POSTED: Tuesday January 29th 2013

Global Leaders Convene in PyeongChang, Korea Participate in Groundbreaking Special Olympics Global Development Summit

PyeongChang, Republic of Korea - 30 January 2012 - World leaders from government, business, education, economic and social development, media and civil society convened in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea at the Special Olympics Global Development Summit on Ending the Cycle of Poverty and Exclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities. This Summit, the first of its kind focusing solely on people with intellectual disabilities, examined the urgent needs of the largest disability population throughout the world and takes place as part of the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event, Special Olympics World Winter Games PyeongChang 2013, and was co-hosted by Special Olympics and the Special Olympics World Winter Games Organizing Committee PyeongChang 2013.

High level participants of the Global Development Summit included:

·      Aung San Suu Kyi, MP—Chairperson, National League for Democracy, Burma (Myanmar)
·      The Most Honorable Kim Hwang-sik, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea
·      Her Excellency Joyce Banda, President of Malawi
·      Congresswoman Na Kyung Won, Chairperson, 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, Games Organizing Committee
·      Mr. Song Sang-Hyun, President, International Criminal Court
·      Senator and Vice Minister Jan McLucas, Government of Australia
·      The Honorable Wilfried Lemke, Special Envoy, the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace
·      Mr. Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company
·      Mr. Michael Elliott, President and CEO, ONE
·      Mrs. Cherie Blair, Founder, The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
·      Mr. Yao Ming, Chairman of the Shanghai Sharks Basketball Club and Founder, Yao Foundation
·      Mr. Dikembe Mutumbo, Founder, Dikembe Mutombo Foundation Inc.
·      Mrs. Cindy Hensley McCain, Chair, Hensley & Co. and Humanitarian

The Summit on Ending the Cycle of Poverty and Exclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities discussed the obstacles faced by people with intellectual disabilities. In every community around the world, people with intellectual disabilities and their families face stigma and stereotype that results in low expectations for what they can accomplish and apathy and ignorance that limits their access to health care, education, housing, and employment. They also experience a lack of protection under the law that denies them their humanity, robs them of their dignity, subjects them to poverty and abuse, and threatens their freedom to participate as full and equal members of society.

“People with intellectual differences cannot boast a great success story around the world. Most live in poverty, are denied education and are unemployed. Most are lonely and shunned. If they were a nation, they would be 200 million people and the world's poorest.” said Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics.  “Their revolution still awaits and the leaders who are here today have agreed to help lead this revolution.”

From 29 January to 5 February 2013, the Republic of Korea welcomes more than 2,300 Special Olympics athletes from more than 110 nations to compete in seven Olympic-type winter sports as part of the Special Olympics World Winter Games.  Every two years, thousands of Special Olympics athletes worldwide come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics in alternating World Summer and World Winter Games.  The first Special Olympics World Games took place in 1968 and since then have evolved into a world-class sporting event, attracting a wide range of sponsors, supporters and media. Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities and are a capstone to more than 50,000 competitions that happen at all levels of Special Olympics each year. Special Olympics sports training and competitions, supported by a number of non-sports activities, help to change attitudes and break down barriers that exclude people with intellectual disability from the mainstream of the community.

Photos from the Summit will available at:

More information can be found at and

About Special Olympics:
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to 4 million athletes in 170 countries worldwide, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and related programs. Special Olympics takes place daily, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics;;, and
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Name: Mandy Murphy
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