KPMG Lower Gulf CEO Meets Special Olympics MENA Athlete Leader

KPMG Lower Gulf CEO Meets Special Olympics MENA Athlete Leader

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 15 December, 2021: Marking the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, KPMG Lower Gulf, Special Olympics MENA and Special Olympics UAE came together for a conversation about inclusive leadership. Nader Haffar, Chairman of KPMG MESA, and Chairman & CEO KPMG of Lower Gulf, and Omar al Shami, Vice President of Regional Athlete Leadership Input Council, a star swimmer of Special Olympics UAE, had an insightful discussion about inclusive leadership.

Omar is an athlete leader and a person with Down Syndrome. The purpose of Special Olympics Athlete Leaders is to empower athletes to develop leadership skills, and utilize their voices and abilities to take on meaningful leadership roles and influence change. Being a leader transforms a Special Olympics athlete from someone receiving guidance and support to someone providing it.

During his conversation with Omar Al Shami, Nader shared, “We dream of a future where everyone feels included, and diversity is embraced, because a future of inclusion is a better future for all. Inclusion is not a destination: it is a journey. We embarked on this journey some years ago, and we realized that this needed even greater focus and implementation. We are determined to meet our inclusion goals and have hence put our most senior management in charge of driving our inclusion and diversity agenda. We will continue to exert every effort in achieving our ambitions for inclusion and diversity. I hope that in our small way, we at KPMG are also making a difference. We are working with Special Olympics on three separate initiatives—with Unified Robotics, the Regional Athlete Leadership Input Council and in creating an impact report about inclusive education.”

Athlete leader Omar added, “When we talk about inclusion in a society, we are referring to including everyone and understanding that each one of us is different, which allows us to bring different and unique ideas to the table and contribute to the nation in our own way.” He shared his top three tips for leaders to include athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities in all areas.

KPMG Lower Gulf remains dedicated to inclusion and diversity. Its HR function has put together an agenda for hiring persons with disabilities, and is in the process of identifying candidates. As part of KPMG’s collaboration with Special Olympics, it is working to onboard interns, who could be evaluated for permanent roles.

Regional leaders would be well advised to make an effort to include people of determination at their companies. The partnership between KPMG Lower Gulf, Special Olympics MENA and Special Olympics UAE is paving the way for driving a powerful inclusion revolution.

About Special Olympics UAE:

In October 2017, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced Special Olympics UAE as an independent organization dedicated to changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Her Highness Sheikha Maryam Bint Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was appointed as the Honorary President, and Her Excellency Shamma Bint Suhail Al Mazroui as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. 

The organization aims to empower people with intellectual disabilities through sports, while providing them with leadership opportunities to help them display their talents and integrate them into society.

Special Olympics UAE has launched a variety of community programs, including those focused on families and young athletes. It has also introduced several initiatives to empower people with intellectual disabilities to create a more inclusive society.

The Special Olympics of the UAE received international recognition from the International Special Olympics Foundation-USA in December 2017. 

About KPMG Lower Gulf

KPMG is a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. KPMG is the brand under which the member firms of KPMG International Limited (“KPMG International”) operate and provide professional services. “KPMG” is used to refer to individual member firms within the KPMG organization or to one or more member firms collectively.

KPMG firms operate in 145 countries and territories with more than 236,000 partners and employees working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. Each KPMG member firm is responsible for its own obligations and liabilities.

KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

For more detail about our structure please visit:

About Special Olympics Middle East/North Africa: Special Olympics Middle/East North Africa is one of the 7 regional offices of Special Olympics International. Since 1999, Special Olympics MENA has been a pioneer in leading the way to integrate athletes with intellectual disabilities in the community through inclusion and the power of sports. The region includes 22 Special Olympics programs that provide year-round sports, training, competition, health, education, STEM, and various powerful non-sports programs to people with and without intellectual disabilities to unify the community.

About Special Olympics:

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