Prime Minister George Papandreou welcomed the 250 young people of the International Youth Conference in Parliament on Monday, stressing that "Greece welcomes the efforts of young people. We have a common Odyssey but with a clear destination that is a better and fairer society."
The young people, during a special session in Parliament, honoured the Athens 2011 Special Olympics and the effort of thousands of young people who are participating in the event.
The special event was attended, among others, by Special Olympics Hellas organising committee president Joanna Despotopoulou, as well as president of the International Special Olympics Committee Timothy Shriver.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew noted that in these Games "all are a priori winners in self esteem and self confidence".
Addressing the prime minister, Despotopoulou said "I made efforts in all the adversities and all the personal blows that I am sustaining with the result of 48,500 visitors being in our country today" and stressed that the Organising Committee made efforts so as to cover, with the assistance of the sponsors, the percentage of the budget that it was impossible for the state to cover.
Shriver said "every man must enjoy the idea of participation," stressing that Despotopoulou's effort was heroic and that despite the economic crisis "the Greeks did not abandon the Special Olympics; they invested in themselves and in their country".