Special Olympics Boosts US-China Public Diplomacy

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July 17, 2014

The launch of Special Olympics Project UNIFY ® in China will support people-to-people exchanges as was announced by the US State Department at 5th Round of the US−China Consultation on People to People Exchange.

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Press Release

Washington, D.C. – US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel announced the launch of Special Olympics’ Project UNIFY ® in China to support exchanges in Special Olympics programming between US and Chinese schools and universities. Stengel made the announcement on 10 July at the 5th Round of the US− China High Level Consultation on People to People Exchange (CPE) in Beijing, with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong in attendance. 

Special Olympics Project UNIFY® is an education and sports based strategy powered by an engaged youth community that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics East Asia Regional President and Managing Director Mary Gu and Special Olympics Hong Kong athlete Sam Tam, who addressed the audience in Chinese and English, attended the meetings. Representatives from the US National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball also participated.

US First Lady Michelle Obama sent a letter of greeting to those attending the CPE that singled out Special Olympics, as well as the US Olympic Committee and the US Paralympic Committee, for continuing “to forge relationships with their Chinese counterparts to promote access to every level of sport for all people.”

Ms. Gu explained that in 2015, the US and China will establish a youth exchange though Project UNIFY® that will involve one Chinese high school and one Chinese university with two US schools. Special Olympics Project UNIFY® is an education and sports based strategy powered by an engaged youth community that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating communities of acceptance for all.

Special Olympics Board Chairman Tim Shriver said “That Project UNIFY is one of the deliverables announced at the CPE demonstrates the important contribution that Special Olympics makes to expanding and strengthening relationships and understanding between the people and government of the US and citizens of the rest of the world.”

Janet Froetscher, CEO of Special Olympics said “Special Olympics has a unique power to bring people together regardless of their differences. So we are delighted to use this power to enrich public diplomacy and people-to-people exchanges between two nations that between them are home to almost two million Special Olympics athletes.”

Stengel leads America's public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs, and US Government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism.


About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 33 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics®, The Coca-Cola Company, Lions Clubs International, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: , fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq,

instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.

About Project UNIFY®

Special Olympics Project UNIFY® is an education and sports based strategy powered by an engaged youth community that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating communities of acceptance for all. Project UNIFY is currently offered in 3,000 schools across 44 states in the US. As many as 1.7 million young people are experiencing Project UNIFY. Learn more about Project UNIFY.

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