UAE embassy hosts iftar honouring Special Olympics athletes

WASHINGTON, DC: Diplomats from the UAE hosted an iftar at the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC for local Special Olympic athletes and their families.

Many of the athletes in attendance will travel to Abu Dhabi in March 2019 to compete in the World Games.


The programme featured remarks by Mary Davis, Special Olympics International CEO; Frank Stephens, global messenger of Special Olympics Virginia; and Dana Al Marashi, head of Heritage and Social Affairs at the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC. The speakers underscored the important role that sports play to enhance mutual understanding, acceptance, and collaboration.

In her remarks, Al Marashi said, “Through sports, people from different cultures and nationalities find common ground and celebrate their diversity. These are the same values that the UAE embodies every single day.”

Davis reinforced this message and highlighted the significance of the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

“Special Olympics is proud to partner with the UAE for the upcoming Special Olympics World Games to be held in Abu Dhabi in March next year,” said Davis. “Uniting together with our friends in the UAE Embassy in Washington DC for iftar during Ramadan is a beautiful message of inclusion, a message that will be demonstrated in the UAE next year during the World Games.”

Commenting on the event, Yousuf Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States of America, said, “The UAE is thrilled to support the Special Olympics, and honour this important movement, which is dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion and human dignity for all people.”

Attendees participated in the traditional ending of the fast and learnt more about the values that are cherished and shared during the month of Ramadan.

The UAE will be the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to host the Special Olympics World Games, which will be the world’s largest humanitarian and sporting event of 2019. Seven thousand athletes from more than 170 countries will compete in 24 sports at the World Games Abu Dhabi.

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