• Middle School/Grades 6-8
  • High School/Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult

Special Olympics Youth Leadership programming brings together young people with and without intellectual disabilities to lead their schools and communities towards a more inclusive future. Central to this mission is the Unified Virtual Exchange, an innovative program that brings together young leaders from diverse backgrounds across the globe virtually. Through this exchange, participants engage in cross-cultural dialogue, fostering deep understanding and appreciation for diversity. From discussing shared experiences to exploring unique perspectives, participants collaboratively navigate what inclusion means within varying cultural contexts. This program emphasizes the importance of inclusivity, leveraging technology to bridge gaps and promote meaningful connections. By uniting young leaders in a virtual space, Unified Virtual Exchange cultivates a global network of advocates committed to driving social change. Together, these empowered individuals lead the charge towards a more inclusive future, one virtual exchange at a time.


Youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities, alongside their adult mentors, come together to develop learning modules for youth leaders to build cultural competencies and global perspectives through virtual exchanges. Participants in the program engage in virtual exchanges with their peers across the globe leading up to and following the 2025 Global Youth Leadership Summit in Torino.

Program Details

Number of Participants


U.S. States and Territories Reached
  • California
Countries and Territories Reached
    • Egypt
    • El Salvador
    • Italy
    • Germany
    • Mongolia
    • Pakistan
    • Zimbabwe
Length of Exchange

Exchanges leading up to the Global Youth Leadership Summit and Regional/Program virtual exchanges will vary in contact hours and length.

Special Olympics International’s Unified Virtual Exchange is funded by the Stevens Initiative, which is a program of the Aspen Institute and is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.