KPMG renews commitment to Special Olympics in the region

12 May 2021 3 min. read

Building on a successful collaboration to establish the inaugural Special Olympics UAE in 2019, KPMG has signed on with the games’ organising bodies to support ongoing initiatives that promote inclusiveness and unity – in the UAE and the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Abu Dhabi hosted the Special Olympics World Games in 2019 – the first city in the Middle East to do so since the showcase for athletes with intellectual and physical disabilities was inaugurated in 1968. The 2019 games attracted over 7,500 athletes; 4,000 coaching and support staff; and 20,000 volunteers – proving to be a landmark event. 

Organising bodies Special Olympics UAE and Special Olympics MENA have since been using the momentum to champion the cause of inclusivity across the region. Back in 2019, KPMG Lower Gulf was named official supplier to the games – bringing pro-bono expertise and over 200 volunteers to the event. This partnership has now been extended to support ongoing inclusivity efforts. 

KPMG renews commitment to Special Olympics in the region

National director of Special Olympics UAE Talal Al Hashemi noted his organisation’s commitment to building value-driven collaborative relationships. “Experience shows that much can be gained from partnering with visionary and influential companies such as KPMG, and we are delighted to be collaborating with a business that wants to make a difference and accomplish shared goals.” 

And the values certainly align – as highlighted by KPMG Lower Gulf Chairman and CEO Nader Haffar. “At KPMG, we have a clear purpose – to inspire confidence and empower change. We believe in an inclusive world, no matter where an individual may work or live, and diversity is embraced.” 

A packed agenda

More than 300 KPMG professionals have been (and will be) deployed pro-bono for the expansive mandate of scaling myriad inclusivity initiatives. One is the MENA Regional Athlete Leadership Input Council (RALIC) – a forum for athletes with any form of disability to prove their leadership ability in all walks of life.

Then there is the Special Olympics Unified Robotics programme – a movement to bring neurodiverse students into the fore of much-in-demand science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. Focus areas include modern technology such as coding and robotics. KPMG has signed on as official sponsor to the programme – the largest of its kind in the Middle East. 

These initiatives add on to wider efforts to organise sporting facilities and events for those with special abilities. KPMG Lower Gulf will take on these multifaceted responsibilities via three task forces this year: one aimed at building engagement with the Unified Robotics programme across UAE schools; one to maximise value at RALIC’s virtual meetings; and one to measure the progress of specially abled athletes and their families – in collaboration with Special Olympics UAE. 

“ I strongly believe that with Special Olympics UAE being one of our active 22 programs in the region, and with the expertise of the passionate people at KPMG Lower Gulf, we will be able to impact the most critical, humanitarian mission of our time: inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities,” noted Special Olympics MENA president and managing director Ayman Abdel Wahab. 

KPMG head of clients & markets James Babb concluded that the partnership “exemplifies KPMG’s dedication to ensuring the inclusion of people of determination in sports and society, in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Ten: Reduced Inequalities.”