Press Release: Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs Committee-World Games SPECIAL OLYMPICS – ATHENS 2011

YPOURGEION NATIONAL EDUCATION

AND RELIGIOUS

PRESS RELEASE

Athens, November 10, 2008

Statement by the Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs Mr. E. Stylianidis and President of World Summer Games Organizing Committee SPECIAL OLYMPICS – ATHENS 2011 by Gianna Despotopoulou after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation

E. STYLIANIDIS: I would like first of all to welcome the Greek leaders and the entire Organizing Committee of the International World Games SPECIAL OLYMPICS – ATHENS 2011.

As you know our country, after the successful Olympic Games in 2004, ran and managed to secure the Athens organizing the Special Olympics in 2011, which I think is a continuation of the systematic effort made by the Greek state to highlight the Olympic ideals in all aspects.

The Special Olympics I think that gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of Greek society on the issue of mental disability while and send the correct message value to the international community.

The Ministry of National Education and Religious practice demonstrating the sensitivity of the Greek State and the Greek government, and promoting the anthropocentric nature of Greek education system, a few months ago, as you know, took the initiative to promote a bill for special education and training, which is now law of the state.

According to this law are equal opportunities for education and work for all children, whatever form of disability. We do not promote the categorical model, but in the Greek education promote the Accession model. We build on each new child in its real potential, treating it as a child is gifted by nature, despite the limitations it may have, which is a simply a natural extension of himself.

All our care is to integrate the general education system and make sure to do it.

Where this is not possible by the nature of limitations, shall maintain in practice all the necessary opportunities to enable the rest of his life to serve as an active member of an open and modern society.

The opportunity given to us through the organization of Special Olympics in Athens is to go through this human sensitivity and this modern philosophy, the whole of Greek society, but also to send out a message to the international community together with the Organizing Committees the Greek and international, which over the years have been dedicated to this project.

So, today signing a framework agreement between the Ministry of Education, through the Secretariat for Youth, and the Organizing Committee “Athens 2011”, which we take as a player and physically injunction as an auxiliary mechanism for major projectsthe organization of Special Olympics in Athens in 2011.

The goal raised through the contents of this agreement is to attract young athletes and volunteers in this effort to offer the camp of St. Andrew for hosting the athletes and also through the General Secretariat for Youth, in collaboration with the OrganizingCommission to help in the design of thematic content of the Global Youth Summit in our country.

The Local Youth Councils, namely the elected bodies of the Greek youth in almost all bodies of local government in our country is already active on this issue through the “City Amphitryon, a hospitality program for young children, who come from other countries, and voluntary participation in organizing and supporting events.

We believe that through these initiatives encourage participation and enhance the view of social awareness, promote feelings of humanity, which govern the Greeks, the Greek society, especially the new generation of Greek and sending the appropriate messages and Olympic values to the international community.

We are on your side with all the machinery of the Ministry of Education and of course with the General Secretariat for Youth, the new generation will be the big star of this effort to contribute to the impeccable organization of competitions, which would create a precedent as positive by was created and the Olympic Games in 2004.

Thank you for the proposed collaboration and are committed to give our best.

Despotopoulou: Sir, we have to thank you for encouraging us to what you said today. To thank the Deputy Ministers, Mr. Lykourentzos, Mr. Taliadouros and 2 Secretaries-General have already begun to “run” program. Before you sign the memorandum we have already accomplished great – too many things.

Mr Platis, Mr Sklias sincerely thank you very much. And also to thank all your colleagues who are always on our side.

Almost caught up with everything. Our people, the Games are a completely different philosophy from the Olympics. We do not seek the world record. We are seeking a record in other areas.

We are seeking a record field of awareness, seek records to change the culture and characters of people seeking records to create an environment worthy of human dignity, where everyone will live together, respecting the diversity of each.

To pass, but all these changes could only be used by the Ministry of Education and schools, because changing the culture can only occur if young children learn and learn to live with what you say different.

Then we can say that we have achieved our goal, when these children are now in high school and high school in 2011 come join us and become volunteers in Special Olympics Games dragging and adults to declare their intention to offer these their voluntary services.

The Local Youth Councils Mr Sklias already up in arms and we do not know what to respond to requests. Local councils wanting to accommodate athletes in the cities where they operate.

This for us is very important and one of the priorities the president position of Special Olympics International Dr. Timothy Shriver, who arrives tomorrow morning and starts his official visit with a visit to the President of the Republic and then will have the pleasure to meet you and other members of the government.

Mr. Shriver and his mother Eunice Kennedy, sister of John Kennedy, founder of Special Olympics, emphasizing the involvement of youth all over this creation. Why, what is the point we make facilities for children with special needs and be their own and other facilities for children are those alone?

We want to put them to coexist, if not always in the same classroom, in adjacent rooms, but at the break, children can be found and fighting and playing together.

Sir, thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts because this program with the Ministry of Education should be to change attitudes and can bring change not only our country but also in many countries.

E. STYLIANIDIS: I thank you and I want to stress that it is now with us and the Special Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, which will contribute substantially to introduce such subjects in schools.

Furthermore, I want to say that Greece is the first country in the EU, which government spending bought and distributed 4000 computers for special children with autism, mental disabilities, etc., which distributes home children and educate parents and children, so that disabled children do not cut off from the main educational system.

Despotopoulou: Congratulations, what else can we say.

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