Shriver stated that the UNESCO chair will be at the forefront of supporting inclusivity.
“The partnership between Special Olympics and the UNESCO Chair at IT Tralee gives us the opportunity to join our efforts to build a world that accepts and provides for diversity as a norm,” he said. “Our chair in Tralee, together with Special Olympics International and all other partners of the chair, is at the forefront of supporting inclusive access to health and wellbeing, communities, education, economy, and society aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.”
IT Tralee President Oliver Murphy, Ph.D., commented on Shriver's visit saying, “Dr. Shriver has demonstrated a wealth of knowledge and experience in the role, cultivating global partnerships to achieve social change and working for the full and effective inclusion of persons with disabilities in physical education, sport, fitness, and recreation, without discrimination.”
IHRSA's International Public Policy Advisor Kilian Fisher attended the inaugural address and said this event was important because "this will lead to more people of all abilities all across the world engaging in more physical activity and helping to address the growing physical inactivity pandemic and help lead to better health for all."
Fisher said his main takeaways from Shriver’s inspiring address were:
- We can achieve anything with the right motivation and passion. This was his first and most significant lesson from listening to Shriver talk. Shriver spoke about his mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and showed photos while sharing stories about the start of the Special Olympics movement 50 years ago, which was prompted by his Aunt Rose who had an intellectual disability.
- More can be achieved through true partnership and collaboration. We must get out of our "silos."
- The power of people. It is about people, not organizations. With the right leaders at the helm, we can form lifelong friendships at events like this, and much more can be achieved.
In addition to Shriver, Catherine Carty (UNESCO Chair Manager), Magnus Magnusson (UNESCO Director of Partnerships and Outreach), and Minister Brendan Griffin, TD (Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport) spoke about the vast and critical need for better collaboration and the great examples seen by the partnerships instigated by the UNESCO Chair.