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Qatar and Global Disability Movement Shine at London Paralympics

From Ability Magazine

Mr. Hassan Ali Bin Ali discusses “One Billion Strong” with HRH Prince William and Dutchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

At the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, Hassan Ali Bin Ali, Chairman of Qatar’s state-of-the-art Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs, and a member of the Honorary Board of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), demonstrated momentous steps forward for the global disability movement by introducing London’s royalty to new organizations built to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

Ali Bin Ali’s own organization was established at the behest of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Bin Abdullah AL-Missned to provide comprehensive services and care to individuals with developmental learning challenges, their families and the community. It is the first facility of its kind in the Arab and Muslim world, offering the latest technologies, including an on-site Genetic Research Centre, cutting-edge therapies and some of the world’s finest faculty and counselors.

During this year’s Paralympic Games, the Shafallah Center Chairman unveiled a new global NGO aimed at implementing the rights of persons with disabilities to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, during an opening reception hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Ali Bin Ali also had the honor of presenting medals to numerous athletes during the Games. He presented medals for the men’s Cycling Individual event to Mark Lee Colbourne (Gold, Great Britain), Zhang Yu Li (Silver, China) and Rodrigo Fernando Lopez (Bronze, Argentina). For the women’s Swimming 100m Butterfly, he awarded medals to Sophie Pascoe (Gold, New Zealand), Oliwia Jablonska (Silver, Poland) and Elodie Lorandi (Bronze,France). As a member of the IPC Honorary Board, Ali Bin Ali serves as an ambassador for the global Paralympic Movement and helps spread the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

At a private reception in the President’s Lounge at Olympic Stadium, Mr. Ali Bin Ali discussed his new organization, “One Billion Strong” (OBS), with HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.  Ali Bin Ali said he was honored to meet with the Royal Family and was “thrilled that they showed deep interest in Qatar’s visionary work to improve the lives of persons with disabilities, both at home and worldwide.” OBS is a global initiative dedicated to disability awareness, rights and education, and serves to promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


The organization’s name is based on the World Health Organization’s 2011 report that estimates that there are now over one billion persons with disabilities in the world. OBS has launched several innovation projects recently, including an airport accessibility study at the Paralympic Games that involves filming athletes as they arrive and depart from airports in their home countries and at London Heathrow airport in order to assess their airport transportation experience. The footage will be used to develop an educational video that will help raise awareness and disseminate information about best practices.


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