Leaders from Around the World to Unite in the Name of Inclusion at the 24thAnnual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference in Bloomington, Indiana


Bloomington, Ind. (July 15, 2013) Summer vacation will hold a special meaning for almost 1,700 student leaders, volunteers, and staff from Best Buddies International’s programs around the world, who will participate in the 24th Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference July 19-22 at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

This year’s conference, which is themed “Buddies without Borders, celebrates the global reach of Best Buddies’ mission and the diversity of the organization’s volunteers. Conference education will focus on the concepts and fundamentals behind leadership and advocacy on an international scale.

“Every year we look forward to coming together at the annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference to celebrate our global movement,” said Tiffany Cannava, Vice President of State Operations and Programs for Best Buddies International. “Over 1,700 leaders from around the world will arrive at Indiana University this weekend to learn from one another and build upon our mission, which will help us achieve our goal of breaking down barriers that will result in full integration for people with IDD in our communities.”

The opening ceremonies (which are open to media) will take place at the Indiana University Auditorium from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, July 19, will include a welcome address from Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International, the annual Best Buddies International chapter awards, and a special performance from Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach of Handicap This! Productions. In addition, the Academy of Athletic Arts Special Needs Squad will kick-off the show with a high energy performance and special guest Lisa Smith will share her artistic gift of signing.

The conference will celebrate the incredible impact volunteers with and without IDD are making in the world as a result of their leadership and commitment to the Best Buddies mission. The conference theme will focus on Best Buddies’ global volunteer movement and provide conference attendees with an opportunity to network with their peers from countries around the world. In addition to interactive education sessions and workshops, conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in fun, engaging activities such as film screenings, karaoke and the annual end of conference party.

The opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies, as well as the Saturday morning education sessions, will be streamed live at www.bestbuddies.org/lc.

About Best Buddies International

Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ eight formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors, and Promoters — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 700,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org, facebook.com/bestbuddies or twitter.com/bestbuddies.

For credentials or additional information, please contact NicoleMaddox@bestbuddies.org or WilliamBarney@bestbuddies.org

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About Best Buddies

Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

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