The Limbitless Solutions team is pleased to take a virtual trip back to the United Nations this week for a Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on the Role of Sport in Addressing Inequalities in Times of Crisis and Recovery, an event championed by the Director of the United Nations’ Division for Inclusive Social Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DISD/UNDESA). The Limbitless team first joined this discussion virtually in 2020. For this event, Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD, the president and co-founder of UCF-based Limbitless Solutions, and UCF mechanical engineering student Madison Adams will join a diverse group of participants and Member States delegates for dialogue around inclusion and sports on Tuesday, April 12.
Adams began her participation in the Limbitless Solutions internship program in January 2021 and is currently a mechanical engineering senior assistant. Meanwhile, Adams also participated as an NCAA Division 1 athlete on the UCF Rowing team. Adams and Manero will engage in the breakout session focused on sport as a catalyst for anti-discrimination, empowerment, and the inclusion disadvantaged groups.
“Throughout my athletic career I was fortunate to have many powerful female coaches that acted as a role model for empowerment. As an athlete you learn that no matter the personal differences we are all united by one passion – the camaraderie of sport,” said Adams.
This international dialogue will examine how sport can be leveraged to advance the social inclusion and empowerment of disadvantaged groups, while confronting discrimination that contributes to inequalities in all societies. They will address questions including:
How has sport been successfully harnessed to counter discrimination and empower women and girls, people with disabilities, minorities, LGBTQ, older persons and other disadvantaged groups and what ways to leverage sport more fully for anti-discrimination, empowerment, and the inclusion of disadvantaged groups?
Limbitless Solutions’ bionic kids have shared the power of sport and inclusion. Three participants, including Annika Emmert, had the opportunity to meet UCF’s own Shaquem Griffin ‘16 at UCF’s 2018 pro day. Emmert shared with ESPN the challenges of acceptance in sports, noting other players and coaches’ unwillingness to high five her limb-different arm. Griffin played in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks inspiring children like Emmert to chase their dreams.
“[Griffin’s] motto is ‘Against All Odds,’ and I follow him on social media, and every single post he does it’s always #AgainstAllOdds, everything he does is just an inspiration to anyone like me,” Emmert said. “It’s just amazing what he’s done, what he can do, and I always wanted to do something like that, especially in the future.”
This event marks Limbitless Solutions’ fifth opportunity to participate in dialogues at the United Nations as the program advocates for inclusion and accessibility on the global stage. The Limbitless Solutions program has aligned with the UN’s Strategic Development Goals, with an emphasis on goals 5.6 (supporting the complex intersection of disability and gender), 8.5 (supporting empowerment technology for equitable and inclusive workplaces), and 10.2 (empowering vulnerable people and championing inclusion). Previous talks have featured Limbitless’ alumna/staff member Mrudula Peddinti ‘18 and then student (now alumna) Sarah Kelliher ‘19. Kelliher was UCF’s first undergraduate student to participate at the United Nations.
This year’s event will be streamed live on UN DESA’s YouTube channel, available at https://www.youtube.com/undesadspd.