FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lois Herrmann
INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISTS FROM 14 COUNTRIES
Special Olympics and USIA Establish New Journalist Program
The 14 participating journalists, representatives of established media outlets, come from Chile, Croatia, Brazil, Estonia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, the Palestinian Authority, Russia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe -- countries where information about mental retardation is not widespread.
In many of these countries, persons with mental retardation are still institutionalized and not integrated into everyday society with access to employment and service opportunities. USIA Associate Director Dr. William Bader said: "We hope that coverage of the Special Olympics movement and World Games by their own reporters will help build a foundation in these countries for the expansion of opportunities for persons with mental retardation."
The Program is part of a USIA $l.25 million grant to Special Olympics Inc. Approximately two-thirds of the grant will support foreign and domestic media coverage of the '99 Games this summer. The remainder will support the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Anchorage, Alaska.
"USIA's support is integral to demonstrating to the media and general public the abilities of Special Olympics athletes participating in this summer's World Games," said Joe Freddoso, CEO of the '99 Games. "Special Olympics is one of the fastest-growing movements in the world with more than one million participating worldwide. However, it is estimated that only a fraction of people with mental retardation participate in Special Olympics worldwide."
More than 7,000 athletes with mental retardation from 150 countries will compete in the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The '99 Games will celebrate the Special Olympics' 30-year tradition of providing athletes with mental retardation a high-profile international platform to showcase their abilities and accomplishments. The next Special Olympics World Summer Games, in 2003, will take place in Dublin, Ireland, the first venue outside the United States.
The journalists covering the 1999 World Summer Games through the USIA program:
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