January 30, 2013

CGDC President Participates in Groundbreaking Special Olympics Global Development Summit

On January 30 Special Olympics and the Special Olympics World Winter Games Organizing Committee PyeongChang 2013 co-hosted an innovative Global Development Summit to address the underlying discrimination, ignorance, and apathy that keeps people with intellectual disabilities from becoming fully productive members of their communities. The Summit was held under the motto: “Ending the Cycle of Poverty and Exclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities”. More 300 of the world’s most influential leaders, including CGDC President Petar Stoyanov, convened to acknowledge their commitment to strengthen inclusive development strategies, promote human rights and support people with intellectual disabilities in the fight to make their own choices.

During the Summit, some of the most influential decision-makers in business, economic and social development, politics, media, and civil society deliberated on a full spectrum of solutions and collaborative approaches reaffirming the power of the individual to change attitudes and the responsibility of government to enact policy. The participants issued a joint declaration with the core message to protect the rights of the intellectually disabled by giving them equal access to opportunities.

High-profile guests representing various sectors, such as Muhtar Kent – Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, Malawi President H.E. Joyce Banda and Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, participated in the social discourse and pledged to make “specific plans” to resolve issues.

Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi asserted the Special Olympics embody the “revolution of the spirit” and stated she was “humbled” by the committment of the thousands of athletes participating in the games. She emphasized how important it is that disabled people are allowed to be active in their communities, and that participation is key to ensuring human rights.

“Have we come here to repeat words that have been spoken before or have we come here because something has stirred within us asking how far we are really willing to go?”, Special Olympics International Chairman & CEO – Dr. Shriver, pointed out. “We have big ideas: equal access to healthcare and equal access to schooling. Is it shocking? These are not our ideal goals. It is our goal. Nothing less will do.”?

CGDC President H.E. Petar Stoyanov actively participated in a panel moderated by Professor William P. Alford, Chairman of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, together with Her Excellency Joyce Banda – President of the Republic of Malawi, Loretta Claiborne – Member of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors and Special Olympics Athlete, Mr. Chemin Rim – Minister of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea, and Dr. Timothy Shriver – Special Olympics Chairman and CEO. A solemn moment at the Summit was the overwhelming speech of Special Olympics marathon runner Loretta Claiborne. She urged those present to take the ideas discussed home and spread them to others.