On the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York City, Special Olympics hosted its Global Health Leadership Summit to highlight the urgent need for inclusive health programming in support of individuals with intellectual disabilities. In partnership with the Golisano Foundation, the Special Olympics Global Health Leadership Summit brought together leaders from government, global philanthropy, civil society, the private sector, academia, and more to mobilize increased action in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and relevant international treaties. The Special Olympics Global Health Leadership Summit featured key speakers and calls to action, including from the Director – General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, US Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, IFRC President Francesco Rocca, Chairman of Special Olympics Lion Dr. Timothy Shriver, and leading Special Olympics Athlete Ambassadors from around the world. Special Olympics was honored to welcome Past International President Al Brandel, Lion Dr. Murphy, Lion Natalie Brain and esteemed Lions from the state of New York to the Summit, representing a long-standing shared commitment to inclusive development through service in over 100 nations worldwide.
The Summit also highlighted leading national organizations that are pioneering innovative models that advance inclusive health services for this marginalized population. The General Incorporated Association of Japan Lions were chief among the awardees, represented by Chairperson Hideyuki Muraki and Director Koji Tsurushima. Special Olympics remains honored to have had the chance to highlight the national partnership shared between Special Olympics Nippon and the Japan Lions as one of the most effective models to integrate inclusive health practice in civil society programming. In addition, Lion Dr. Adib Jaber from Lebanon was also awarded with a global distinction as a result of decades of leadership and service to the Special Olympics- Lions Clubs International Foundation Opening Eyes program across Lebanon and the world.
The Special Olympics- Lions Clubs International Foundation “Mission: Inclusion” platform offers a holistic inclusion through service platform that empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities to achieve their best, both on and off the field of play, through the direct support and engagement of Lions Clubs and Leo volunteers worldwide. Through the implementation of vision care screenings, inclusive sports, family health education, refugee support, early childhood development and more, the “Mission: Inclusion” platform shared with the Lions Clubs International Foundation represents one of the most transformative and formidable models of change in the history of the Special Olympics movement- and in the history of programming in support of individuals with intellectual disabilities.