Gerald Mballe

Special Olympics Unified with Refugees, Advisor

Gerald Mballe is Special Olympics’ first-ever Advisor for Unified with Refugees programme, helping further strengthen and expand the reach and impact of the initiative. Gerald was first introduced to the world of Special Olympics in 2015 in Turin, Italy as a legally resettled refugee, after fleeing Cameroon as an unaccompanied minor due to several attacks by Boko Haram. His trajectory since has been an inspiration fueled by hard work and a passion for inclusion, equality, and acceptance. His commitment to inclusive sports, and social inclusion worldwide, was captured by ESPN, highlighting his example as a Game Changer. His powerful intervention at the 2018 Special Olympics Refugee Forum in Amsterdam moved the renowned journalist David Eades, global reporter for the BBC, to recommend Gerald to become a Young Leader for Sport at the Service of Humanity, a platform created by Pope Francis that uses sport to drive our shared humanity across the world. Gerald has been involved in various engagements at global convenings to support the inclusion message including speaking at the FIGC Press conference during the European Football Week, Laureus Summit in Paris and finally participating at the AVAIL Project exchange visit to the UK (an EU-funded project). Gerald understood the need to ensure that the athletes of Special Olympics and migrant youth alike were prioritized by the international development sector, which motivated him to speak directly to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in early 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland. This occasion led to the development of an important new global partnership –a significant milestone for the Special Olympics movement. Gerald is the recipient of the International Sports and Culture Association Integration of Refugees Through Sport Role Model Award, the Beyond Sport 2021 Courageous Use of Sport Award, and recently was awarded a top artistic distinction by the UN Refugee Agency as part of the Youth with Refugees Art Contest. Gerald is currently studying Political Science and International Relations at Niccolò Cusano University and continues to be a Unified Partner for Special Olympics Italy.