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Special Olympics’s leadership work drives personal and cultural change. First, we build leadership skills in athletes, so they have the opportunity to become leaders within the movement, their communities, and ultimately, teachers of inclusion. Then, through the Unified Leadership approach, athletes educate people without disabilities to improve their behaviors and practices creating more inclusive environments for all.

Athlete Leadership

Athlete Leadership creates opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to develop and demonstrate their abilities in leadership roles.

Unified Leadership

Building from sport, Unified Leadership teaches leaders of all abilities to value and learn from each other, and create environments where people with ID succeed in meaningful roles.

Leadership Academy

The Special Olympics Leadership Academy, established in 2014, is an award-winning program dedicated to developing inclusive and future-ready leaders of the Special Olympics Movement.

Global Athlete Congress

The Global Athlete Congress (GAC) is a platform where Special Olympics athletes lead the way to a more inclusive world. It’s a space where athlete leaders from all 7 Special Olympics Regions further develop their leadership skills, so they can take on leadership roles in Special Olympics, their communities, and their workplace.


Loretta Claiborne at TEDxMidAtlantic

"I figured if my story could change a person's mind about another person, or especially a child's mind about another child, then it was the right thing to do."

Haseeb Abbasi at TEDxLahore

Determined to fight for others, Haseeb is actively helping to change the perceptions and mindsets of society so everybody can follow their dreams.

Frank Stephens Challenges Showtime

The Special Olympics athlete speaks up for people with Down syndrome following an offensive comedy special.