French schools and community gather at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi to meet and support the Special Olympics French athletes

4 March, 2019

More than 200 school pupils from all six French schools in the UAE will gather at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi next Sunday, to meet and show their support to the 85 athletes of the French delegation participating in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. The event will include on-campus sporting activities and conferences, as well as a pep talk by French Ambassador, H.E. Ludovic Pouille.

Organized by the French Embassy in the United Arab Emirates and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, with the support of seven French companies based in the UAE (Accor, AXA, J-C. Decaux, Schneider Electric, Société Générale, TOTAL) and the Special Olympics local organization committee, this event will be a unique opportunity for students of all ages to meet with the French athletes as well as their coaches. More than 500 people are expected to attend the event.

The event is part of the « Adopt a nation » program put in place by the Special Olympics local organization committee, an initiative designed for the young public to engage with the athletes and aiming to promote a shared culture of tolerance, diversity and inclusion.

On this occasion, H.E. Ludovic Pouille made the following statement: « By hosting and brilliantly organizing the Special Olympics World Games, the United Arab Emirates are taking a strong stance in favor of a more inclusive society. The fight against inequality is a key focus of France’s G7 presidency. We are determined to work with our Emirati partners to defend a fairer society, open to all talents. I am delighted to take part in this rally where the French athletes and the pupils from our six French schools in the UAE can meet. I believe that such initiatives can help us change the way we live and interact with people of determination ».

Prof. Eric Fouache, Executive Director at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi said : “On occasion of the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, we are proud at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi to host the French athletes participating in the Special Olympics. This is a unique opportunity for our students to take part of an active morning with the athletes. Our university is keen on providing all students equally with the best education regardless of their disabilities. The life on campus encourages altruism, tolerance, friendship and respect. We are pleased to welcome the “Adopt a Nation” programme that reflects the values of our university and the UAE”..

During the Special Olympics World Games, the athletes of the French delegation will compete in 10 different sports (athletics, swimming, handball, basketball, football, bowling, judo, table-tennis, gymnastique artistique, tennis) and will receive the special support of the French swimming world-champion Alain Bernard.