Video Contest Letter June 09


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First contest letter to universities.

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Video Contest Letter June 09

  1. 1. June 4, 2009 Dear Professor: Special Olympics is a movement of hope, empowerment, and change. For 40 years, we have provided year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Throughout this time, we have also transformed communities by inspiring people throughout the world to open their minds, accept and include people with intellectual disabilities and thereby celebrate the similarities common to all people. While we have grown substantially to serve 3.1 million athletes in 180 countries, we still have much growth to accomplish in order to reach all 193 million people worldwide with intellectual disability. Traditionally, Special Olympics communications efforts have focused on event promotion and messaging surrounding its sport competitions. Recently, we have strategically shifted our communications efforts and capabilities to not only enhance the marketability of Special Olympics events but also capitalize on the greater meaning of the entire Special Olympics experience. Such a communications strategy has inspired key stakeholders and important prospects to perceive the organization as an important and joyful movement for people with intellectual disabilities, and as an urgently needed, life-changing movement for the broader world. In 2006, Special Olympics launched an initiative to involve University Schools of Communications and Journalism to support its awareness building efforts. The primary involvement by these schools has been to help Special Olympics tell the stories of its participants in a compelling way. Profiles of the athletes have been written as well as communicated visually by students studying broadcast journalism and photo journalism. These stories have been posted on our website as well as used by media outlets and as part of our organization's year-round communications efforts. In addition, The University of Miami, University of North Carolina, Fudan University, Boise State University and several other Journalism Schools have also supported a very ambitious initiative, Capture Every Moment Webcast. Through this initiative, 7,000 video clips were produced featuring athletes from 164 countries who competed in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai as well as more than 7,000 video clips from the recent 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho. Please see and For the more than 400 students both of these experiences were truly life changing for each student who participated. Most importantly, for the first time ever, families and friends of every Special Olympics athlete, no matter where they lived, could share in their athlete's moment of joy and achievement. To build upon its recent success, Special Olympics hopes to involve many more Schools of Communications and Journalism worldwide to form a global network, the Global Communications Corps. The involvement of the Universities will greatly help Special Olympics in 1133 19th Street, NW / Washington, DC 20036 USA / (202) 628-3630 /
  2. 2. building its capacity to share the transformative power of Special Olympics with a much broader audience while providing a unique and meaningful learning experience for each and every student. As a global organization, Special Olympics offers a wealth of unique and remarkable stories of perseverance, dedication and challenges overcome. Operating in 180 countries, it offers athletes a diverse range of competitive opportunities through 25 Olympic-type sports. Today, there are more than 3 million athletes involved in Special Olympics, which translates into thousands of wonderful stories that could be told. Stories that will inspire all who view them. With the continued development of digital media, there is a wonderful opportunity to share these stories… stories of acceptance, tolerance, unity, courage, inspiration, and joy. The involvement of students within Schools of Communications would greatly benefit Special Olympics in this global effort. In collaboration with the University of Miami School of Communication’s Knight Center of International Media, Special Olympics is announcing a video competition for the fall of 2009. The competition is open to students from Journalism and Communications Schools around the world and will feature competition in the following categories: athlete vignette; public service announcement; and music video. All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of internationally acclaimed film directors, entertainment executives and advertising agency executives. If you are interested in participating, please respond to me at We will provide ongoing information to you in follow-up emails. Should you have any questions please contact me at or Professor Rich Beckman at We look forward to your school and students joining Special Olympics and telling our powerful stories of acceptance, empowerment, dignity, unity, courage, strength, confidence, respect and fun to the world. Thank you in advance for your support and interest in Special Olympics. Sincerely, Peter Wheeler Chief Communications Officer Special Olympics International 1133 19th Street, NW / Washington, DC 20036 USA / (202) 628-3630 /