At EF Education First, bringing people together across cultures and breaking down barriers isn’t just our 9-to-5; it’s something we strive for all day, every day in our community and beyond.
Our vision for a better, more inclusive world has led us to some interesting places—from the banks of the Charles River to rural villages in Nepal, and now to what will be the world’s largest humanitarian sporting event in 2019: the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.
We’re teaming up with the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 as an official supplier and the exclusive training provider for the 20,000 volunteers who will dedicate their time and efforts during the Games. Starting in January, Special Olympics volunteers from around the world will log on to a first-of-its-kind digital training platform designed by EF. There they can learn about the history and mission of the Special Olympics, their individual roles, and how to maintain a safe environment for every athlete and guest. Interactive quizzes, activities and videos keep the experience engaging and fun. Everyone who volunteers is required to complete the training, and those who do will be certified by EF, ensuring these World Games go off without a hitch.
“EF champions the values of inclusion and acceptance, which are also at the heart of the Special Olympics,” said Philip Hult, EF Chairman, in a recent announcement to the press. “We deeply believe in the transformative power and joy of sports, and we are excited to help celebrate the athletic achievements of individuals with intellectual disabilities.”
Established in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics unites people with intellectual disabilities to compete in global sporting events that foster personal growth, equality, respect and acceptance. When the organization announced it would be taking its 2019 World Games to the Middle East for the very first time, EF wanted to help. As the official language training supplier and education sponsor for several Olympic and Paralympic Games, EFers have experience developing large-scale volunteer training for global events. We’re excited to bring that experience to the Special Olympics World Games 2019, slated to welcome thousands of athletes from more than 190 nations to Abu Dhabi and Dubai from March 14–21.
As all of us at EF prepare to cheer on the 2019 athletes, here are a few things to learn (and love) about the upcoming Games:
Words we can get behind. We love the Special Olympics motto: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
This is big. It’s slated to be the world’s largest humanitarian and multisport event in 2019, with an estimated 7,500 athletes, 3,000 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.
Better together. The Games feature a mix of traditional sports and what are called “Unified Sports,” which join people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Abu Dhabi organizers are promising that 2019 will be the most unified Special Olympics World Games in history.
More representation. Eleven new sub-Saharan African nations signed on for the upcoming Games. Special Olympics programs have recently launched in Burundi, Cape Verde, Congo (Brazzaville), Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Chad and South Sudan.