As the Paralympics get underway this week, it’s well worth your time to read the below opinion piece by Mr. Wilfried Lemke,  Special Adviser to the U.N. Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace.

I had the honor of meeting Mr. Lemke last summer in Athens, Greece during our Special Olympics World Summer Games, when he took part in a press conference we held on using sport as a vehicle for social change (read more about that event here).

Mr. Lemke shares inspiring sentiments about how sport can foster values of tolerance, respect, equality, inclusion and peace.

This week for the first time in 12 years, athletes with intellectual disabilities will be competing as part of the London 2012 Paralympics.  Some of these might be Special Olympics athletes, some may not.  Regardless, I look forward to reading about the multitude of inspiring stories of any and all of the more than 4000 athletes competing.  That is, if the media heeds the “awareness needed” advice of Mr. Lemke to realize that they too are stakeholders as agents of using sport for social change.

We need the support of the global press to help, as Mr. Lemke says “to change prevailing negative perceptions in society” – including those towards people with intellectual disabilities.

So kudos to all of the athletes competing in London this week and to all those journalists sharing their stories with the world.


Games? Much more than that
Wilfried Lemke

The London Games, as both the Olympic and paralympic events, show that diversity and difference are not a barrier to progress but can be a driver of it

During this break in the action between the closing of the Olympic Games and the opening of the Paralympic Games in London this Wednesday, we have a unique opportunity to consider how both events can improve people’s lives and impact the world…read more

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