2001. 32 Youth Leaders from 10 Special Olympics Programs participated.

Youth for Inclusion 2019 in Singapore

About 100 young people with and without intellectual disabilities from 14 Asian countries gathered in Singaporeto co-design strategies and solutions using technology for a more inclusive world.
Athletes and representatives together in a group in front of a Unified Champions Schools and World Games 2019 logo backdrop.

2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi

The last in-person Global Youth Leadership Summit took place in 2019 in Abu Dhabi. 162 Youth Leaders from 40 Special Olympics Programs attended the summit.

2020 Special Olympics Latin America Regional Youth Summit in Guatemala

The goal of the summitwas to promote inclusive youth leadership and encourage the participation of young leaders with and without intellectual disability in the decision making on the 2030 development agenda.

2020 Special Olympics Africa Regional Summit in Kenya

Special Olympics Africa's first Regional Summitgathered 48 Youth Leaders with and without intellectual disabilities from 12 countries.
A photo of a young woman, Grace Payne.
As young people, we are being called to connect. Answer the call by listening and communicating with people who inspire you to be a better you, and promote inclusion in your own community.
Grace Payne | Special Olympics New Zealand | Global Youth Leadership Summit | Lane Award in Global Inclusive Youth Leadership Recipient

Upcoming Global Events

Following the success of the 2022 Special Olympics Virtual Global Youth Leadership Summit, "Called to Connect," we will bring Youth Leaders together during Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 with the call to activate. For the first time since the 2019 Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, Youth Leaders around the world will gather in person to develop leadership skills and promote inclusion.


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